Ottawa – The icewine industry in Canada may soon have a national standard.
The federal government has proposed a national standard that will require icewine to be made only from grapes naturally frozen on the vine.
The government is also proposing changes to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations to allow the mandatory labelling information on wine bottles and boxes to be displayed in a single field of vision, which means that it can be seen without having to turn the container.
The changes also include minor text amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations.
The government says it expects the proposed regulatory amendments will allow wine exporters to have greater market access without having to redesign their labels for each individual country’s requirements.
The proposed national standard is also expected to help prevent the sale of fraudulent icewine.
The counterfeit icewine industry in Asia, reports the VancouverSun.com, is “drowning the market with cheap knock-offs.”
The story says counterfeiters add sweetener to the beverage or use grapes that were frozen after they were picked.
The VancouverSun.com also adds that Canadian icewine producers have been pushing for this and welcome the news.
The proposed regulatory amendments will not change the mandatory labelling information on the container. That labelling includes the common name, net quantity, country of origin and alcohol content by volume. That information helps to ensure Canadians can make informed decisions, says the federal government.
The VancouverSun.com says Canadian icewine exports are worth more than one-third of all wine exports and have been growing at double digits for the past three years.
Icewine export value was $15.5 million in 2012 with a volume of 223,000 litres. Domestic sales were 180,000 litres, says the VancouverSun.com.
The top 10 export markets were China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, U.S., U.K., Malaysia and France, representing 96.8 per cent of icewine export sales volume.
Definition of icewine
Dan Paszkowski, president and CEO of the Canadian Vintners Association, told the VancouverSun.com that fighting counterfeiters has been a challenge because there is no definition of icewine in federal law.
When Canada was negotiating a free-trade agreement with South Korea several years ago, Paszkowski told the VancouverSun.com, the lack of a legal, federal definition for icewine was the only reason the product couldn’t be included.
Paszkowski went onto say that it’s very difficult to stop counterfeiting, but the new national standard will be a starting point. The next step will be proper enforcement and certification in each province. While B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia already have “very strong” standards, but Quebec is not yet there.
The proposed amendments to the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Food and Drugs Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part 1 on June 15, 2013.
The comment period will run until August 29, 2013. The amendments are expected to be in force by Jan. 1, 2014.
Photo from LaVinoDolce.com