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Questions and answers – Blended in Canada wine labelling consultation

What questions were asked as part of the consultation?

The survey posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website proposed statements to replace the current "Cellared in Canada" labelling statement for wines blended in Canada. Respondents were also able to leave comments.

How did the CFIA hear that the statement "Cellared in Canada" is not informative and potentially misleading to consumers?

Over the years, with increased production and emphasis on Canadian wines, wine producers and wine industry experts have noted that the statement "Cellared in Canada" is not well understood by consumers. The statement may suggest a high degree of Canadian content when in fact the wine could be a blend of primarily imported wines. Several news articles criticizing the "Cellared in Canada" statement have appeared in the media.

How many responses where received in response to the consultation and what were the results?

The CFIA received 886 responses to the survey during the survey period of June 1 to June 30, 2017. As well, 512 comments were provided. There was a high level of support (81% of respondents) for the proposed statements. For more information on the feedback that was received, please see the Summary Report on the Blended in Canada wine labelling consultation.

Which statements are being chosen to replace the current "Cellared in Canada?"

Based on the consultation which showed that 81% are in favour of the proposed statements, the proposed statements will be included in the wine country of origin labelling policy. They would replace "Cellared in Canada" as the preferred country of origin labelling statement for wines blended in Canada.

For primarily imported wines, namely those blended wines with 51% or more imported content, the label would include the statement:

"International blend from imported and domestic wines"

For primarily domestic wines, namely those blended wines with 51% or more domestic content, the label would include the statement:

"International blend from domestic and imported wines."

What does "primarily" mean in the context of the word order of "domestic" and "imported?"

If there was more imported wine than domestic, "imported" would go first. If less, than "domestic" first. This is consistent with ingredient list labelling principles. For example, ingredients listed on food labels are presented in order of greatest proportion.

Why can't each country of origin be declared on the label of wine blended in Canada?

Each country of origin may be declared on the label. Some blended wines do indicate each country of origin and they could continue to do so. In other cases, the import content of the wine may change depending on the season or availability of wines from certain countries. Therefore, the term "imported" is an option to use in those circumstances when the source of the imported wine content varies.

Where can I get more information should I have questions about my wine?

Consumers are able to contact the company directly should they wish more details on where the specific wine may be from. Contact information appears on the label of the wine.

How do I know if my wine is made from 100% Canadian grapes?

Wines that are 100% Canadian content may make the voluntary statement "Product of Canada" on the label. The manufacturer may also be contacted for more information.

The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) require that the country of origin be included on the label of wine. Does the CFIA intend to amend the current wording of the FDR?

The CFIA is currently examining "country of origin" statements in relation to all foods as part of its Food Labelling Modernization initiative. The current FDR regulation for wine will be examined in this broader food context.

The French proposed statements do not match the English in that "canadiens" is in the French statement as opposed to a French translation of "domestic." What will be done to improve consistency?

There were several comments noting that the French should match the English for consistency. As a previous industry consultation session recommended "domestic" as opposed to "Canadian," the French word "nationaux" will be used to improve consistency. There was preference amongst industry to use "domestic" to describe Canadian content.

How has the Canadian wine industry been involved in the development of the proposed statements?

Recognising that the "Cellared in Canada" statement was outdated and not meeting the needs of consumers and industry, the Canadian Vintners Association, with the participation of the CFIA, led a consultation with the wine industry in the fall of 2016 to develop new statements for wines blended in Canada. Statements were proposed to replace "Cellared in Canada" on the labels of blended wines. These statements were presented to the CFIA in order to obtain feedback from consumers and industry stakeholders.

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