cellared in canada

August 18, 2009

What does “Cellared in Canada” or “Product of Canada Wine” mean? It means that high percentages of bulk wine or grape concentrate from other countries can be used in such a product. Beyond the fact that this is malicious false advertising, it also puts a lot of Ontario grape growers at a disadvantage. Recently, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance protested about this in Toronto and now Jancis Robinson has written an article called The Canadian Con Contd where she derides our liquor boards for allowing it.

A couple of years ago, Tawse (if I remember correctly) released a wine called “99/1” as an humourous (and tasty) protest about our idiotic labelling laws. It contained 1% Ontario Pinot Noir with the other 99% coming from a premiere cru Bourgogne. It was delicious but drinking it made you feel like you were lying to yourself.

Why does the LCBO (and other liquor boards) continue to sell and promote this type of unethical marketing? Because they don’t really care about supporting Ontario wine since the profit margin is less and money talks. What can you do? If you want Canadian wine, buy Canadian wine. Read the labels carefully and complain as much as you can. Hopefully at some point Canada will be embarrassed enough to grow up and act like a legitimate wine producing country.


4 Responses to “cellared in canada”

  1. It should also be remembered that in Ontario the sale of any imported wine results in the LCBO collecting massive portions (60% +) of the retail sale. This is true even of those sales where a consignment importer sells a case to a restaurant.

    Also, if a wine is certified VQA (one type of 100% Ontario grown wine) then the winery can sell it to a restaurant without paying more than half the retail to LCBO. LCBO is strongly hurt by sales of VQA wines to restaurants, or by any sale of Ontario wine to any customer directly from the store. In fact, Ontario wineries are the only competition LCBO faces in the commercial wine business in Ontario. It is self-defeating for them to tell you that Ontario wine is good (then watch you drive down the road to the nearest winery) so they inundate you with Yellow Tails and Fuzions. The only way they don’t get the profits (and of course ensuing management bonuses!) is when someone “goes native” and buys Ontario wine from a winery.

    Why would you expect WalMart to send you to Sears? You wouldn’t. So why expect LCBO to send you to an Ontario winery?

  2. ls Says:

    Larry: Please clarify something for me. If I buy (VQA or other real) Ontario wine at the LCBO what is the percentage of price that the winery gets versus LCBO? If I buy that same wine at the winery, what are the percentages then?

  3. If you purchase a $10.95 100% Ontario grown wine at the LCBO the winery will receive $4.85. If sold at their own winery, they will receive $8.70.

    As the $10.95 includes bottle deposit, $4.85 of $10.75 is just over 45% back to the winery from an LCBO sale. $8.70 is just shy of 81% at the winery. Only monster sized factory wineries can afford to give up the extra 35% plus of retail, and they are forbidden to charge a different price at the winery while the product is at LCBO.

    http://www.realontariowine.ca/?q=market (background information) is an excel file on the Ontario Viniculture Association website that you can download and try your own assumptions. Until the end of March, there was a further rebate to producers of a certain amount (on the sheets) which was not made to producers of other 100% Ontario grown wines, but this has been discontinued. Without this the small players simply cannot afford to play in the LCBO to any great extent.


  4. […] 24, 2009 I was in the Bayview LCBO a couple of weeks ago and made it a point to look at the “Cellared in Canada” section – it was two rows of fancy displays and wine made from grapes grown somewhere else. […]

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