Push to change ‘misleading’ Canadian wine labels moves forward

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Cellared in Canada' will soon no longer appear on labels of wine blends bottled in Canada, according to the CFIA. ©iStock/Halfpoint
'Cellared in Canada' will soon no longer appear on labels of wine blends bottled in Canada, according to the CFIA. ©iStock/Halfpoint
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is set to alter its ‘Cellared in Canada’ wine label designation after receiving complaints from consumers and the Canadian wine industry that the description was “misleading” and “uninformative." 

The “Cellared in Canada by [followed by the company name]”​ designation has been in place since 1994 to describe wines consisting of a blend international and domestic wines that are bottled in Canada, according to the CFIA.

However, the designation has been criticized for not providing consumers with accurate origin information of the wine they are purchasing.

“The key issue is that having ‘Cellared in Canada’ on the label suggested to some, not all, that this is a 100% Canadian wine product,”​ Dan Paszkowski, president and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association, told BeverageDaily.

“Therefore, there has been a push to amend the language.”

Proposed description change

The Canadian Vintners Association and a third party consultant group took on the task of finding a replacement to “Cellared in Canada”​ by surveying the Canadian wine industry and retailers through roundtable discussions.

The group came up with “International blend from imported and domestic wines” ​as a replacement label designation. Similarly, wine blends with a majority of domestic wines would be labeled as “International blend from domestic and imported wines."

“It’s very clear that it is an international blend, and for the country of origin component it says it is from imported and domestic wines,” ​Paszkowski said.

The proposal was submitted to the CFIA for consideration and following the 30-day comment period this month, it will become the official replacement to “Cellared in Canada”​ if there are no regulatory roadblocks.

“Our anticipation is that the answer will be ‘yes’ and then we’ll start the process towards shifting away from the ‘Cellared in Canada’ label to the new proposed label alternative,” ​Paszkowski added.

Value wine category

The decision to change the designation describing wine bottled and blended in Canada will primarily affect the value-priced wine typically sold for less than C$10 (US $7.50) per bottle since that is the price range blends of international and domestic wines typically fall under, according to Paszkowski.

“The focus is towards consumers that are not really interested in appellation, their key priority is price and quality,”​ he said. 

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