Export initiative planned for Canadian wines

Spurred by a reduced tariff on imported oak barrels, Canada’s vintners and the federal government will move on a new strategy aimed at boosting export sales of Canadian wines.

The federal Foreign Affairs and International Trade department and the wine industry aim to prepare wine producers for the export market, increase their profile with “high-end restaurateurs” in key markets and to expose producers to industry retailers, agents and writers.

“By building on the reputation of our wines, we will continue to support the efforts of Canadian exporters and ensure that Canadian wineries continue to expand their international profile,” International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Saturday at a media event at Kelowna, B.C.

With successful wine exports will come economic spinoffs for Canada’s agriculture, tourism and wine industries, Day added.

The government said the joint strategy comes after the removal, at the beginning of this year, of a three per cent tariff on the import of oak barrels for wine.

“The tariff removal has reduced costs for producers and will contribute to making the Canadian wine industry more competitive,” said Dan Paszkowski, president of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), in the government’s press release.

The CVA has estimated that killing the tariff will translate into about a $30 saving per barrel imported, Paszkowski said.

As for the export strategy, “depending on what the various partners step up with, it will be a fund of approximately $1 million to help these businesses, these family businesses not just in B.C. but also in (the) Niagara and Annapolis areas, to market their product abroad internationally,” Day said.

The funding will allow export vintners “to attend the shows and to attend the important events where our product, Canadian product… can be known and can be taken up and can be purchased.”

The export initiative was developed in “close partnership” with the CVA, the Wine Council of Ontario (WCO), the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) and those groups’ exporting members, the government said.

 

Day, whose own constituency covers a part of B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, made his announcement at Kelowna’s Quails’ Gate Winery, which recently picked up some press as the producer of the 2007 Chenin Blanc served at U.S. President Barack Obama’s Ottawa lunch with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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