The debate over “Cellared in Canada” designated wines continues to heat up. A Sept. 24 article in the Edmonton Journal tackles the issue surrounding “Cellared in Canada” wines in B.C., a recent Vancouver Sun story did the same and, two weeks ago, an article in The Economist took a negative stance on Canadian wines in general, calling into question the authenticity of Canadian wines that have the “Cellared in Canada” label. Some Ontario wines are made with up to 70-per-cent imported grapes, but they are still sold as Canadian, a fact that has boutique wine producers from the Niagara region — who use Canadian grapes — up in arms. B.C. wines operate under a similar convention, and it’s sparked an outcry from small producers and consumers alike.
The “Cellared in Canada” designation was created out of the belief that there were not enough good-quality Canadian-grown grapes to meet the demand from an expanding number of vintners. Vincor Canada (a subsidiary of Constellation Brands) and Andrew Peller are among the largest wine producers in Canada, and they believe they can’t compete with cheaper imports from Chile and Australia unless they use bulk wines from those same countries to blend with their own.