Canadian Wine Allergen Labelling Rules Effective Saturday

New Allergen labelling rules for wine in Canada become effective on August 4th, this Saturday. Bottled wine with a vintage date of 2012 or later and all wine packaged without a vintage date must now make declarations on the label in certain conditions:

  • If the wine contains sulfites in an amount greater than 10 ppm, this must be declared on the label either in the ingredients or a "contains ..." statement.
  • If the wine contains any significant amount of residual protein from the use of eggs (ovalbumin), fish (isinglass) or milk (casein) products as a fining agent, then this must be declared on the label either in the ingredients or a "contains ..." statement. This requirement could be important for wine that is unfiltered.

The Canadian Vintners' Association has more detailed information including this Allergen Labelling Fact Sheet and Allergen Labellling Guidance Document.

Content and Labelling Laws for BC (Detailed)

The Wines of Marked Quality Regulation is the guts of BC's new wine labelling and content regulation. It creates 2 categories of wine: 1) the familiar "BC VQA" wine category which is actually a slightly watered down version of the old one, and 2) a new lesser category, the "BC Wine of Distinction". BC VQA wines must meet all the requirements of the BC Wine of Distinction plus some additional ones (the most contentious of which is a taste test).

Read more: Content and Labelling Laws for BC (Detailed)

Overview of Content and Labelling Laws for Wine in Canada

This article is currently not comprehensive and will be expanded as time permits me to do so. There is currently a patchwork of content and labelling laws in place in Canada with no consistent national standards (although there is an ongoing initiative to do this).

Relevant Federal Laws

Food and Drugs Act (Canada)

Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (Canada)

Relevant British Columbia Laws

Wines of Marked Quality Regulation (made under the Agri-Food Choice and Quality Act )

Relevant Ontario Laws

Ontario Wine Content and Labelling Act

Explanation: BC Rules

This article provides a detailed overview of the wine content and labelling laws for BC .

In addition, the BC LDB (and other provincial liquor boards) require that any wine labels distributed in BC are approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA has an online guide to their wine labelling requirements here (see chapter 10 particularly).

Please also be aware that if you intend to distribute your product outside Canada, there will likely be requirements in the destination country. For example, all wine sold in the U.S. must get label approval from the federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB).