Don't get hit with cupid's arrow at Perfect Pairs Valentine's Day sale across Quebec

Because in Montreal this week, he's aiming for your pocket, not your wine-loving heart

Thinking about uncorking a Roederer Anderson Valley Brut mousseux this week? Think about this: The sale of American wines in Quebec are at prices that have silently snuck back up to earlier almost prohibitive amounts. And this is barely six months after all the hoopla about sticker prices being lowered to reflect the strong Canadian dollar.

Once upon a time, this $20 bottle of California sparkling wine was sold at $27.10 in Quebec. Then in 2007, the SAQ, Quebec's state-run agency controlling the sale of wine and spirits, moderated the price at $25.95, and by late spring 2007, many media organizations trumpeted the new advantageously set prices coming into affect in June and July. So by Fall 2007, when the Roederer site started indicating that the Anderson Valley Brut NV would sale for $22 US, it was down to $24.70 CDN in Quebec. Combine that with a general sales tax reduction that the Canadian Conservative government announced to ring in 2008, and presto! the SAQ was selling this bottle for an all time low of $24.45.

And to think it was three bucks more only a year earlier. But wait. Earlier this month, the prices were silently raised on this product. It's all the way back up to $25.95. Almost all price decreases have been erased. What happened?

Mum's the word, apparently. I asked an otherwise-informative agent at an SAQ shop why prices are going back up. She did not know, but she was aware that they had been raised a few days ago. She couldn't say why the prices went back up when the Canadian loonie has regained parity with the American dollar and when it took so bloody long to lower prices in the first place.

The bigger question is what happened to the tax cut since Quebec buyers, one month into their GST reduction are already losing their 25 cents.

Shoppers need to beware because the price hikes are coinciding with a large Valentine's Day sale (how crafty!). You'll see signage on SAQ shelves announcing "$1.50 off!" but they are mostly false. Those signs were printed before the prices went up. In many cases, this means you are buying a sale item that is in all actuality marked down by only pennies once you get to the cash.


Since SAQ.com does not reveal price fluctuations over time, only those in the know will tell you what's what. To track the price hikes, I thought Doktor Weingolb should let you in on a few via this cheat sheet.

  • Finca Flichman Malbec $7.90 > $8.20

  • Herdade das Albernoas Alentejano $9.30 > $9.75

  • Duque de Viseu Dao $14.95 ($12.65 in at the LCBO in Ontario) > $14.80

  • Sauvignon Blanc Domaine Guy Allion Touraine $13 > $14.35

  • Furmint Tokaji Château Pajzos $12.80 > $13.05

  • Cabernet-sauvignon Kenwood Yulupa Sonoma $16.40 > $17.15

  • Château Calabre Montravel $13.05 > $13.80

  • St-Jean-de-Gineste Corbières $14.95 > $15.80

  • Domaine de Cantarelles Costières de Nîmes $10.35 > $10.90


Sonadora said...

Sorry they are raising the prices on you, seems a bit sneaky. Especially with V-Day right around the corner...too bad as well, I'm a big fan of the Roederer Sparkling wines, generally a good value!

Edward said...


This seems to be the modus operandi of several large Australian wine retailers as well.I've largely given up buying wine one so called 'sale'.

Joe said...

I think they raise the prices just before they have a 10% sale - wait for it. So why do they raise the prices? Because they can, because this province never misses a chance to tax its citizens more and more. If it weren't for the SAQ's buying power we'd be royally screwed (i.e. pick a smaller province). I will be tracking prices as well from now on...

Marcus said...

Hi Sona - I actually was a little relieved when I saw Roederer was even selling its Napa sparkling for $22 US, even within the state. So for that wine we are not getting too hosed... Hope you and Matt celebrate the day in grand wine style tomorrow!

Edward - you are right to mention that this is not a unique bait and switch here in Quebec. So I was also a bit relieved to hear that you've dealt with the same thing and we're not alone up here.

Joe - your demand for wine in the province is driving up my prices!? Is that what you wrote to me earlier? Does that mean if we shop for the Ontario bargains more often, it'll only help to lower the Quebec prices. Let's do it!