I stumbled upon this news article about some changes in Ontario’s regulations to allow some Ontario VQA (all boxed wines sold there to date have been blended with international juice) and also international wines to be sold in the bag in a box format. I don’t know what the market is for this, but I’ll assume that many will buy the new selections in part because of the packaging, which helps to keep wines fresher for the immediate days after opening. Is bag in a box something you would buy?
On a side note, when in Ottawa this past week I once again chose to taste Ontario wines exclusively. I had a Chard, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and a Pinot Noir – paying restaurant prices in the teens for six or nine ounce pours. The Riesling was passable, but the other wines were of an unacceptably low standard, lacking ripeness or finish. I’ve heard “I avoid Canadian wine” from more than a few folks outside BC, which is a problem if as a country we want to be known as a premium wine producer.
Why restaurants in cities like Ottawa or Toronto cannot offer more excellent BC wines, or sell Ontario labels that can stand up to their international competition is probably a result of the province’s onerous regulations. Until we get some meaningful reforms that allow more wine to be sold across the country without costly taxation regimes, Canadians will not embrace the idea that we make wines worth buying.