Ontario Government Offers Solution to “Cellared in Canada” Debate

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Ontario grape growers won a small victory recently when the provincial government announced plans to increase support for 100 per cent Canadian Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines while also moving to increase levies on blended vino comprised of grapes from here and abroad. This comes after the “Cellared in Canada” (CIC) distinction sparked debate in the wine community about whether or not it was fair to label wine CIC if it wasn’t comprised of enough Ontario-grown grapes. 

Now the provincial government is proposing a new plan. For the next five years, bottles labelled CIC will need to contain at least 40 per cent Ontario-grown grapes (25 per cent per bottle at minimum), rather than the 30 per cent that is currently required. But come 2014, “legislation to eliminate the domestic content requirement for blended wines in the Wine Content and Labelling Act,” will come into effect, as will a bigger tax on blended wines to fund further VQA wine promotion.

Only the federal government has the power to eliminate the CIC designation and the provincial plan is to “ensure consumers have clear signage and labelling to help them choose between wine made of 100 per cent Ontario grapes or wine made of a blend of local and foreign grapes,” reads a statement on Consumer Services Minister Ted McMeekin’s website.

Click here for the complete Ontario proposal.

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