Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

depanneur wine


Recommended Posts

i made sure to cut out all the depanneur wine articles and pictures from todays gazette so i can line the bottom of my cats litter box with them,all depanneur wine bottled here with misleading labels taste about as good as what my cat does in his litter box, so i beleive thats the best place for tired old malcolm andersons eye opening 3 page large picture expose into the lamentable practice of the saq controlling this market,shame on you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had an article like this in McGill's student newspaper a few weeks ago! There is nothing, I mean nothing worse than a depanneur wine headache, and I'm a student!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think it was fair enough, considering he basically said "this is the best of the worst" before the article.

you have to ask yourself though, does The Gazette's target audience even *buy* depanneur wine?

i have to agree with you, mcmillan: the only use i have for a bottle of "Si Si Si" (Chilean depanneur red wine) is to add a litre of orange juice to it, and make sangria. :laugh:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it has always bothered me that they can make up fake chateaus or market the wines to look like they are new world or from a specific country but are not,why can i not buy a mondavi woodbridge at the supermaket?or a cheap penfold or beringer product,or jus real italian coop jug wine with a screw top....?this does not wash in the rest of canada or the states,i can buy beringer merlot at a mobil gas station in vermont .... why could i not buy the canadian mission hill merlot they talk about today ..?it just seems so fake ,misleading ,dishonest..its clearly false advertising on many of the products ,especially whats in the supermarkets....malcolms article cleary says the wines are ok,grow some balls and fight for whats right,all wine writers are terrified of the saq,or are in their pockets, im sure ,imean i know malcolm gets a couple of free trips a year,for writting this crap....from the monopoly saq

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David, there's no point griping about it on eGullet. Send a letter to the editor of the paper.

I thought this article certainly could have delved far far more deeply into the subject, and perhaps pull a few quotes from the public. It read like a PR sheet for the SAQ. Bad news. Was the high sulphur content even mentioned in that story? And what about the high price for that shit?

A missed opportunity indeed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the high sulphur,the powdered tanins,the added sugar,the chaptalization,the massive spraying of high yeild volume wine vineyards,the oak chips,the powdered acidity,the cheap corks,the sulphites....its just not wholesome...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A depanneur is a local convenience store. While it is good that we are able to buy wine at the corner store, they are not allowed to sell good wine. The wines that they sell are imported in bulk and bottled here. Even the best depanneur wines are pretty bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What exactly is depanneur wine?

eat2much pretty much explains it. 'depanneur' is just the Quebec word for 'corner store' or 'convenience store'. like a 7-11, but with much more local flavour. :smile:

it is also true that depanneurs can only sell, umm, crappy wine, since the government through the Societe D'Alcools de Quebec (SAQ website) sells the rest.

Edited by gus_tatory (log)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A depanneur is a local convenience store. While it is good that we are able to buy wine at the corner store, they are not allowed to sell good wine. The wines that they sell are imported in bulk and bottled here. Even the best depanneur wines are pretty bad.

Now I'm not quite so envious of people in Quebec, who have it all over people almost everywhere else in Canada, because they can actually buy wine at the corner store.

But is it actually the case that depanneurs are prohibited from selling anything but bulk wine? Or are they prohibited from selling wines which are sold in the SAQ stores?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Remember that these are modest table wines that are simple and easy drinking, and you can buy better, less-expensive wines in any SAQ store. But that is not the point. You are paying for convenience ."

People just read what they want to read...

(Quotation from The Montréal Gazette, article by Malcom Anderson, March 13th 2004)

(Words underlined by poster)

Michel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i dont beleive that these wines are close to modest,are not simple but very complicated as they reek of lab coat and beeker assembly,are very hard to drink ,they are maybe convenient,if you were a bum or a wino

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping the beer sold at depanneurs is "genuine"?? :unsure:

I travel to Ottawa fairly regularly, and have on occasion gone on a late-night beer run to Hull, to help me get the jump on jet lag. Nothing like a 40 oz bottle of "cinquant" to help you get to sleep 3 hours before your body wants to!

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll say this about the SAQ, they are actually running it as a business with the customer in mind.

The branch in my neighbourhood is open until 7pm Mon - Wed and Sat, 9pm Thurs - Friday. The manager is open to ordering different types of products and does a great job running the store. The convenience of the dep is drastically lowered when the local SAQs are open at the hours that the customers want them to be open. Didn't they all close at 5pm sharp back in the day?

And try calling the customer service line, 514-873-2020! What a pleasure to talk to these people. In January I had a dinner party to goto and I told the host I'd bring some Liberty School with me. Of course, I forgot and the lady at the SAQ directed me to an open branch at 6pm on a Sat night and called ahead to make sure they had the product in stock.

The point is, with service like that and with what the Gazzou said in the beginning of the piece about better quality and selection at SAQ, I couldn't find an excuse to shop for vino at a Boni Soir. I would rather read a piece about the best SAQ branches and staff.

Is the dep wine the same as what is sold at Loblaws etc?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Ontario most large grocery stores now have a wine outlet in them. Although the selection is limited to a specific wine company, the wine is better than the junk in depaneurs. There is even ice wine and cider and I think there is some junky liquor.

By the way the grocery stores are also not limited to 5 people working on a Sunday.

The Opening hours for the Beer stores and Liquor stores in Ontario are also much better than they once were. There are now fewer reasons to go to Hull for booze.

The Quebec policy for allowing only junk to be sold in depaneurs is paternalistic and just tastes bad. The prices that are charged is just plain price gouging.

I can find many bottles of wine in a good Ontario liquor store that are $7 and less (GST ncluded) that are better than the depaneur junk and you get less of that sulfur headache.

Jeffy Boy, try the LCBO, liquor store, on Rideau and King Edward. They are on the way to Hull and the hours are not too bad, they also have St-Amboise beer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ABG, the only problem about the SAQ running a business with customer in mind is that it is not really a business, not one that needs to be competitive anyways. That is the problem with the SAQ, you could run it blindfolded and it would still operate with massive profit.

But SAQ decided to take another route, the polictical one. Most VPs at SAQ are friends of power or old cabinet counsellors who are looking for their 6-7 trips as purchasers in the french vignobles. When it is not that, you get some rascal like Frigon who feels he can spend like no one is watching, renovate every single store, open a SAQ signature in le Chateau Frontenac, triple in one month the amount of VPs through an unseen expansion without any consent from any board. The reality is that if you scrutinise SAQ closely, you will see kickbacks and opportunities that pale in comparison to the "Commandite" scandal of the liberals and no one to tell the story (because most critic are on their knees in front of SAQ and I won't even get into the distributor's mini-monopole).

At the end of the day, with all it's greatness, SAQ still will not give away one iota of power transfer to the grocery stores, it took them ages to recognise local products. It took them ages to re-arrange their stocks only to drastically cut everything down by 50% with fire sales and it takes them for ever to open up to other markets other than France.

So I do agree with you that it's not run like a hospital or a CLSC or SAAQ, but the SAQ would never survive in an open market system... It takes more than lawyers and old press attachees with BA in sociology to run such an empire... This is why you have great service, because they have more staff that they care to deal with instead of diverting their market share to other players.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found the service at Saq's deplorable from a restauranteurs point of view.

My gripes are endless, always focusing around the unionized employees (who are paid by the taxpayers) who seem more interested in their pause-cafe than actually working. The employees seem to have no real boss, therefore there never seems to be any urgency in their work.

To Identifiler: As far as massive amounts of profit, I'm not sure.

I remeber reading somewhere that the Saq was 7th most profitable out of the the provinces.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

massive amount of revenus before massive amount of expenses never seen in other provinces.

SAQ is run like CDP was in the golden years. Granted Roquet did cut some fat from his successor but people always forget the amazing severence packages these senior people get.

Let's just take Jean Claude Gagnon for example, ex VP gone to take care of the Mario Dumont's campain, right sider of Frigon, he walked away with 226,000$ dollars of severance after 21 months on the job as VP (that's 18 months of pay after 21 month of work ???). Or what about Louis H Roy who went back and forth between SAQ and cabinet director of Landry (until he had to resing after calling half the public servants morons).

SAQ is basically a hole for blood suckers, not business people...

All these politcal gurus are the folks siting in chateaux's and enjoying wine for you...Anybody in political circles know exactly what I mean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to stay on thread,

seems to me that most people at upper level of SAQ worry more about their benefit than the customer's benefit of getting a very average bottle of wine in a depanneur. I mean quite frankly, these wines are super scary, they are almost deliberately made to taste like tar, in fact for some folks, they are simply a health danger... Why don't they cut the fat and just have some bloody Gallo kiosque or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallo would be an excellent example of a good depanneur wine,ay least i trust its origin,and i know its made with grapes...in a buisness where wine and alcohol are 50% of my sales the saq makes it fully complicated to keep a full alcohol and wine cellar,it takes people years to build up enough knowledge and relationships to find everything you need to keep a diverse selection in house,regular product is one thing then theres specialty product ,then new releases,then the relationships with minimum 5 to 15 private importers,and as well trying to figure out wich agent represents wich product,the billing is a nightmare ,delivery so sketchy,then the private import billing...this is a breif description of the nightmare they put restaurants through....i could go on for,on the other hand you always know where you stand with the other 50% your food purveyors....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion, gang. Wish I'd been free enough to take part from the start. Instead, please excuse this omnibus reply.

>"i think it was fair enough, considering he basically said "this is the best of the worst" before the article [...]"

Yeah but instead of lending them credibility by reviewing them, he should have shat on the wines, which without exception are plonk. And he should have lambasted the SAQ for foisting them on us and for its unethical marketing practices (more on which anon).

>"you have to ask yourself though, does The Gazette's target audience even *buy* depanneur wine?"

Sure they do. Keep your eyes open the next time you're at a grocery store. Or hang out for 20 minutes or so at any dépanneur on the Prince Arthur/Duluth BYOB strip; their volume is incredible.

>"malcolms article cleary says the wines are ok,grow some balls and fight for whats right,all wine writers are terrified of the saq [...]"

Yes. And they're even scared of the promotional agencies (aka the importers, tho' technically speaking the SAQ does the importing). Local wine critics depend on both for news and invitations to exclusive events they require in order to cover the local wine scene (e.g. the pre-offer tastings of Courrier vinicole wines).

>"[...] or are in their pockets, im sure ,imean i know malcolm gets a couple of free trips a year,for writting this crap....from the monopoly saq"

Do you really know that? The wine critics I know get offered junkets and trinkets by producers and promotional organizations but not by the SAQ.

>"It read like a PR sheet for the SAQ. Bad news. Was the high sulphur content even mentioned in that story? And what about the high price for that shit? A missed opportunity indeed."

Hear, hear!

>"I guess what some people call modest, other people call cruddy."

Or certifiable crap...

>"they are maybe convenient,if you were a bum or a wino"

Or if you find yourself heading into a BYO straight from work without enough time to drop by an SAQ outlet. Or, at 9:30 on Saturday evening, find the wine you bought to serve with dinner is corked and you don't have a backup. Etc.

>"Is the dep wine the same as what is sold at Loblaws etc?"

Yep. All wine not sold at SAQ outlets is industrial plonk, either imported in tankers and bottled in Quebec or manufactured in Quebec from grape concentrate and other horrors. None of it is vintage dated. Despite appearances, none of it is estate-bottled.

>"The Quebec policy for allowing only junk to be sold in depaneurs is paternalistic and just tastes bad."

Paternalistic? I'd say misguided (they claim they're creating jobs in Quebec) and corrupt (it's putting a positive spin on the relationships between the manufacturers of dep wines and the SAQ to say they're incestuous).

>"The prices that are charged is just plain price gouging."

Yep. They've got people over a barrel and screw them royally. Who says it's government for the people?

>"I can find many bottles of wine in a good Ontario liquor store that are $7 and less (GST ncluded) that are better than the depaneur junk and you get less of that sulfur headache."

You mean sulphite headache, no? In any case, you're wrong — not about the headache one gets from those wines but that sulphur/sulphites is/are the cause. Sulphite headaches are an urban legend and there's a PHD thesis in there if someone wants to track the development of it. Certainly some of it has to do with the U.S. decision — prompted by the CSPI and other neo-prohibiltionist groups — to require the "contains sulfites" label on all wines, ostensibly to warn people with allergies to sulphites to avoid these products. Curiously, that warning isn't required on other products that have much higher levels of sulphites (fast-food french fries, much supermarket bread, many salad bars, etc.). Also, sulphites are a natural by-product of winemaking and have been around for centuries. They are found on grapes. Before filling, barrels are often sanitized using a sulphur compound (in olden days, a sulphur wick was burned inside them; these days they may be rinsed with potassium metabisulphite). And, anyway, sulphite sensitivity doesn't usually manifest itself as a headache but rather in the form of asthma-like symptoms or, in extreme cases, anaphylatic shock. All of which is to say that the sulphite scare is, above all, a political tactic designed to turn people away from alcohol.

Wine headaches are usually attributable to dehydration and a histamine reaction to components in the wine (and god knows what components are in dep wines). People who get migraines from all red or rosé wine are often allergic to anthocyanin, the pigments in the grape skins.

>"But SAQ decided to take another route, the polictical one. Most VPs at SAQ are friends of power or old cabinet counsellors who are looking for their 6-7 trips as purchasers in the french vignobles."

Seats on the board of directors have long been used as rewards for political service. I know two former directors. One was an unsuccessful MNA candidate. The other had been an advisor to the premier. The former knows nothing, zilch, nada about wine and spirits and less about running a business. The latter is interested in wine but hardly an expert. Both spent lots of time attending meetings at which they were wined and dined and trying to decide which all-expenses-paid annual junket they would choose (e.g. VinItaly or tour of New Zealand wineries). Neither ever mentioned issues like corporate governance; as far as I could tell, their function on the board was to act as rubber stamps.

>"At the end of the day, with all it's greatness, SAQ still will not give away one iota of power transfer to the grocery stores [...]"

You're probably right. Part of the problem is the union, which is dead-set against dépanneur sales because it sees them as a backdoor attempt at privatization. Another factor is the SAQ's greed; they're the main bottlers of dépanneur wines and they make a killing on them. And yet another factor is the public, which is quite happy with things as they are. That last reason is why Mr. Anderson's article can fairly be termed scandalous; he should be informing the public, not pandering to the SAQ, not maintaining the charade.

What kills me is situations like last Saturday. I needed some white wine for a sauce I was preparing and thought I had the end of a bottle in the freezer. Wrong. So I had to dash out and buy 500 ml of expensive dépanneur plonk (so much for the principle of never cooking with wine you wouldn't drink...). Or a week ago, when I planned to cook Chinese and at the last minute realized I was out of Tio Pepe (the best substitute for Chinese rice wine, which the SAQ does not allow us to buy). Deps don't stock dry sherry, so I was out of luck and forced to change plans.

I'm also outraged by the SAQ's "premium" dépanneur wines, with their meaningless "appellation d'origine certifiée" moniker, a marketing ploy designed to lure unsuspecting consumers into thinking they're getting a quality product (this from the monopoly that bills itself as "Les connaisseurs"). If the SAQ allowed the deps to sell an enlightened selection of sub-$20 wines from the Classique or Express listing, no one would buy the current stuff.

Edited by carswell (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...