The SAQ's outlet and office employees have rejected the monopoly's latest offer by a vote of 88%. And though bargaining talks are slated to resume today, both sides appear to be digging in for a long fight. Take, for example, the SAQ's recent announcement that it will be opening another Montreal outlet, the SAQ Dépôt, which will specialize in the sale of products by the case. Add to that the government's statement that it has no intention of passing back-to-work legislation and we're looking at restricted access to booze not only during the holidays but also well into the new year.
The LCBO reports a sharp increase in sales at outlets near the Quebec border, especially in Hawkesbury. And dep wine sales are said to be going through the roof.
I confess that I broke down and bought a bottle of dep wine yesterday. Dinner was to be linguini with scallops, olives, fennel, tomatoes and chile pepper, and the only whites I had on hand weren't appropriate (upscale oaky Graves, a full-throttle Savangin, a Mosel auslese and an old sweet Barsac). So I grabbed a bottle of Oro ($13.50 at BoniSoir, $2 above MSRP I see!), a dry Chilean white imported by the Maison des Futailles: non-vintage and, despite the meaningless "vin de cépage" sticker on the bottle, lacking any mention of the actual grape varieties used to make it (my guess is low-end sauvignon blanc with a dollop of something aromatic, like pinot blanc or torrentès). Inoffensive but devoid of complexity, terroir or the ability to provide pleasure is about the best that can be said of it. Anyway, I won't do that again.
Even if my storage is inconveniently located off-site, I've never been happier to have a small wine collection. The downside is that it consists mostly of wines for special occasions; I've always relied on weekly visits to the SAQ for day-to-day drinking. And I'm worried that if the strike stretches on I'm going to deplete my reserve, which includes a number of wines that are, for all intents, irreplacable, since they were semi-affordable when I bought them but are way out of my price range now (J-L Chave's 1990 Hermitage, a treat wine at c. $50 in 1993, now sells for c. $500, and even the latest vintage, the 2001, retails for $200+).
So, how are y'all coping? Have you switched to beer? Do you hold your nose and buy dep wine? Have you crossed the picket lines? (If so, any problems?) Hot-footed it to Ontariariario?
And what about restos and bars? Are their supply lines affected by the strike?
Lastly, what do you think this bodes for the SAQ? Comments on the web are strongly anti-union and pro-privitization. It's almost beyond imagining, but could this be the beginning of the end of the SAQ as we know it?
Edited by carswell, 09 December 2004 - 01:36 PM.