Canadians Taking the Wine World by Storm


I have to admit I was shocked by a recent headline in the wine press: “Canada’s Wine Consumption is Growing Six Times Faster than the World Average” (from”Wow,” I thought. “They’ve certainly picked up the pace since I lived there…”

I know something about Canadian drinking habits, which used to run from Canadian Club whiskey and Molson Canadian beer, to nothing at all. You may not know that Canada was home to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, of which my grandmother was a card-carrying, white-ribbon-wearing member. They believed that alcohol — any and all alcohol — was the Demon Drink and would lead otherwise God-fearing citizens (such as my Great Uncle) to rack and ruin. It’s true that Uncle Harry did his share of drifting, usually ending up in some Western boom town where he would drink and gamble till he ran out of money and then move on. I heard he was a mean piano player, and often paid his way by playing piano in honky tonk bars. I know his church-going relatives were horrified, but I’ve always wished I’d been able to meet the guy.

Anyhow… the point of my digression was to explain that alcohol in general and wine in particular was not traditionally a part of many Canadians’ lives. (Just ask all of us who sat through countless dry family gatherings.)

But apparently all that has changed. A report conducted by the British research firm ISWR examined worldwide wine consumption trends from 2005 to 2014. It flagshowed that between 2005 and 2009 alone, Canadian wine consumption increased a whopping 22.5 percent. Wow! In the next five years, 2010 to 2014, a 19 percent increase is expected in Canada, while the rest of the wine-drinking world logs a modest 3.18 percent increase.

Canada is also the world’s fifth largest importer of wine, and is scheduled to hold the number 3 spot by 2014, lagging behind only the U.S.and China. And this with a mere tenth the population of the U.S. and I can’t even count high enough to figure out how much larger China is.

All I can say is, “Go Canada!” Whether my brothers and sisters to the North are enjoying more domestically-made wine (you’ll read another post about that tomorrow), or they’re hitting the Old World and New World wines harder, I say, “Keep up the good work.” Forget that nasty rye whiskey, and limit your lager to hockey-game-watching. Go ahead and pour a glass of red, white, pink or bubbly and keep racking up those numbers.

I’m proud, once again, to be a Canadian: Oh Canada!

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