The Vins Bù Signature : A new range for Jessica Harnois
If you’re familiar with the Vins Bù range, which can be found in grocery shops in Québec (its Canadian orange wine is to die for, and they’re excellent choices when the SAQ is closed or you’re in a place where there aren’t any), it’s back in the SAQ with the first wine in the Bù Signature range, Bù Haut Médoc. I spoke to Jessica Harnois, founder of Vins Bù, who in her former life was a buyer of fine wines from the SAQ, a few days after the release of her wine to find out a little more.
Vins Bù Signature : A comeback to the SAQ for the Vins Bù
What Ms. Harnois makes a point of mentioning from the outset is that, in fact, Bù has always been in the “SAQ,” because the wines found in grocery shops are also under the control of the SAQ, something that many people are unaware of. As for this new wine, she hasn’t changed the process; it’s still bulk wine, bottled in Quebec, which cuts down on transport costs, but she still chooses the wines.
“When the Bù range was launched, I was often in Europe and the United States, and I was more or less familiar with the stigma surrounding grocery wines in Quebec, but it was when I was doing my MBA, studying the different points of sales, customer preferences, ratios, etc., that I realized that it was all misinformation,” adds the businesswoman.
Ms. Harnois also explains that when the SAQ was set up, some outlets inherited entry-level wines, which were often not as good, which explains why this line of thinking is still true today. It has to be said that some wines still found there may not be as good as the Bù range.
When Bù was created, she launched her popular Splendido wine in the SAQ and in grocery shops at the same time. “Since then, they’ve changed the laws and I wanted to continue offering good wine to everyone, so I stayed in the grocery channel. We’ve won prizes and gold medals for our sparkling wines, and people have shown us that we’re no longer prejudiced. I decided to go to the SAQ because it’s a great place to go for advice from wine professionals. And with Bù Haut Médoc Signature, people can no longer say that we’re just grocery shop wines.”
Vins Bù Signature : Environmentally-friendly wines
Wines bottled in Quebec still have an unenviable reputation, but for my interviewee it’s something that’s important to her. For one thing, there are far fewer greenhouse gases produced by transport, since the weight is reduced with the wine being not bottled; for another, it creates jobs at the bottling plant here; and for another, I can control the quality at the outset and on arrival (she has already returned products that were not to her taste).
Grocery wines: A mindset that’s slowly changing
“People often say that grocery store customers don’t know the wines, but they don’t trust them, it’s just another point of sale. Before, the grape varieties weren’t listed (many wines still have their names hidden, and Ms. Harnois is fighting to change that, using a tendering system), but today that’s no longer the case, and the wines are just as good as at the SAQ. And we are the best-selling wine in the 750 ml format, all categories combined,” says the trained sommelier. In fact, apart from sparkling wines (to which Canadian ice wine is added) and Riesling, all its wines have less than 4 grams of sugar.
Vins Bù Signature : A great series to come
With the name Vins Bù Signature, it’s clear that Jessica Harnois wants to set her sights higher, and she’s not shy about saying so. For her, the Bù Haut Médoc Signature, at $18.90, is a gift that is truly affordable for its quality. And to top it all off, she’s been selling 3 million bottles a year for the last 7 years—it’s a real success!
This is a Bordeaux of exceptional quality. The versatility of Bù Signature Haut-Médoc makes it a perfect match for the barbecue season. The wine can be drunk as an aperitif, or with starters, main courses or cheeses.
Bù Haut Médoc Signature was awarded the Bronze Medal by Decanter last June.
Bù Haut Médoc Signature
Merlot 57 %, Cabernet-sauvignon 43 %
Red Wine | 750 ml | France Bordeaux