20060926

Getting down to specifics when wine prices go up

Following the price of wine in Quebec this year has been a rollercoaster ride. The province runs a monopoly on wine and spirits so prices are steady across the land, no matter if you are in Montreal or Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. But despite this regulation, Quebec prices have been in flux more then Fundy tides during a full moon.

I'm no economist so I'll just tell you it as my wallet saw it.

The year started off with a bang. The SAQ's price-fixing scandal rang in the new year and by February, there were calls for class action suits as the inflated prices were removed. Effectively this meant consumers were saving a dollar or two on many of the bottles in the general repertoire, though they were definitely overpaying before. Wallet likes it

This wobbled into stores gradually making the total charges on wine a bit of guessing game, but at least a fun one, since the cash register always gave you a lower figure than the one tagged on the bottle. Wallet continues to like it

At the same time as all this provincial craziness was going on, Canada did one better and elected a conservative government into power. They would, many weeks later, usher in changes to the national sales tax. Prices would go down once again, but ever so slightly. Wallet feels patronized

Finally this month, prices were raised with the usual boring explanation of world currencies and the European market, yadda, yadda. Wallet is not liking it at all

What my wallet is telling me is that consumers never seemed to have much time to enjoy their low low prices on wine. So I took a small sample (32 different gen-rep bottles) of the wine that I often buy and I charted out their cost histories.

Result: Not much to complain about! My first random selection actually shows a September price that is a further decrease from the February price. The cost of American wine best captures this quirk. On average, however, Quebecers will be paying about 35 cents more per bottle.

Here's the list (note that the first price is from February, the second is from 2005 year-end, and the current September price is appended with a long dash; my notes are inserted where they exist).

ALSACE EST BLANC 134635 SPARR PINOT BLANC ALSACE 750 mL 13.75 15.15 -- 13.65
AUT. REG BLANC 484139 DOMAINE TARIQUET COTE GASCOGNE 750 mL 13.70 15.10 -- 14.05
AUT. REG BLANC 855171 IDYLLE CRUET V.V. VIN-SAVOIE 750 mL 16.50 17.95 -- 16.80
AUT. REG ROUGE 517698 DOMAINE LABRANDE CAHORS 750 mL 13.30 14.65 -- 13.65
AUT. REG ROUGE 605287 CH. LA LIEUE COTEAUX-VAROIS 750 mL 12.45 13.65 -- 12.75
AUT. REG ROUGE 875146 MOUREOU MADIRAN 750 mL 18.70 20.55 -- 19.05 Notes
AUT. REG ROUGE 10281598 CH GALOUPET COTES-DE-PROVENCE 750 mL 18.10 19.80 -- 18.40
BEAUJOLAIS 961185 MORGON CHARMES LOUIS TETE 750 mL 17.65 19.30 -- 17.95 Notes
BORDELAIS BLANC 83709 CH. BONNET ENTRE-DEUX-MERS 750 mL 15.45 16.45 -- 15.85 Notes
BORDELAIS ROUGE 369405 CHRISTIAN MOUEIX MERLOT BDX 750 mL 15.90 16.30 -- 15.65
BOURGOGNE BLANC 179556 MERCUREY CHAMIREY 750 mL 28.35 36.25 -- 28.95 Notes
BOURGOGNE ROUGE 573402 MICHEL JUILLOT MERCUREY 750 mL 24.95 28.50 -- 25.50
CHAMPAGNE 578187 NICOLAS FEUILLATTE BRUT RESERV 750 mL 44.00 48.50 -- 47.00
ESPAGNE ROUGE 928036 DEHESA LA GRANJA VINO DE MESA 750 mL 21.95 24.35 -- 22.40
ESPAGNE ROUGE 978866 CONDADO DE HAZA RIBERA-DEL- 750 mL 23.65 26.35 -- 24.15
ETATS-UNIS BLANC 354282 GALLO CHARDONNAY SONOMA 750 mL 22.45 22.50 -- 22.40
ETATS-UNIS ROUGE 606814 STONE CELLARS MERLOT 750 mL 15.40 15.45 -- 14.95
ITALIE AUT.REG BLANC 742114 BUCHHOLZ ALOIS LAGEDER 750 mL 21.35 23.50 -- 21.75
ITALIE AUT.REG BLANC 972877 MASTROBERARDINO LACRYMA 750 mL 19.25 21.15
ITALIE PIEMONT ROUGE 356105 LE ORME BARBERA D'ASTI 750 mL 15.55 16.95 -- 15.90 Notes
ITALIE TOSCANE BLANC 731570 ROCCA DELLE MACIE VERNACCIA 750 mL 14.05 15.50 -- 14.40
ITALIE TOSCANE ROUGE 269589 ROCCA DELLE MACIE VERNAIOLO 750 mL 13.60 15.00 -- 13.95
ITALIE VENETIE BLANC 741058 PIEROPAN CALVARINO SOAVE 750 mL 25.05 27.85 -- 25.55
ITALIE VENETIE BLANC 908004 INAMA SOAVE-CLASSICO-SUPERIOR 750 mL 18.35 20.10 -- 18.90
ITALIE VENETIE ROUGE 537316 TEDESCHI VALPOLICELLA-CLASSIO 750 mL 13.80 15.25 -- 14.40
LANGUEDOC 913491 SYRAH L'HERAULT PETIT ROUBIE 750 mL 16.00 17.15 -- 16.20 Notes
VAL DE LOIRE 10273256 DOM.BELLEVUE ST-POURCAIN 750 mL 14.25 15.75 -- 14.60 Notes
VALLÉE DU RHONE ROUGE 726984 ANTIQUE SENIMAROS CAIRANNE 750 mL 21.25 23.50 -- 21.65
BOURGOGNE BLANC 10327939 212 ST-VERAN GRANDES VIGNES 750 mL 21.95 23.50 -- 21.75
ITALIE AUT.REG ROUGE 927533 LA VIS PINOT NERO TRENTINO 750 mL 17.50 19.00 -- 17.30
VAL DE LOIRE BLANC 10222088 CLOS DE LA COULEE DE SERRANT 750 mL 103.00 126.00 -- 102.00
VAL DE LOIRE ROUGE 857391 VIEILLES VIGNES DOM. LANGLOIS 750 mL 22.65 25.95 -- 22.45
VIN DE DESSERT 866236 CAUSSE MARINES GRAIN FOLIE 500 mL 21.75 21.90 -- 21.55

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