Canadian wine industry is a key contributor to economy

by | Mar 17, 2017 | Biz/Tech

Elisabetta Bianchini
Biz & Tech Reporter

The Canadian wine and grape industry has contributed $9 billion to the Canadian economy.

According to a study commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Canadian Wine Caucus and the Canadian Vintner Association (CVA), the report titled Canada’s Wine Economy – Ripe Robust Remarkable found that the industry’s economic impact increased by 33 per cent from 2011 to 2015.

“The wine and grape industry is a Canadian success story,” Vance Badawey, Niagara Centre and Co-chair of the Parliamentary Wine Caucus said in a statement.

The study also shows that the wine and grape industry is responsible for over 37,000 jobs in the country.

“Not only does the sector employ over 37,000 Canadians, but the diversity of the jobs created from this industry is remarkable,” Badawey said. “Ranging from tourism and retail, to marketing, laboratory research, and farming, this sector welcomes Canadians from a range of backgrounds and talents.”

“I think people want to learn more about wine,” said James Pollock, sommelier and wine educator at various academic institutions, including the Humber College School of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism.

He continued,  “there certainly is increased enrollments in both the realm of continued education, people who just want to learn a little bit about wine, but there is also increased interest in working as a wine professional, either at the level of a sommelier or in the realm of the wine business in Ontario. Whether it’s at a winery, working in marketing, working in restaurants, it’s touching a lot of different industries,”

According to the report, wine consumption across the country continues to grow but Canadian wine sales currently only represent 30 per cent of total wine sales across the country.

The study confirms that for every dollar spent on Canadian wine sold domestically, $3.42 in gross profit is generated across Canada.

“The Canadian wine industry is an increasingly significant contributor to our national economy,” Dan Paszkowski, CVA president and CEO said. “Our 671 wineries, largely small, family-owned businesses, create jobs, pay significant taxes, and boost regional, provincial and national economies alike.”

The study results also show that Ontario has generated the most economic impact at $4.4 billion, followed by British Columbia with $2.8 billion and Quebec at $1.1 billion.

According to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s three-year strategic plan, released in January 2016, a key objective is to increase sales of local products and help sustain the local wine industry.

LCBO spokeswoman Christine Bujold said that the LCBO has a long history with local beverage producers.

The LCBO’s strategic plan states that sales of Ontario wines total $456 million in fiscal 2015-2016, an eight per cent increase from the previous year.

“Increasing interest in wine in Ontario almost directly follows the growth of our own industry,” Pollock said. “The LCBO has been a great progenitor of Ontario wines, that’s the first thing you see when you walk into an LCBO.”

According to the LCBO’s 2015-2016 annual report, revenue totaled $5.57 billion.

“I would like to commend the Canadian wine industry on demonstrating such positive economic growth, significant in many of Canada’s wine growing regions,” Dan Albas, Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP and co-chair of the Parliamentary Wine Caucus said.