canadian flag vineyardHow will the new European trade deal affect the Canadian wine industry? Here are some excerpts quoted from a recent story by Dianne Buckner, host of CBC’s Dragon Den. The story ran on CBC, Reuters and Canadian Business magazine.

Unlike Canada’s cheese-makers and fisheries who find themselves disadvantaged by the new deal, some in Canada’s wine industry are thrilled by the prospect of new customers. Justcbc logo 500 ask the president of the Canadian Vintners Association. “The agreement opens preferential market access to the EU’s more than 500 million consumers,” says Dan Paszkowski. “It creates new opportunities for Canadian wine exports to Europe.”

Canadian consumers won’t see any fabulous new bargains on imported wine. The savings under the new deal will be insignificant — a few pennies per bottle. That’s certainly not going to be enough to turn a wine aficionado’s head, or lure them away from buying a domestic wine.

Meanwhile on the other side of the deal, savings for Europeans who buy Canadian wine are bigger, but still not huge: a 45 cent price reduction on sparkling wine, 18 cents for still wine. Natalie MacLean sees huge potential for Canadian wine in Europe.

She’s the editor of Canada’s most visited wine review site.

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MacLean believes the beauty of wine is its diversity. “What we offer is different from what Europeans have now,” she says. “We specialize in cool climate wines and not just ice wine. Our riesling, pinot noir, sparkling wines, our shiraz and cabernet franc — those are really big specialties for us both in Niagara and the Okanagan. The Europeans will be open to our wines.”

MacLean looks back to the NAFTA agreement and what it did to spur Canadian vintners to up their game. “We ripped up a lot of bad vines,” she says. “There was a higher drive to quality, and although our volume market share went down, we got a smaller piece of a much bigger pie. So our overall production went up, our quality went up, and the number of wineries skyrocketed, especially in BC and Niagara.”

She says CETA will benefit Canadian consumers also, since an open export market for fine Canadian wines will again be a driver for quality here at home.

Wine journalist Natalie MacLean’s 10 top picks of Canadian wines ready to take on the world:

  • Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling — The platonic ideal of dry peach loveliness
  • Cave Spring Estate Dry Riesling 2011 — Lovely lime purity with major mouth-watering action! Light but packed with flavour. Great aperitif or food companion. Lime and green apple, Anjou pear. Terrific acidity and balance. Food pairings: barbecued lake fish, sushi, milder Thai dishes
  • Inniskillin Niagara Estate Montague Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 — Toffee and baking spice nose opens up into sensory vistas of ripe fleshy peach, pear and a voluptuous butterscotch infused finish. Food pairings: prawn bisque, top sirloin beef, cheese fondue, stuffed chicken breast.
  • Huff Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2011 — Lovely white peach refreshment, green apple goodness follows on the palate. Medium-bodied. Perfect aperitif. Pinot Gris food pairings: roast chicken, roast pork.
  • Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010 — Tart cherries with an acidic attack on the palate. Cries out for food. Silky and medium-bodied. Pinot Noir food pairings: cheeses, salmon, chicken, Asian dishes.
  • Reif The Magician Pinot Shiraz 2011 — Amarone nose with tart cherry liqueur concentration from the appassimento method of adding dried grapes for richness, depth and flavour. Full-bodied and smooth with a pleasantly bitter finish. Pinot Shiraz food pairings: pork tenderloin, hard white cheeses.
  • Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Merlot 2009 — Succulent, juicy and savoury with aromas and flavours of plush ripe black plums. More interesting than most merlots I’ve tasted. One of Canada’s best wine producers. Merlot food pairings: Angus bavette steak with potato and cheddar gratin and heirloom carrots with roasted shallot vinaigrette.
  • Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2011 — Gorgeous aromas of fleshy dark cherries on the nose are followed by those flavours on the palate. Supple, smooth and silky with a medium-bodied weight. Lovely layers of field berries. Long finish. Perfect for planked salmon. Pinot Noir food pairings: BBQ smoked pulled pork.
  • Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Droit Gamay Noir Droit 2010 — Peppered raspberry with a full-bodied, juicy texture and weight. Good price for this quality. Here’s an amazing BBQ wine for you for all sorts of meats and event he portabello mushrooms. Gamay Noir Droit food pairings: char-grilled burgers, steak.
  • Jackson-Triggs Black Series Reserve Shiraz 2011 — Full-bodied, smooth and supple with attractive aromas and flavours of fleshy black plum and blackberry. Perfect for the BBQ!

Quoted with permission from CBC.