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 (pictures courtesy of Larry Paterson’s website) and wine made from grapes grown somewhere else. Nothing wrong with grapes grown in other countries, but why is the LCBO trying to fool people who would like to support their local wine industry?

Jancis Robinson has written yet again about this embarrassment. She will also be a guest on “The Current” on CBC radio tomorrow morning to speak about this problem.


I just finished an old book by Jancis Robinson called Tasting Pleasure about her early life in wine tasting. I love the way Jancis writes with no arrogance or pretension and with an understanding of the privileges she has. Jancis has released a great amount of information on her web-site and I was thrilled that she had recently released the first season of her beautifully-shot television series ‘The Wine Course’ on YouTube.

I had only just started to watch it when all the videos were pulled down and this was put in its place – “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Robert-Jan Vugts, B-motion”. It brings up an interesting question about copyright and the author’s or main participant’s rights about releasing their work for free.

There are many documented cases where copyright laws actually stifle and abuse the people that the laws were meant to protect. Jancis’s excitement (and subsequent problems) about releasing the videos is another example. In the end, authors want people to read their books and Jancis was interested in sharing an old television series from 1995. Please complain to B-motion if you are upset. What B-motion doesn’t understand is that the uploaded videos would have generated publicity and sales of the full-quality DVDs due to the viral nature of YouTube.

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.