Labelling requirements for alcoholic beverages
Product specific information for wine
Common name for wine
- Dealcoholized wine
"Dealcoholized" means that the alcohol content has been reduced to less than 1.1 %. Reduced alcohol wine that has not had its alcohol content reduced to this level is not considered to be "dealcoholized" and would have to be described by a common name such as "partially dealcoholized wine". The percentage of alcohol by volume contained in "partially dealcoholized wine" must be declared on the label.
Any ingredients that are permitted in wine are permitted in dealcoholized wine. A list of ingredients may or may not be required on the label of "dealcoholized wine", depending on whether permitted ingredients are added before or after dealcoholisation. For permitted ingredients added before dealcoholisation, during the course of manufacture of the original wine ingredient, a separate list of ingredients is not needed. Ingredients added after dealcoholisation, directly to the dealcoholized wine, must be declared in the list of ingredients, e.g., "dealcoholized wine, sugar, glucose, etc."
"Dealcoholized wine" is an acceptable common name if single strength grape juice (sweet reserve) is added to the wine product, as it is an acceptable industry practice. It may also contain added water but only to replace the amount removed during the dealcoholisation process. However, if ingredients not permitted by the wine standard, other than grape juice and water, are added to the product either before or after dealcoholisation, the common name "dealcoholized wine" is not acceptable. The product could instead be called "dealcoholized wine beverage" or "dealcoholized wine with (naming the ingredient)", etc., and a list of ingredients would be required.
- Flavoured wine
A flavoured wine containing 17% alcohol may carry the common name "flavoured wine" and use descriptions such as "fortified grape wine with citrus juice and herbs", since the alcoholic content of the wine is close to that of other fortified wines such as sherry. In this example, the product would be required to comply with the standard for flavoured wine [B.02.105, FDR], and the ingredient represented as juice must meet the corresponding juice standard.
Net quantity declaration for wine
Wine that is displayed for sale to consumers and bottled in a 750 mL container that is no taller than 360 mm in height may declare the net quantity in letters of at least 3.3 mm in height [229(3), SFCR]. This is an exception to the type height requirements for the net quantity, and means that 750 mL bottles of wine (no taller than 360 mm) with a principal display surface of more than 258 square centimetres (40 square inches) are allowed to have a smaller type for declaring net quantity, i.e. 3.3 mm instead of 6.4 mm (or instead of 9.5 mm or 12.7 mm, depending on the principal display surface). Use of this exception is optional - wine that is packaged in this way may also declare the net quantity using the type height described in the Legibility and location section of the Net quantity page.
Principal display surface for wine
For wine containers, the principal display surface (definition) includes any area, excluding its top and bottom, that can be seen without having to turn the container, as per paragraph (g) of the principal display surface definition [1, SFCR]. This has the effect of allowing labelling information that is required to be located on the principal display panel of wine, including net quantity, country of origin, common name and alcohol by volume, to be presented in a single field of vision.
Standardized container sizes for wine
Consumer prepackaged wine bottled after January 1, 1979 may only be interprovincially traded or imported into Canada in a container of a size that corresponds to a net quantity by volume of 50, 100, 200, 250, 375, 500, or 750 millilitres or 1, 1.5, 2, 3 or 4 litres [187, 188(1), SFCR].
This container size requirement does not apply to consumer prepackaged wine that is [188(2), SFCR]:
- manufactured, prepared, produced, packaged or labelled for use by commercial or industrial enterprises or institutions without being sold by them as a consumer prepackaged food
- manufactured, prepared, produced, packaged or labelled only for sale to or by a duty free shop, or
- distributed to one or more persons for no consideration (such as free samples distributed without exchange of money or other compensation)
Country of origin for wine
A clear indication of the country of origin is required on all standardized wine products described in B.02.100 and B.02.102 to B.02.107 of the FDR. This declaration must be shown in English and French [B.01.012(2), FDR] and must appear on the principal display panel [B.02.108, FDR].
For wines from the U.S., a statement such as "Blush Merlot of California" would fulfill the requirement for a country of origin declaration on the label of a wine as the requirements do not specify the wording of the country of origin statement; and it is unlikely that anyone would be misled regarding the origin of the product (knowing that California is part of the U.S.).
Wines which are blended in Canada from domestic and imported wines may list the countries in order of proportion or alternatively be labelled as:
- "International blend from imported and domestic wines" or
- "International blend from domestic and imported wines"
"Imported" is listed first when the imported wine makes up the largest proportion of the product. "Domestic" is listed first when the domestic wine makes up the largest proportion of the product.
Use of the term "dry" for wine
In relation to wines, the term "dry" refers to a low residual sugar content in the wine, i.e., most of the sugar has been fermented into alcohol. The term "dry", therefore, means the product has little or no sugar. There is, however, a large measurable range in the sugar content of wines. The actual sugar content of what would be perceived and described as a "dry" wine varies with the specific type of wine. For example, a dry sherry wine would have more residual sugar than a dry table wine.
See also Use of the term "dry" for general information on dry claims for all alcoholic beverages.
Use of the term "light" for wine
For information refer to Use of the term "light".
The icewine standard set out in Volume 8 of the Canadian Standards of Identity document specifies that the terms icewine, ice wine or ice-wine may only be used for wine that is made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine. In addition, any words that are similar to, abbreviations of, symbols for or phonetic renderings of icewine may only be used in reference to wine that meets the icewine standard. This applies to both domestically produced and imported icewine. For domestically produced icewine, an entity acting under the authority of the law of the province in which the product was made must also determine that the product meets the standard [202, SFCR].
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