Friday, March 05, 2010

Ban Bordeaux?

Nunavut MLA plans to introduce a motion calling for a ban on EU wines into Nunavut. This, in retaliation for the European Union's decision to ban Canadian seal products. Since a) I used to live in Nunavut and like to consider myself at least somewhat familiar with the importance of subsistence seal hunting to the lives of Nunavummiut and b) I have a passion for red wines, I found myself inexorably drawn to this issue.

While wine sales as a percentage of total alcohol sales have been slowly increasing over the past 10 years or so, Canada remains one of the few wine-producing nations in the world where domestic wines do not hold a dominant share of the market. Having grown up within a days' drive of all 3 of Ontario's major wine-producing areas, I know there is still pretty of room for the industry to grow and would love to see it do so. A ban on EU wines, not just into Nunavut, but into all of Canada could mean more sales for our own home-grown wines. According to the VQA, wine sales in Ontario tripled in value between 1997 and 2007, to almost $2 billion. Clearly, there is growing demand for Canadian wines.

Beyond mere nationalism, buying domestically helps to cut down on the amount of carbon emissions it takes to get that bottle of Bordeaux from some little vintner in France. Given how anal the EU has become on the climate change front, I'm sure they won't mind if more Canadians decided to buy from Niagara or the Okanagan rather than say Burgundy. The decision then is up to us whether or not we want a good domestic wine gracing our dinner table or some EU import. Personally, I've never understood the big deal over French or Italian wines. In the past year, I've had perhaps one bottle of Bordeaux, nothing to sneeze at. Personally I'd much spend my money on a home-grown wine from Colio's, Sandbanks, Chadsey's, Erie Shores, Black Prince, even Huff's. With all the New World wines, especially from Chile, Argentina and Australia, not to mention the United States, perhaps the EU should be careful about wanting to ban certain trade items. The French wine industry, not having the monopoly on the world wine market it once did, is facing stiffening competition from New World wine and (I say this with a smile) they struggle to compete at times. Yes, I know I'm ranting here. Bear with me. Don't worry though, EU, Canada is a fair country. We can always make "exemptions" and then blindly protest they will work even though history says otherwise....just like you guys do. Perhaps we should just ban French and Italian wines but make exemptions for Hungarian tokaj. I'm sure the EU will understand that.......

Grief, trying to make EU politicians grasp anything these days, I think I need a glass of wine myself. No wonder those guys drink so much. Anyhow, while I don't think a Nunavut ban on EU wines would be anything more than symbolic, one can always dream about what a wonderful world that would be.


Melodie said...

That's a good post! I was thinking that sadly Nunavut is too small to really make any 'dent' into EU's wine profits in trades, but it would obviously be more symbolic.

I myself am quite interested in supporting as much as possible in local food/products. I know that sadly that's not possible during the winter (sorry I'm not going to live like the 1800's and can my veggies/fruits...ew). But wow, when our own food comes out, then of COURSE I only buy Canadian. Canadian wines are really nice too! And at least I can buy those year round...including ice wine!

Maybe Canada 'should' ban EU After all, we really do have nice wines!

•Sigh, Europe really does have it's head shoved up far it's own ass sometimes...•