Friday, May 8, 2009

SAQ Gets Into Organic

I was over-the-moon last month to discover a small selection of organic wines at my local SAQ. I've been importing my organic wines from south of the border, two bottles at a time, regularly for the past couple of years now, and I hardly live in a foodie or hip area of the city, so this discovery was quite a big deal for me. According to the sales associate at the store, the SAQ has committed to having a selection of organic or 'eco-pratique' wines in every SAQ location. Eco-pratique refers to wines sold in alternative packaging like tetra-paks, aluminum or plastic.

The SAQ has actually had organic wines for a little while, but only at certain locations. Even then, their selection was slim and out of the price range of the typical imbiber at $20+ per bottle. Most of the wines were also European and, I found, not nearly as good as the lower-priced Californian and South American organic wines I was picking up at Whole Foods or local co-operatives in New England for $7-15. (It may just be a preference: I have to admit I much prefer conventional Australian and Californian wines over most European ones I've tried anyway.)

The SAQ still doesn't have the same variety as in New England, however the price and selection are considerably better than what was available even six months ago. This Saturday and Sunday, May 9th and 10th, the SAQ is offering 10% off their organic and eco-pratique selections of wine, just in time for Mother's Day. Prices should start at about $11 per bottle for the eco-pratique varieties and $13 per bottle for the organic varieties. That's not much more than what you'd pay for table plonk from the local grocery store once you factor in taxes. So why not check the selection at the SAQ and let them know you support their decision to try organic.

(Now if we can just get them to carry fair trades wines or organic single malt scotch...)


Jan said...

I'm very curious as to why plastic or aluminium packaging is more environmentally friendly than glass. My understanding is that glass is 'infinitely recyclable' (i.e. you can keep grinding glass down making new glass out of it forever) as opposed to plastic which can only be made into an inferior grade of plastic or re-purposed (eg. made into fleece). I understand that the energy required to make a single glass bottle is higher than that needed to make a single plastic bottle, but wouldn't that be offset by the fact that the plastic bottle is being made out of fossil fuel? Then, of course, there's the carbon cost wrt. transport weight - so I guess you're saving significant carbon if you're buying imported wine in a plastic bottle. Have I answered my own question: Local wine in glass bottles, imported wine in plastic bottles?

We're drinking Niagra Peninsula wine these days, local rather than organic - and actively looking for an affordable organic Niagra Peninsula wine that we can buy around here.

Of course that's just until we start making our own :)

PS. Thanks very much for the link about orange juice 'flavour packs'. That explains why I always find Tropicana OJ to be sickly sweet. And here I thought it was 'just' the result of rigorous orange tree breeding and selecting for sweetness...

Amanda said...

I'm also puzzled about why plastic is more enivronmentally-friendly than glass, other than the weight for transport issue. I certainly don't see it as more sustainable.

I love Niagara Peninsula Reislings. I'm particulurly enamoured with Cave Spring.

A. Hiscock said...

We served Cave Springs at our wedding. The Niagara Peninsula has some really fabulous wines. It annoys me that we can't find them easily in Quebec.