Wine Culture Magazine

It’s a battle that has been fought long and hard and finally won by champions of Canadian wine: As of this spring, the controversial “Cellared in Canada” label is no more.

In March, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that the 20-plus-year-old label designation “Cellared in Canada from imported and/or domestic wines,” would be changed to “International blend from imported and domestic wines” for predominantly imported wines and, for mainly domestic ones, “International blend from domestic and imported wines.”

Over the two decades of CIC labelling, there had been numerous and vociferous complaints from wine industry stakeholders and consumers alike. At issue was confusion about what wines were truly Canadian. With a young industry eager to prove itself on the world stage, many felt that slapping the word “Canada” on wines made from grapes that originated in, say, Chile or California not only confused the consumer, but detracted from the uniqueness of grapes grown here.

Throughout the summer of 2016, the Canadian Vintners Association discussed the issue with its regional partners (British Columbia Wine Institute, Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario and Wine Association of Nova Scotia) and interviewed wine producers and major retailers across Canada. Then, last June, the CFIA conducted a public survey on the proposed changes, with 81 per cent of respondents supporting the new language.

The BCWI for one is delighted by the change: “A wine label tells consumers what they are buying and what they are drinking,” the organization said in a release. “It is important the label accurately identifies the origin of the wine.”

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