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(Pavel Losevsky/Getty Images/Hemera)
(Pavel Losevsky/Getty Images/Hemera)

Have European wines dropped in price? Add to ...

I was wondering whether European wines have come down in price since the euro weakened against the Canadian dollar. I don't have a clear idea of this, though it seems as if prices are still quite high.


Ah, high wine prices - the great Canadian bugbear. Your perception is shared by many consumers, and it's a justifiable one. The factual answer is that some prices have indeed dropped, though many have not. At the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's Vintages fine-wine and spirits division, for example, prices were adjusted downward on between 15 and 20 per cent of products in recent months as a direct result of our robust loonie. This pertains to products initially quoted for sale in foreign currencies, notably the euro. Many months usually pass between the time a price is quoted and the day the product - and invoice - is delivered. If there's a significant gain in the loonie's buying power in the meantime, according to the LCBO, the savings are passed on to the consumer. (Take that statement with whatever grain of salt, or shot of tequila, you think it deserves.)

Why not all products? Most are quoted to Canadian liquor boards in Canadian dollars, so the currency swing, if there is one, becomes an issue for the producer back in Europe. In many cases, the savings do not get passed down to the consumer. That's because producers like to maintain stable prices. They're afraid that constantly see-sawing prices will confound or annoy consumers. We all love it when prices come down, not so much when they go up, even if the producers are not directly to blame.

So, yes, we're seeing some deals, but probably nowhere near as many as we should.

Have a wine question?

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Decanter newsletter and on The Globe and Mail web site.

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