Ask anyone in the trade what the hottest trend in Québec is right now and the answer will inevitably be – either with a smile or a sigh – natural wine. This does not mean that the province is awash with low/no sulfite added and orange wines. For all their hype, these remain a small but conspicuous piece of a multifaceted puzzle.
La belle province, as Québec is affectionally nicknamed, is Canada’s second most populous province. Almost half of its 8.6 million inhabitants live in the trendsetting metropolis of Montréal. Staunch wine drinkers, “Quebeckers buy more wine than the Canadian average and less spirits than other citizens of Canada,” says Sandrine Bourlet. She is vice president of marketing and merchandising at the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ), the province’s government-owned retail monopoly which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.