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June 27, 2021

Do you really care where 'Canadian' wine actually comes from?

If you think the phrase "cellared in Canada" means you're buying Canadian wine, you're not alone.

A recent Canadian Food Inspection Agency report found that only 38% of wine buyers claim to be somewhat familiar with the term. And among those who are, 42% think it refers to wine stored in Canada, made in Canada (28%) or bottled in Canada (15%).

In fact, most "cellared in Canada" wine isn't really Canadian wine at all.

In Ontario, wine sold under that designation can contain up to 60 per cent foreign-sourced content. In B.C., it can be made 100 per cent from imported grapes. And by 2014, Ontario will also allow Canadian wineries to sell cellared in Canada wine containing no domestic grapes at all, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

Asked to choose among a number of potential label descriptors for wines mixed and sold in Canada, most consumers seem to prefer "blended in Canada" but only if the label includes the percentage of the wine from the countries of origin.

This isn't a new issue, of course. Public backlash against the term came to a head a couple of years ago when influential British wine writer Jancis Robinson claimed that many wineries were duping consumers into believing they were drinking purely Canadian wines.

Producers of Cellared in Canada wines such as VINCOR, Peller Estates and Mission Hill maintain that this category of wines are responsible for a considerable number of jobs in the Canadian wine industry and that they allow Canadian wineries to compete more effectively

But some buyers still feel put upon, it seems.

Where do you stand? If you buy Canadian wine at all, do you care if it's made with imported grapes?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...