Making the best of a cold climate – Regulatory changes to Canada’s Ice Wine Industry

June 25, 2013 | Jennifer Spencer, Wendy A. Baker, QC

Canada wants to ratify the World Wine Trade Group Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling and this will require changes to Canada’s current wine labelling regime for ice wine.

Ice wine is Canada’s largest wine export, in dollar terms.  While ice wine represents only 1.2% of Canada’s export by volume, it represents 45% of Canada’s wine export revenue.  Ontario produces the vast majority of ice wine in Canada, followed by BC, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

The new regulations developed by Canada create a standard of identity for ice wine, under the Canada Agricultural Products Act.  The key of the new standard of identity is to define ice wine as a product made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine.  Canada is also supporting the placement of common mandatory information anywhere on a wine container (i.e. not just on the principal display panel), which will include country of origin, product name, net contents, and alcohol content.

Ice wine producers in Quebec are expected to feel the brunt of these new regulations as, unlike Ontario, BC and Nova Scotia, Quebec does not currently have a mandatory provincial regulatory framework for ice wine production, and has unique provincially recognized method of ice wine production. 

The new regulations developed by Canada are intended to come into force on January 1, 2014.

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