708 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
around the province. If you decide to attend the flagship store, be prepared
for some pandemonium, though with COVID-19 and the need to keep down
crowds and socially distance, that may be somewhat muted this year. In a
recent year that I was in Vancouver on Bordeaux release day, I went to the
Cambie store. I arrived at about 7 a.m., hoping to avoid a large lineup. I was
not successful. Like fans of famous rock groups on tour, some people had
camped overnight to get the first tickets. I waited my turn in a long, twisting
line in the parking lot until my number was called. I entered the store to
see a crowd of shoppers, many pushing large dollies laden with wine, while
the rest of us scrambled for shopping carts or even baskets. The variety of
different Bordeaux wines was in the hundreds, with the volume for sale at
about 8,000 cases. Shoppers were racing to grab wines straight from those
cases or to load up the full cases themselves. To give some context, in 2018,
B.C. residents bought some $3 million of Bordeaux within two days, with
prices ranging from $25 to $3,500 (for a bottle of Château Pétrus).1
At the special reserve desk (where you order the more expensive bottles
in advance), I saw a man who was infuriated. He had apparently been given
a different wine from what he ordered. Mind you, I could see he had a
Château Margaux (a first-growth wine that sells for at least $1,000 a bottle
even in less stellar years and that can fetch up to $2,500 in better ones). He
was shaking it as he waved his arms furiously and yelled, “You gave me the
wrong wine!” while all of us around him begged him to stop before he
dropped it or simply shook it to death. Meanwhile, people pushed and
shoved their way through the human wave surrounding the wine displays.
When I finally finished my selection and made it into one of the long
lines to check out, a couple ahead of me was pushing one of the large dollies.
After their order was rung up, they dropped around $25,000 to pay for
their purchase before wheeling all the wine out to their car. I heard the
woman mentioning something about the party they were throwing with it
the following weekend.
Customers at the “flagship store” loading up by the case.