The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance wants Canadians to know that not all “Canadian” wines are created equally.
The group is calling on the province to review the Wine Content and Labelling Act, which allows Ontario wineries to buy inexpensive finished wine from off-shore vendors, blend it with a small portion of local wine and label it as a “Cellared in Canada” product. Although initially intended as a temporary measure, the OGA says it has become a “permanent part of how non-VQA wine is made in Ontario.”
The minimum amount of Ontario fruit required in “Cellared in Canada” products now sits at 30 per cent, something the OGA says has become a serious concern for Ontario grape growers.
The equivalent of approximately 30,000 tonnes of grapes were imported in 2008, while at the same time Ontario’s grape growers required a $4 million bailout program due to financial hardship.
According to the OGA, supporting Ontario’s grape industry encourages a healthier local environment and economy. It’s now asking the government to immediately increase the Ontario Content in “Cellared in Canada” wines to 50 per cent; to increase the Ontario wine market share to 51 per cent at LCBO stores; and to increase access to more retail stores to sell more 100-per-cent Ontario-grown wines.