For more than 20 years, Canada has allowed for wineries to use the term “Cellared in Canada” for wines blended in Canada. The wines in these blends could include both Canadian made wines and wines from other countries. However, the public has raised concerns over this labelling, stating that it is misleading consumers.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) responded to this by proposing a new country of origin statement. The statements for primarily imported wines would instead state, “International blend from imported and domestic wines.” If the wines are primarily domestic, they would have to include the statement, “International blend from domestic and imported wines.” Between June 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017, the CFIA allowed time for people to respond to these changes, during which 886 responses were received.
Of the 886 participants, nearly 81% of the respondents were supportive of the proposed statement changes. Many of the supporters noted that the “Cellared in Canada” statement was misleading and that the new statements were more informative about the origins of the wine. Also, there was support for the fact that this new statement would be more fair to the local growers and producers, making it easier to identify their products.
The 19% of the public that were opposed to the new statements also offered their opinions on the matter. The general consensus was that they still found the new statements misleading, as both statements are so close that it would be hard for consumers to distinguish between the two. Some consumers felt as though all countries should be listed on the origin declaration, as well as proportions of the wine in the blend.
Based on the strong support received, during the consultation, the CFIA has ruled that the new statements be required in the wine country of origin labelling policy, as of March 12, 2018. For wines blended in Canada, the voluntary “Cellared in Canada” statement will no longer be used. Moving forward, the wines that are blended in Canada, using imported wines, will be permitted to use the new statements