The Canadian winemaking industry goes back more than 200 years to the early 1800s when Johann Schiller began growing hybridized grapes and making his own wine in Ontario’s Niagara region. The first commercial winery opened in 1866 on Pelee Island. In 1890 there were 41 commercial wineries in Canada, most in Ontario. By 2011 there were 476. Four years later that number grew to 604. Domestic sales of Canadian wines in 2015-2016 were C$2.1 billion. Exports were valued at nearly C$74 million in 2015.
Icewine, a dessert wine that is made exclusively from grapes that are naturally frozen on the vine, began to be produced commercially in Canada in 1978. In 1991 Inniskillin Winery’s 1989 Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Bordeaux’s VinExpo, bringing international recognition to Canada’s icewine industry. Currently, Canada is the largest consistent producer of icewine in the world.
Today’s market size shows the value and volume of Canadian icewine exports in 2011 and 2015. More than a third of icewine exports went to China in 2015, followed by the United States (23.5%), South Korea (13.2%), the United Kingdom (6.5%), and Hong Kong (6.1%). In all in 2015 Canada exported icewine to 31 countries around the world. Although the value and volume of icewine exports have increased during the 2011 to 2015 time period, as a percentage of total wine exports, the value and volume have decreased. In 2011, icewine was 36.2% of total wine export value; in 2015, 25.1%. In 2011, icewine made up 0.84% of total wine exports by volume. In 2015, that dropped to 0.32%.
Geographic reference: Canada
Year: 2011 and 2015
Market size: C$13,354,174 and C$18,623,057 respectively
Market size: 181,093 liters and 234,604 liters respectively
Sources: “Canadian Icewine Exports 2011-2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; “Canadian Icewine Exports – Top 10 Markets in 2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; “Canadian Wine Exports 2011-2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; Statistics Canada, “Table 183-0024 – Sales of Alcoholic Beverages of Liquor Authorities and Other Retail Outlets, by Value, Volume, and Beverage Type, Annual,” CANSIM, May 1, 2017 available online here; “Key Dates & Statistics,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada available online here; “Canadian Icewine,” Canadian Vintners Association, 2016 availalble online here; “The Beginning of Wine Making in Canada,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada, 2014 available online here; “History of Icewines,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada, 2012 available online here; “Statistics,” Canadian Vintners Association available online here; “Canadian Wine and Grape Industry Economic Impact 2015 Fact Sheet,” Canadian Vintners Association, March 2017 available online here.
Image source: Hatfield, Craig, “Icewine From The Niagara Region,” Wikimedia Commons, February 2, 2008 available online here. Use of image does not constitute endorsement of brand shown.