Our guest this evening is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), the national association of the Canadian wine industry representing wineries across Canada, responsible for more than 90% of annual wine production. He represents Canada’s national wine industry on all federal policy issues.
And he joins me live now from his home in Ottawa: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Dan Paszkowski!
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Tell us the story of what sparked your own interest in wine? Where were you? How old were you? What happened? What were you feeling?
Mission Hill Family Estate vineyard: Syrah grapes along Black Sage Road. Osoyoos, BC
Then later on, how did you start working with the CVA?
What is the CVA?
Give us some quick stats about the Canadian wine industry please:
How many wineries are there?
How many hectares of vineyards?
How fast is it growing?
Does Ontario produce 80% of the wine?
How much does the Canadian wine industry contribute to Canada’s economy? $9 billion. How is that calculated?
For every dollar spent on Canadian wine in Canada, what’s the impact on the economy?
For every $1.00 spent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42 in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated across the country.
How many Canadians are employed in the wine industry? 37,000
What are the most critical issues right now facing the Canadian wine industry?
Why is this so critical to the industry, and to us as wine lovers? (This is a big question so let’s break it up so we don’t get a long monologue please ;)
Provincial Territorial Ministers during a conference in Niagara were buying cases of wine to bring home; or CALJ representatives at a meeting in Kelowna were buying more wine than they could consume in their hotel rooms. In both cases they knew that it was illegal to transport wine home.
A winery is legally allowed to deliver wine to a customer in Texas but has to refuse a customer visiting from New Brunswick.
Sandra Oldfield, previously of Tinhorn Creek. ordering a gun from another province, to make the point that it’s easier to order a firearm than a bottle of wine.
Liquor Board reaction in 2012 after Bill 311 was passed, implemented personal exemptions to suggest they did not disallow direct delivery. In 2018, Premiers suggest the answer is to double the limit …. unless you live in a border community, this is of no value. If you live in Kitchener you have to travel 1200 km to MN or 550 to QC to buy two Cases of wine.
Canada is the only wine producing country that doesn’t allow consumers to order wine for direct delivery to their home from any Canadian winery located in any province .
Do you think it makes sense that Canadian wine lovers can’t access their favourite Canadian wines directly from the winery?
Enjoying Canadian wines directly from the winery should be your choice, yet these regulations make it illegal for you to do that.
What do Canadians themselves think about this issue?
88% of Canadians believe that Canada’s agricultural and wine industries will benefit if there are more ways in which local wine can be purchased.
94% of Canadians support a constitutional right to ship legally-purchased wine between provinces.
What’s the impact on the wine industry from these regulations? How much would the industry grow if there were no provincial boundaries?
Are we talking about shipping just Canadian wines across the country, or all wine eventually; say if I want to buy a Tuscan wine from an Alberta liquor store and I live in Ontario?
These regulations restrict the growth of thriving wine industries in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia and also up-and-coming grape growing regions in other parts of Canada.
What can we, as Canadians, do to help?
You have the power to change these laws. Let’s get it done together. Contact your local politician today by filling out the simple form where?
Now looking at international trade, what are your concerns about selling Canadian wine to the United States, especially with NAFTA under negotiation?
What are your views on cellared in Canada wines that are not made from 100% Canadian wine?
What other issues face the Canadian wine industry?
What are the major new trends in the Canadian wine industry, aside from growth in the number of wineries, diversity of wines made and overall better quality?
Do Canadian consumers as a whole recognize the quality of Canadian wine, or is their perception still dated?
What does the Canadian wine industry need to do now that it’s not doing, to ensure its success in the future?
Describe the downright weirdest Canadian wine pairing you’ve ever had?
Do you think it makes sense that Canadian wine lovers can’t access their favourite Canadian wines directly from the winery?
Enjoying Canadian wines directly from the winery should be your choice, yet these regulations make it illegal for you to do that.
If you think this is ridiculous in this day and age, let your local politician know by emailing them right now!
We believe that Direct-to-Consumer shipment respects your consumer choice, and helps grow the Canadian wine industry – something we can all get behind.
Dan Paszkowski is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), the national association of the Canadian wine industry representing wineries across Canada, responsible for more than 90% of annual wine production. Mr. Paszkowski is a member of several professional associations and represents Canada’s national wine industry on all federal policy issues. He co-chairs FIVS Social Responsibility Working Group, 2016-17 Industry Chair of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG), member of Canada’s National Alcohol Strategy Working Group and National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee, member of the Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions (CALJ) Social Responsibility and National Quality Assurance Committees.
- The Canadian wine industry contributes $9 billion to Canada’s economy
- Over 37,000 Canadians are employed in our industry
- 88% of Canadians believe that Canada’s agricultural and wine industries will benefit if there are more ways in which local wine can be purchased
- 94% of Canadians support a constitutional right to ship legally-purchased wine between provinces
- These regulations restrict the growth of thriving wine industries in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia and also up-and-coming grape growing regions in other parts of Canada
You have the power to change these laws. Let’s get it done together. Contact your local politician today by filling out the simple form here
Wine industry launches campaign to lift restrictions on wine shipments
The Canadian Vintners Association (CVA) and its members have launched a campaign encouraging Canadians to let their elected representatives know that interprovincial trade restrictions on wine are outdated and harm the growth of Canada’s wine industry.
“Canada is the only wine producing country that doesn’t allow consumers to order wine for direct delivery to their home from any Canadian winery located in any province,” said Dan Paszkowski, President & CEO of the CVA. “We call that Direct-to-Consumer shipping and we’re asking Canadians to contact their MPP or MLA and demand that it be permitted.”
The campaign, which features digital advertising and social media content, is timed to coincide with the anticipated release of the Alcoholic Beverages Working Group (ABWG) report. The ABWG, which was
formed as part of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, is made up of federal, provincial, and territorial officials. It is tasked with making recommendations that will support the trade of alcoholic beverages
within Canada, while being mindful of social responsibility and international obligations. The ABWG will submit its recommendations by July 1st and on the basis of that report, the federal and provincial
governments will determine how trade in alcoholic beverages within Canada can be improved.
“We know that nine out of 10 Canadians believe Direct-to-Consumer shipping should be permitted,” said Paszkowski. “So, we’re asking them to go to Act Now and make their voices heard. The Working Group report is a significant opportunity to make this right and for provinces to make this choice available to their citizens.”
Direct-to-Consumer would lead to important growth for the country’s highest value agricultural industry. Indeed, free interprovincial trade would positively impact the economy across the country. Industry research shows that for every $1.00 spent on Canadian wine in Canada, $3.42 in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated across the country.
The ‘Act Now’ advertising campaign will run in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec for two weeks, and be distributed via CVA members throughout the country.
About the Canadian Vintners Association
Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), the national voice of wine in Canada, advocates for the national wine industry at the federal and international levels. CVA is dedicated to improving the business success and return on investment for individual wineries, while assuring the continued growth and prosperity of the entire Canadian wine industry.
Canadian Vintners Association | Association des vignerons du Canada
310-440 Laurier Ave West | 440 av Laurier ouest, bureau 310, Ottawa ON, K1R 7X6
www.canadianvintners.com | @CVAwine
Natalie: 00:01 Talking about some hot-button issues in the Canadian wine industry, for example, I live in Ottawa and I love this is a beautiful bc Pinot Noir, but you know what, I can’t buy it legally, at least, you know, calling up the winery of going online and trying to buy this wine, which is kind of insane. I have to fly out there to get it. And , that’s one of the issues we’re talking about tonight. Cross-border shipping of our own wines, and a lot of other issues and trends that are facing, not only the Canadian wine industry, but us. We, as Canadian wine lovers.
Natalie: 02:03 Open. So let me just… So I’m looking at this and we will get going with our guest intro because it’s going to be a great conversation tonight. I’ve got the guest to talk to you about all of these issues, not just cross-border shipping, but many others as well. All right, so let me give you a brief intro here. Our guest this evening is the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Vintners Association CVA, the National Association of the Canadian wine industry, representing wineries across Canada and responsible for producing more than 90 percent of annual wine production in this country. He also represents
Canada’s national wine industry at all federal policy issues; on all federal policy issues, and joins me live now from his home in Ottawa. Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club, Dan Paszkowski. Hello, Dan.
Oh, Natalie. Hi. How are you?
Good, good, good. I want to make sure that everyone can see and hear you just fine, to me a little bit low, but, we’ll see if that’s just me and my earbuds or if, what folks are feeling. So, maybe you can sit
close and speak up because we’ve got a lot of issues to talk about tonight. So tell us, before we jump into all of these issues, Dan, tell me about you personally and why, where did you first get an interest in wine and what, what, where were you, what happened to sort of trigger that interest in wine?
Dan: 03:37 At a young age, my mother’s, my mother’s from France, so there was always wine in the house and my, my uncle always made a, made wine every year, whatever they, a local bounty provided. So he produced blueberry wine and cherry wine. I grew up in northern Ontario, so grapes, that were an option for us. So it goes way back and the university, I just started getting a growing, a growing interest in, in life, trying wine from buying a few models from different regions and it sorta became a, not a connoisseur, not a sommelier, but I thought, a big enthusiast.
Natalie: 04:15 Awesome. That’s great. And so tell me, what wine, which wine is in your glass tonight?
Dan: 04:21 Well, so now you pulled out of the cellar, a wonderful, a glass of British Columbia wine.
Natalie: 04:30 How convenient. I have the Tantalus Pino Noir and I’m loving it and also crying in my beer because I can’t get this wine. I can’t order it a legally, at least. I’m sure there are ways around that
because I live in Ontario, which is just insane. So that kind of, before we dive right into that issue though, of the direct shipping, let’s talk about the Canadian wine industry to give people a perspective of just how important and grassroots literally, I don’t mean to punt on it, this industry is to us. So how many wineries give us a sense of how large the industry is? How many wineries are there now in Canada?
Dan: 05:09 We have roughly 700 great wineries in Canada today. And that’s up from roughly around 300, 350 wineries back about a decade, a decade ago. So there’s been a significant explosion in investment and they indicated wine industry in British Columbia and Ontario for in particular, but also in the province of Nova Scotia.
Natalie: 05:30 Right. And how many hectors of wine are there are? Sorry, vineyards?
Dan: 05: 36, it was about 31,000 acres that are, that are planted at the, at the moment that, that would translate into, I think approximately 12,500 hectares. Okay. There are roughly around 700 wineries currently and in Canada in six producing provinces there. There’s been a significant explosion in the number of wineries that have opened in the past decade. 300 to 350 wineries that have opened up in the past decade in Canada, mainly in British Columbia and Ontario, but also significant investment in Nova Scotia and the province of Quebec.
Natalie: 06:52 Okay. So, Dan, that’s good. So the winery, the wine industry is really growing fast quickly. What are the annual sales of Canadian wine?
Dan: 07:37 Oh, well currently we’re at around 165 million liters per year. About 50 million of that would be 100 percent Canadian wines. And the difference would be the international blends that we produced, which are a blend of the imported and domestic wines.
Natalie: 07:54 Okay. And, does Ontario produce about 90 percent of the wine?
Dan: 08:02 No, . They’re probably about half of the, of the wine production in Canada with a British Columbia. I’ve come again, come again, second, followed by Quebec and Nova Scotia.
Natalie: 08:14 Okay. And, tell us like, just, let’s get a sense of the importance of the Canadian wine industry. How much does it contribute to Canada’s economy and, and how is that calculated?
Dan: 08:27 All right. The last study that we, that we completed was in March of 2017 and that was based on 2015 data. What the study told us, that we’re roughly about a 9 billion dollar industry. And the way that we, that we calculate that as we take a look at all of the wine production, the grape production. Now we look further down the line in terms of the, the impacts on transportation, on liquor boards, on multiple retail outlets, on the restaurants and bars to come up with the multiplier effect of the Canadian wine industry, which comes out to be about 9 billion, which I anticipate as is over 10 billion at this point in time.
Natalie: 09:09 That’s significant. And you know, as I was saying in the intro or previous videos, it’s a really, it’s such a value added industry to be. I can’t think of anything comparable except maybe cheese in
Canada that’s that much value added when it comes to our agricultural products. So that’s where it’s probably adding all of this, you know, value to the Canadian economy. And, you know, one thing I like to say is there’s nothing else we put on the dinner table that’s still in its original package except for maybe… why we don’t, you know, we don’t labeling or apples or, you know, you don’t know where they come from, but wine often the bottle is on the table and thus the value add it’s right there in front of us.
Dan: 09:53 Correct. I mean, it is the highest value added agricultural product in the, in the world. And what our study showed is that for every bottle of Canadian wine produced and, and purchased in Canada, contributes about $90 to the Canadian economy. That’s 100 percent Canadian, a Canadian wine. So if we compare that to an imported bottle of wine, you’re looking at about $15 and sixty cents. So, you know, Canadian purchasing Canadian wine, it makes a significant contribution to our economy.
Natalie: 10:23 Okay, well that’s significant. And how many people work in the Canadian wine industry?
Dan: 10:28 We estimate about 37,000 people direct indirect, jobs that are created by the Canadian wine industry.
Natalie: 10:48 This is so valuable and so interesting. People are loving it, but we just need to keep it up the volume up. All right, so, now let’s start with this whole cross-border shipping. Maybe you could in a, in a nutshell, tell us what the issue is because if I understand it correctly, the federal government is fine with us shipping, buying wine across the country, but it’s the provinces that are the stopping gate, if you will, maybe summarize what is the issue and why it’s important.
Dan: 11:19 Well, basically in 1928, the federal government have put in place legislation which created the liquor board system and you’ve got all alcohol has to flow through the liquor board in the province where the wine or other alcoholic beverages are being consumed. That legislation wasn’t changed for some 80 something years. And finally, the federal government amended, amended the laws, to say that it is no longer a criminal violation to bring wine across provincial borders. That legislation in 2012 was passed both in the House of Commons and in the Senate, which, as you can imagine, is a, is a historic event for any piece of
legislation in Canada. so what the legislation did, it says you are allowed to bring a wine on your person or by a courier or transport across a border.
But the regulations have to be established by the, by the provinces. And, what immediately happened was that the majority of the provinces, immediately established a very low personal exemption. So in Ontario, for example, put in place you can carry one case of wine back into Ontario as long as that wine is carried into the province on your, on your person. A few provinces went further; Manitoba immediately opened up its borders, British Columbia immediately opened up its borders. Nova Scotia, a few years later, opened up this border. So currently we have seven provinces that have not agreed to open their borders to direct consumer a delivery of, of wine. And that’s what we’re trying to address right now. The federal government is very supportive, but it is a provincial decision and individual problems. The decision to open up, and they have been having those discussions. The premiers met in July of this year and they almost came to a decision to double the amount of the personal exemption in Canada.
So let me explain what that means. If you would now be able to bring in two bottles of wine, not one, but two. In Ontario you’ll be able to bring in two cases of wine, not one case two cases; but Natalie, if you live in Kitchener, you would have to travel 1200 kilometers to get to the Manitoba border, 550 kilometers to get to the, to the, to the Quebec border, to be able to make use of this personal exemption. It makes absolutely no sense unless you live along, along a provincial border like we do here in Ottawa. There are no wineries across the border. I mean, I want to get some wine from British Columbia, but I’m one of the lucky ones that get there one or two times per year. Most Canadians don’t, aren’t in that position to get there and actually purchased the wine to be able to carry those two cases of wine or one case of wine back with them. And that’s, that’s where the problem was.
Natalie: 14:06 Yeah. So why are they, why do they think that’s a solution? Why aren’t they just saying, Hey, Canadians buy Canadian wine, wherever you like and however much and get it shipped right to your door, what’s stopping them from doing that
Dan: 14:19 while the two, two arguments that they’ve put forward? I guess three, number one, they would argue that from a social responsibility perspective, you can’t, you can’t have wine delivered to your home from a, from a, not from a winery because kids would be ordering wine. I don’t know any kids that would order wine from British Columbia, pay $4 per bottle transportation costs and wait a week for it to arrive for, for next Friday night. Nobody plans in advance. In addition, we allow for direct delivery of wine within the province of Ontario, within the province of British Columbia. So it’s already within, within the, within the province, intra-provincially. The second issue is taxation. The liquor boards argued that they would lose, they would lose too much revenue by allowing this to happen and that these wines would displace wines for sale in the liquor boards.
We argue that’s not, that’s not the case, I mean a s Canadians become more educated about, about wine, they’re gonna stop at the liquor store and continue to purchase wine, what we’re talking about a here, are small lot, hard to find wines that are not currently available then in the province If they are available in the province, why would you pay three to $4 a bottle and have it shipped to your home? It doesn’t make sense.
And a third issue that they put on the table is, is an international trade obligation, that this would be a violation of international trade obligations. And we put forward a number of proposals that would suggest that you do. There are ways that you implement this, that, that would meet those international trade obligations. So there’s, these are the three excuses they put on the table that had been holding things back for the past 80 years.
Natalie: 15:53 Is it just about protecting the local liquor monopolies? Really?
Dan: 15:58 I believe it’s a, it’s thin. There was a, you know, they don’t want to open up that door, in fear that the door would, would blow open, and have an impact on all of the monopoly system operations, so well, our view is that tax is a majority of those taxes could still be collected, but if the liquor board isn’t offering any service for delivery of that, for the delivery of that wine, then they shouldn’t be able to charge a cost to service charge for that because the wineries doing all, all of the work, you know, sales taxes, GST, those things, as with any means of e-commerce, you know, the province has the right to collect those taxes.
Natalie: 17:26 All right, so, so Dan, do you think that if, if we were permitted, if they did open the borders to Canadian wine, would all wines be next necessarily or do you think that the shipping costs would just discourage people? Like, say I want a Tuscan wine that’s only available out in Alberta Liquor store it. I live in Ontario. Do you think that’s what follows next?
Dan: 17:47 Okay. Currently, currently, if you to have that, if you want to access that particular Tuscan wine, you can go through your liquor board and have it procured for you from the province of Alberta or you go to order the wine through your liquor board directly from the, from the winery in Tuscany. There are many options to be able to access those wines., we don’t believe that this is going to be a significant channel for wine. I mean, you know, most wines are fairly well represented in Liquor boards across the country. So in all, I think if it was made available to, to import, it would be a very, very small channel. Not even worth the importance actually, putting in place the measures to be able to provide that one case of wine, a special wine to a consumer in the province of Ontario.
In the case of Canadian wines, maybe we estimate that, you know, maybe 130,000, 250,000 cases of wine would, would move across the country through the direct to consumer delivery channel. Extremely important for those small lot wines to be able to build that loyalty amongst consumers across the country because, as we know, no liquor boards carries a lot of wines, but they’re, there is, there are many wines that
are produced that are award winning globally recognized, but they’re small lot. They’ll never, they’ll never enter into the, into the liquor board system. So unless you traveled to Nova Scotia or to, or to British Columbia and visited that winery, you’re never going to be able to have the opportunity to,, to purchase it with a without a winery to consumer delivery system in this, in this country. There will be an ability to collect something, some cash revenue off that wine that’s being shipped in. I mean, what the provinces were talking about it July was the double amount of personal exemption. But no, none of the provinces police that. None of the province collects any tax revenue on that. I mean, you could travel to Quebec a 100 times today, Natalie, and bring and bring a case of wine across every time you’d be with within the rights of the law but Ontario is not collecting any tax revenue every time you would do that. So what we’re proposing, it is an option that is very viable.
Natalie: 19:56 Wow. Wow. That’s just seems to be like, let’s, let’s vote for sanity. People here. I’m just going to acknowledge some of you in the comments because you are just pouring in here and I really appreciate it. So we’ve got, let me just go back down here. Elaine. Bruce is in Calgary. Linda Michaels is in Pennsylvania, highly regulated state. She knows she’s very Canadian in the way her liquor board works. David Head is here from Ontario. Francis is in Ottawa. Jason is here from London, UK where it is dark and he has had to deal with issues. Facebook does not. Okay. Paul is here. Paul Hollander says some years ago I tried to have wine shipped from Pennsylvania to Virginia. It was a no go. Likewise. I tried to send a bottle to a friend in Massachusetts and was stopped. Asher, Asher, I’m glad you’re here. Francis says, doesn’t the model in Alberta actually generate more revenue for the province than the loan Crown Corporation approach it? The LCBO and Ontario. Dan, maybe, you can answer that one, please. If you know.
Dan: 21:26 I’m not familiar with, with what the revenues are in the province of Alberta. I mean they do have a privatized system there, which is slightly different than the other jurisdictions and you know, it is something I think other provinces have looked at, but that’s, that’s a political decision as to what decision to move, to move where Alberta did 20, 25 years ago.
Natalie: 21:47 Yes, absolutely. Elaine Bruce says Albert is lucky in that way. I felt bad for my Ontario friends and just wanting to ship a wine home from a boy who just wanted to ship wine home from Bordeaux. Could this be an issue of supply and demand? Linda asks, economies are more and more just based on just in, based on just in time supply chain. Yeah, you’re right. So…
Dan: 22:23 Yeah, about Alberta, Alberta, I’ll, you know, it’s, it is a province which has really, in favor of a trade. Yes. But as soon as Bill C:11 passed in 2012, shortly afterward they amended their legislation, which continues to allow the residents of Alberta to travel to British Columbia, Ontario and bring a tractor-trailer load of wind back home. But they cannot order one bottle of wine by a courier, or else, and have that delivered by courier. Otherwise, they’d be in violation of the law in Alberta and be penalized by, by a fine/slash or jail time.
Natalie: 23:02 Really. Even in Alberta. Wow. I don’t get this at all. It just seems so tangled in a mix of taxes and lobbying and not what’s good for consumers. It just really does not make sense. Trying to even find a reason for the way things are. So tell me, Dan, I’m about when the, the terr… the provincial-territorial ministers met in a conference, for a conference in Niagara. Now, they were buying some wines themselves. So what happened there?
Dan: 23:35 Oh, it was, it was quite interesting because this was a couple of years ago when every year the premiers and territorial premier’s meet in a, in a different province. This year was in New Brunswick and a couple of years ago were in Ontario. And in the evenings there, the delegations would meet at different wineries across the province and the premiers enjoyed the wine and they were buying cases of wine at these, at these wineries. I mean much more wine than I can imagine you can consume in your hotel room at night. So while it’s not good enough for Canadians to be able to bring wine home with them or have wine delivered, the premiers were definitely, were enjoying the wine and were bringing Ontario wine home back to their back to their jurisdiction, which would be in violation of their own law.
Natalie: 24:18 Again, more just, it doesn’t make sense. It does not make sense. And tell me about, so, so even they are trying to do things against their own legislation. But tell me what Sandra Oldfield did from Tinhorn winery. what, what did she do to prove a point?
Dan: 24:37 This goes back a number, a number of years, but I mean, in terms of trying to show a Canadians and politicians how ridiculous it is not to be able to order a case of wine from the winery outside your providence, she ordered a firearm from a different province, and had that firearm delivered to her, to her home in British Columbia. It arrived a couple of, a couple of days later, but it made, it is, it is so ridiculous that you cannot order a case of wine from your favorite winery and have it delivered to your home province, but you can order a firearm, for many, any jurisdiction across Canada and have it couriered to your home.
Natalie: 25:13 That’s great. And we’re about to legalize cannabis, but why? No, no, you’ve got to, you know, better watch those Merlot drinkers. They’re just going to, going off on a bender. Okay. So, now tell me, Dan, you made a point sometime, when we were earlier, chatting about this earlier, a winery is legally allowed to deliver wine to a customer in Texas, but not, but it has to refuse a customer visiting from New Brunswick. So, so we’re talking to Canadian winery can send off wine to Texas, but not someone who lives in Canada, is that right?
Dan: 26:17 That’s correct. I mean, it’ll take Niagara for example, we have a lot of fantastic Quebec tourists that visit the Niagara region because , in the province of Quebec SQA wines have less than one quarter of one percent market share. So they come to Niagara, they visit the region, they stopped by the wineries. And a winery owner gave me this example is, you know, I’ve got a queue at my cash register of, of tourists buying, buying one, two cases of wine. A guy from Texas approaches the till and, and says, you know, can you ship this back? These are two cases of wine, back for me, a lot easier than, than traveling with it in my trunk. Of course, we can do that. We’re going to arrange the courier service for you.
Then a Canadian, whether it’s from New Brunswick or whether it’s from, from Quebec approaches, and says, you know what, it’s a great idea. I mean, rather than, rather than my risk in spoiling the wine in the back of my trunk, can you ship that wine to my, to my home province? And unfortunately, the winery has to deny that opportunity and it will be illegal for, for him or her to ship that wine to Quebec, or to New
Brunswick and therefore the sale isn’t necessarily lost, but it just points out to how ridiculous this is and how challenging it is for a winery in Canada.
Unlike any other widget that’s sold in this country, you have to reject the opportunity to make a, a potential sale or to build that loyal relationship with that consumer and another in another province who may go back, love the wine, and tell the story of the wine to their friends, order more wine. Maybe their friends will not order more wine, because it’s not available in their jurisdiction. At the end of the day, you know, it’s possible that the liquor board may, may list that product, but well, it’s not listed. It’s not available unless you, unless you order it or stop by the winery.
Natalie: 28:08 Wow. I love the scenarios you propose. It just, it puts it into stark relief, this issue. I got some interesting comments from Jason Davis. This is a crazy way to promote a wine region. I agree, Jason. Surely consumers like us can do something even if it’s lobbying. Hey, nice seque. Dan, where can we go? Is it just for Canadians or anybody to sign that petition? That’s online? Tell us about that, what, what, what we need to do to lobby for our local politicians.
Dan: 29:15 And, there is a website called freemygrapes.ca so that, that does have a petition to write to your local, politician to encourage them to do, to do the right thing and, allow for winery consumer delivery in this, in this country and that, that is extremely important at this point in time for a number of reasons.
Number one, the premiers have agreed that, you know, we have to do something about internal trade given the, given the trade protectionism that has taken place around the, around the world. There is an opportunity to create trade and in Canada, in fact, the value of internal trading Canada is greater than Canada you trade agreement or a trade agreement with China for that matter. So there are great opportunities and premiers recognize that they have taken the first step to open up discussion on this in July. Which was a positive, a positive development in itself. The federal prime minister has created a, a, a minister of
internal trade, administer Dominic Leblanc from, from New Brunswick, and now has the responsibility for, for internal trade. The cabinet met last month and they had a broad discussion on, on internal trade, and the prime minister agreed, to hold a first ministers conference with all premier’s before the end of this year in which internal trade will likely be a topic of discussion.
So if there is an opportunity to get a groundswell of support from, from Canadians, to their provincial, their provincial leaders, this is the time to do it. We do have a big window of opportunity here to, to make, a significant accomplishment.
Natalie: 30:55 Awesome. That’s great, Dave Head said, “we get wine shipped all the time from Nova Scotia and BC”, so Dan, you don’t have to make an official comment, but what I hear from wineries, and I’ll just put it out there, is that they are shipping to their wine club people, you know, back and forth and people can call up and online wines. It’s just technically illegal and you can make no comment, but I want to make it clear to people that you can contact wineries and ask them to send you wine. That’s what I believe.
I don’t know other people like Dave Head. Do you have experience in that? Like, I know, I do know that people ship regularly, a favorite Nova Scotia winery up here that are distributed across the country, but you can’t get all their wines and vice versa. So there are ways to do it directly. And there are some advocates like openly, like Painted Rock, John Skinner, he’s all in, he’s shipping wines everywhere and he makes no bones about it. He’s not being like secretive or private. It’s just like, this is insane. I should be able to ship my wines wherever, so I don’t know if there’s any other thing you want to add to that.
Dan. It’s okay if you don’t. That is a personal decision of the individual wineries to make. Yeah. they’re trying to keep their, their consumers happy and maintain that loyal base in, like I said, in seven of 10 provinces. It is technically illegal. , I don’t think that any provincial governments want to undergo another Gerard Comeau case. , so unless…
Natalie: 32:53 … case where the, he tried to buy beer and bring it across the border in New Brunswick is that…
Dan: 32:59 That’s correct. … beer, wine, and spirits across the border from Quebec into the province of New Brunswick. And you know, if, if, if the case, if a Canadian consumer was, was challenged or a winery was challenged for having a case of wine delivered to them, took action, I think that would be an international media story, that would last for a significant amount of time. And we’d be the laughing stock of the world because we are, probably the only wine-producing jurisdiction in the, around, that globe that doesn’t allow for a wide readership, a case of wine to a consumer in a different different province or state or country, if you, if you, if you live within the European Union for that matter. So it’s a, it’s a personal decision. And then it is a provincial decision as to whether or not they’d want to take action, which I doubt that they would.
Natalie: 33:51 The only wine producing country, most likely, that doesn’t allow shipping of its own wines within its own borders, in the world. (Inaudible) if you can post that link to Free My Grapes where people can sign up and it’s so easy to use. I’ve done it and it, it’s got the letter drafted to your local politician to say, Hey, this is insane. Free my grapes. So if somebody could post that in the comments below if you’re still here or somebody else, that would be great. I’d really appreciate it. I’m now, and you’ve done surveys. So, I mean, you’ve surveyed, you’ve asked Canadians about this issue, and so what have the results there? What, what do Canadians actually think about, you know, agricultural and wine industries being able to ship within the borders?
Dan: 34:41 the latest survey we did was in December of 2017 and nine out of 10 Canadians, agreed, that, that, Canada should amend its rules to allow for winery to consumer delivery, inter-provincially, the nine out of 10 Canadians. I mean that is a really, really solid statistic to tell the government that a consumer wants to access. They think this is ridiculous.
Dan: 35:33 It is, it is the first step right here. You’re absolutely correct. For that small winery can’t access to liquor board system in their province or have distribution outside of their province for that, for that matter. Currently, the only option is to, is to hope that a tourist is going to drive down the gravel road that really is the only available option. And the United States, you know, when the Supreme Court ruled in 2005, it was unconstitutional, not to allow for direct delivery within the state, but not to allow an estate winery to ship into that state. We currently have 45 out of 50 states that allow direct to consumer delivery in the US.
Those small wineries are making better margins, a reinvesting back into their winery. They’re growing, they’re increasing their production and now they’re at the point where they’re ready to export. And where are they going to export to? They’re going to export to Canada because that is the closest and the easiest option for them. So we’re, we’re in a really awkward predicament here and not being able to access our loyal consumers across the country through direct delivery when it’s creating a real economic opportunity for us producers, we’d like to have that same opportunity for our 700 wineries.
Natalie: 36:42 Right, with our consumers, so absolutely. Yeah. So we, we’re allowing all these small little artisanal start-up wineries in the US and elsewhere abroad to get a foothold here and tying their hands behind the back of our own wineries. Like again, honestly, that’s just insane. Especially, you know, again, from the, a sampling of wineries, but also, you know, if you believe in regional food pairings, wine, and food, what goes together, what grows together goes together, wine and food made from that region. I’m supporting local, all the, you know, the big movement of drink, local, eat local, hundred kilometer radius, all that stuff. This goes clearly in the face of that. So anyway, I think we’re preaching to the converted, but we still, we’re gonna, we’re gonna say we’re going to sing all the hymns tonight.
So what… oh, let me go back here because Gwen Barton has joined. Welcome, Gwen and Deb has posted the link to act out.freeMygrapes.ca. So go there folks and sign up. It’s so easy now.
So Dan, turning to another cross-border issue, alot is in the news lately about the Nafta negotiations. Do you think there’s an impact for Canadian wines, the wine industry, and also for Canadian wine drinkers?
Dan: 38:01 Well, I mean, Nafta. Nafta was signed many, many years ago and you know, it, it, it’s predated by the Canada, US free trade agreement in 1988. And really, what’s happened over the past 30 years since that agreement was signed, is that the United States has seen double-digit growth in terms of value and volume sales into, into Canada. They’ve gone from roughly $19,000,000 worth of sales to $500,000,000 worth of sales and they’re currently the number one bottled wine importer into, into Canada. So they’ve done extremely, extremely well underneath the, underneath the agreement in the case of Canada.
I mean, we’ve increased our sales by 200,000 cases a year into, into the US. So we only sell right now into the 17 of, of the 50 states. And, really, it’s been a one-sided, one side of the agreement from that, from that perspective, largely to do with the way that the US system operates. They have a three-tier system which is a challenge to access the consumer through, compared to a monopoly system in Canada where it’s a one-stop shop for us to, for us producers. So, you know, we believe that there will be progress made in that, in that agreement, likely through harmonization of the line regulations such as labeling, things of that, things of that nature, to reduce the costs of, of a shipping line between, between the two, the two countries. but at this point in time, we really don’t know whether there’s going to be any, any additional movement in the fast track process that’s a, that’s currently underway where wine doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the top of the list of subjects that, the minister’s are currently talking about.
Natalie: 39:48 Interesting. Because I’ve heard, too, that for California wine, which is the bulk of wine made in the US, Canada, is the number one export country. We’re very important to them.
Dan: 39:59 We are extremely important to, to California in particular. Not only is it the largest wine producing state in the United States, a 94 percent of total us imports into Canada has come from the state of, of California. So it is, it is, has been extremely lucrative, for US wine producers from that particular state. The growth has been exponential at about 12 to 13 percent average annual growth for, for a year. Any sector,
would be licking their lips to be able to have that annual growth.
Natalie: 40:36 Wow. Well, Jason Davis says we’re starting a revolution here tonight. I agree, Jason. And that requires a toast. There you go. And let me just acknowledge a few other comments that have come in. I’m, Jason says one solution. All Canadians should live in the UK. I traveled to France and see if they can prove that the wine they are buying is for personal consumption as they can bring in 95 liters. Wow. Okay. And Linda says we’re limited in bringing Canadian wines to the US. She’s down in Pennsylvania. Alright. So, and then just one question I meant to ask you, Dan, do you have any notion or any idea what the growth might be for the Canadian industry if we had no provincial boundaries, if we just dropped all the cross-border shipping boundaries within our own country for all these little small wineries. What, how, how fast, how much, how far could our wine grow?
Dan: 41:35 Well, I think, I think it’d be extremely important for, for every winery in this, in this country. What we’re talking about through direct to consumer delivery is not, your under $10 wines. We’re looking at the super premium, super premium wines that, that would be moving through that, through that channel. Just given the fact that, that transportation costs that you adopt to incur a three slash $4 per bottle to have that shipped from, let’s say British Columbia to do Ontario. So the analysis that we’ve done is that we estimate that will be somewhere around a hundred 130,000 to 150,000 cases of wine. This would be high value, high-value wine. So it’s wine that’s not currently available in, in the province to where the consumer is seeking that, seeking that product. So it’s going to build that brand loyalty that, that winery loyalty with that, with that consumer. They, typically, typically, they’ll, you’ll finally be able to have a wine club that actually shifts to members outside of the four borders of your, of your province.
You will be able to take advantage of a full advantage of what your, your website can do or what social media can do or different forms of e-commerce going to do. I mean, it’s, it’s incredible that in this day and age, a winery invests in those forms of social media to be able to sell, to consume, to the limited number of consumers within their own province.
So what it’ll do is it will, it will expand those opportunities. They’ll build that loy…, that loyal following, it will provide, will provide provinces with information of the other one that’s entering into the province, from a different jurisdiction and give them the opportunity as free research, right? Given the opportunity to start listing this, this Tantalus Riesling that I’m drinking right now that currently isn’t available and at the LCBO, but if they see that there are 30, 40, a hundred cases of that, being sold, they have the option of listing that product, which, which they currently don’t.
So I think it creates great opportunities for the winery. I think that creates great opportunities for consumers. We’re going to increase their knowledge and are going to hopefully go out there and spend more, spend more money buying Canadian. That’s Canadian wine, whether it’s through direct delivery. But in particular, I think they’re going to increase their purchases at their local, they’re local retail stores, which is going to create more, more generation of, more tax revenues for, for that particular province. So it’s a win-win, win situation.
Natalie: 43:59 Absolutely. More tax revenues, more into the economy, more jobs, everything. It’s all going toward that higher value-add. It just makes so much sense. So, folks, this was a great conversation. If you’re enjoying it, take a moment right now to share this video. If you’re watching the replay, please share it out. It’s an important conversation and even more comment on why you’re enjoying this video, because as you know, at the end of every session next week, I’ll be drawing for a winner based on who shared and commented on this video. And as always, if you want to take your knowledge to the next level, join me on a free online wine video course on how to taste wine like a pro.
All right, Dan. So let’s move on to one other issue here that’s a bit of a hot button. What do you, what is your opinion, view on wines that are labeled as cellared in Canada? So there, they’re bottled here in Canada, but they don’t contain 100 percent Canadian juice, grapes, wine if you will.
Dan: 45:01 Well, you know, from my perspective and that of our organization is, you know, as long as, as long as the label is truthful to the consumer as to what is in the bottle, which, you know, it is the case. Then it’s up to the consumer to decide what they want, they want to, to purchase. The vast majority of Canadians do buy wine under $10 for a bottle. And if we didn’t produce that bottle here in Canada, it’s definitely being produced in different parts of the world.
There’s blended wine production happening everywhere in the world. And, and our sales would be displaced by an important by product. I mean, we’ve had this discussion, over the, over the years. currently, there has been a ruling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to amend the label from cellared in Canada, imported and domestic wine, to international brand from import and domestic, domestic wine.
So it is, there is no Canadian connection to that to confuse consumers as, as a number of people said was the, was the case in the past. It very clearly states that it is an international blend and within that blend is imported and domestic a domestic content. So it’s very clear, and we’re at the point now, of transitioning into that new label and as the, as the wineries burned down their current stock of labels, they will be replaced with a, with the new, with the new labels, which, like I said, I think it was clear, as consumers have told us that it is, that it is clear and we hope that that will, that will end that end, that debate. And we will, we’ll continue to produce those two types. Those two types of wines, many, many people that, including myself that, one in my younger years, a purchase to purchase these types wines. And you know, then I eventually graduated into a, into a higher price to higher price product. So, I mean, I think it’s better for the Canadian economy to produce those products truthfully here in this country rather than producing, rather than buying an $8 Chilean wine and graduating to a 15, 20, $30 Chilean wine and never leaving. Never leaving that, category.
Natalie: 47:13 …category. You’re right. So the training wheels, we should have the training wheel wines right here. But I, I agree with you. I didn’t know what was happening. The international blend. I think, that’s a fair label and section in the, in the liquor store. It bothers me when I see cellared in Canada. I think so misleadingly, but I’m glad that’s the direction that, the labeling is headed in. Dan is pitch hitting for us with the Canadian, for the Canadian wine industry with politicians and lobbyists and so on. So Dan, what are the other trends that are facing the Canadian wine industry or Canadian wine drinkers? Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you want to bring up right now?
Dan: 48: 07 Trends as in, as in favorite types of, of wine?
Natalie: 48:10 Or issues or, you know, what are we going to see in the future? Where’s it going? It could be anything. Maybe that’s just too broad of the phrasing, but is there anything, you know, we’ve talked about cross-border shipping, we’ve talked about cellar in Canada and Nafta. Is there any other hot-button issue that you think we haven’t touched on, that we should talk about?
Dan: 48:31 Well, I think the key thing that both federal and provincial governments are interested in, is signing more free trade agreements, expand our trade portfolio, diversifying our, our, our exports of, of all of all products. You know, that really is in a way, being spurred by the challenge we currently have with the Trump administration for, for example. But we’re not, we’re a small wine producing country. We do export a and we’re exporting some fantastic wines to different parts of the world, but we’re never going to be a, a big player in the export market. At the same time, we only have a 32 percent market share of wines produced in Canada. If I break that down to sort of 100 percent
Canadian wines, we have about a 10 percent market share in this country for those, for those wines which leave almost 70 percent market share for, for imports.
Dan: 49:32 We are one of the top destinations for wine from some countries from around the world. And it’s an easy market to, to access. So, you know, the removal of internal barriers to trade is extremely important because unless we can gain a larger share of our own domestic market, it can’t turn our attention to shifting a couple of cases of wine outside of Canada. So the linkage between growing our exports and removing internal barriers to trade are very much a link, but something that, that we also have to do a better job of and that we are talking to governments about is, better promotion of our wines, across this country. In countries such as Europe or Australia, United States, are spending millions of dollars building their brands. In this country, you know, we just don’t have the wherewithal to do that.
Dan: 50:29 You know, where these foreign governments are subsidizing and providing grants to wineries to export access to Canadian Marketplace, that’s the two hands that are tied behind our back, that isn’t allowing us to grow. And, you know, if we don’t remove these barriers to trade, we can’t export. We can’t take advantage of these free trade agreements. They’ve removed import tariffs now on 91 percent of all the line that comes into this, this country. That’s really a competitive challenge for our, for our producers. So I’m doing more in terms of marketing our product in Canada. Removing internal barriers to trade are critical to take advantage of all the other issues that we have to face in a, you know, as a small producer in a cool climate.
Natalie: 51:15 Absolutely you, you capitalize it’s so well Dan. And you know, I see ads online and in magazines funded by the European Union. It’s all over the place and you just know when that funding comes into the market, it’s just awash with wines from various European countries and it’s just not there for Canadian wines. We need to get behind this. I mean it’s, it’s grassroots.
Dan: 51:41 Australia just announced that they’re providing their industry $50,000,000 to, to build their brands in the export market. Canada is one of the top destinations for, for Australia. You’ve got the European Union and providing 40 percent of every dollar in a grant for new equipment and machinery. So it’s difficult to compete, with, with those countries when they’re receiving such, such a significant amount of support from their local government. So what we’re looking for is the ground floor, to allow us to sell our wine within our own country.
Natalie: 52:12 Yeah. Yeah. Just some basic leveling of the playing field The vineyard field. . Wow. Okay. So some heavy topics, but some great discussion. Let’s lighten it up as we head into the home run here a homestretch, Dan. Do you have a favorite Canadian wine and food pairing? Is there anything that pops to mind?
Dan: 52:35 Well, me and my wife are really big fans of a grilling and, you know, cedar plank salmon is probably one of my, one of my all time favorites. You know, and the pairing that I, it’s a little bit unique I would think, but, it is, Syrah. I mean we always have Riesling or Chardonnay with, my salmon but, you know it’s a meaty oily fish and, and having a, having a fantastic Syrah to go along with tha.t matches really well. And we thought it was different when we tried it, but if anybody wants to try it, it’s a fantastic pair.
Natalie: 53:09 Try it because Syrah is low in tannin and if you’ve got those grill marks on the fish, you’ve got that smoky flavor that will come in through the wine that just might work. Dan, we might try that. We’re getting some wonderful comments here. I just, I want to acknowledge them. Jackie tuning in from London. Really interesting show. How can we get Canadian wines to the UK? There’s a big push for that too. There’s been a lot of trade shows and things at Canada house showcasing Canadian wine. She says, can’t find them anywhere here. Need me some Pino Noir from Niagara. Jackie, we’re going to jump back in the comments after this chats over and give you some links and so on and, and point you in the right directions. I know it’s sparse, but it’s starting to happen. Deb in Vancouver says, absolutely. Removing barriers to trade is important to Canadian wine while becoming more than a blip on the worldwide, a worldwide wine market map.
Natalie: 54:07 Paul says, the only Canadian wines we see in Virginia, are a couple of ice wines And Linda says, I will look for Canadian wine in US stores. Any recommendations? So we will, we will post in here. We’ve got a lot of international people here on board tonight. So I’m so glad you all are so interested in Canadian wine. But we’re going to post more in the comments in answer to you, because you need some links. You need some resources and some specific direction that we will put in after our chat is over. So let us just go to a bit of the lightning round here. Dan, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Dan: 54:51 Your gut, your gut instinct. Nine times out of 10, you know, what, what your thoughts are about a particular wine or what your thoughts are about what might pair with a, with a particular food dish are. Correct. So I just say stick with your instincts. You won’t go wrong.
Natalie: 55:10 And if you could share a bottle of Canadian wine with anyone living or dead, who would that be?
Dan: 55:18 You know, I pull out maybe Robert Mondavi.
Natalie: 55:21 Oh, that one. This is Canadian wine. No, no, no, no, no.
Dan: 55:25 I’m just thinking here with y’all. He is an icon and you know, if I, if I wanted to share a bottle of wine with somebody, I’d like to do a blind tasting with somebody with somebody of that stature who can recognize the quality of wine that we’re producing a up here.
Natalie: 55:43 Okay, so you’re saying you’d like to taste with Robert Mondavi and bring him a Canadian wine. Right? Right. Gotcha. Okay. Okay. Yes. All right, cool. And if you could give us a wine tip, some type of piece of the advice that we could do or implement this week to up our Canadian wine savvy game, what would you suggest we do?
Dan: 56:09 I think to, you know, to restaurants across Canada, I’d say start putting more Canadian wines on your menus in general. But start putting more Canadian wines on your menus by the glass. And to consumers, I’d say, take the opportunity to try Canadian wines by the glass. Taste them against another chardonnay or another, another syrah. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised once you do that over and over again. I think you are going to very quickly turn towards a Canadian wine as your, as your wine of choice, as I think that’d be my advice to both restaurants and consumers.
Natalie: 56:49 Good way to finish. Alright, Dan, where can we find you online? Do you want to point us to that freemygrapes? Is that the IRL you’d like to use or what would you like to point us to?
Dan: 56:59 You know, we, we help, we helped create freemygrapes many, many years ago to build that consumer support for direct consumer delivery, which I think will happen soon. But you can also find us at on twitter @Cva wine, or you can find me @Danpaszkowski, on twitter, or you can visit our [email protected] to get all kinds of information or, or thoughts and perspectives from myself or our organization.
Natalie: 57:28 That’s awesome. So folks, stay tuned. I’m, I’ve got more for you after we wish Dan a good evening. But Dan, I raise my glass, my Canadian, my glass of Canadian Pino Noir from Tantalus. You’ve got the reisling. I’ve got the Pinot Noir. And , thank you for such a great chat, like so many great insights and a folks take action on what we’ve talked tonight I talked about tonight because, you know, the talk isn’t worth anything unless we act. www.freemygrapes.ca. All right Dan, thank you so much for spending part of your Sunday evening with us. I really appreciate it.
Dan: 58:06 Alright, thanks for the invitation. It was a, it was a lot of fun and enjoy your Sunday evening all.