February 28, 2009 (6:00 p.m. EST)
No. 51

Minister Day Announces Initiative to Boost Canadian Wine Exports

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced a new national export initiative to promote the international reputation of Canadian wines and boost sales around the world.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian wine industry are teaming up to prepare wine producers for the export market, to 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," said Minister Day. "The success of Canadian wine exports has economic spinoffs in our agriculture, tourism and wine industries."

The strategy follows the January 1, 2009, removal of a three-percent tariff on the import of oak barrels.

"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). "We estimate this will translate into about a $30 saving per barrel imported."

The export initiative has been developed in close partnership with the CVA, the Wine Council of Ontario (WTO), the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) and their exporting members.

"Canadians can be proud of our award-winning, world-class wine industry," said Minister Day. "Today's announcement of a national export initiative will help open doors for this important industry and introduce the world to our finest icewines and premium table wines."

The Minister made the announcement from Quails' Gate Winery in Kelowna, British Columbia. As one of Canada's foremost family-owned and operated estate wine producers, Quails' Gate is internationally recognized as a top quality producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Quails' Gate was also recently featured on the menu for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Canada.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000