Canada’s wine industry, according to a report released Tuesday by BMO Economics, has grown 3.1 per cent on average since 2005 — outpacing the country’s overall economy.
Though the industry makes up a minuscule part of Canada’s gross-domestic product, the report lends credence to a trend that analysts have long been observing: wine’s popularity appears to be on the rise.
That’s not to say that breweries have anything to fear. Whether it’s a lager or stout, beer remains Canada’s alcoholic drink of choice, according to a March 2012 report by Statistics Canada.
Wineries still clock in at a distant second to breweries when it comes to alcoholic beverage manufacturing. But, if recent reports hold true, wine appears to be gaining on beer’s popularity.
Wine’s share of total alcohol consumption, as noted in the BMO report, grew to 30 per cent in 2011 — an increase of 12 per cent since 1995.
Beer’s share fell from 53 per cent to 45 per cent over the same period.
But to what can wineries attribute its positive growth? It seems that aging consumers, favourable weather and changing tastes might have something to do with it.
This year, the owners of vineyards in British Columbia benefitted from ideal growing weather in August and September, while grapes in Ontario managed to survive a frosty spring.
Casting an eye further back, the BMO report says that the industry has benefitted from an aging population that favours wine and a recent trade agreement that phased out protections against imports. The agreement, the report surmises, forced wineries to reinvent their product.
Almost two-thirds of Canada’s vineyard acreage is in Ontario. The remainder is in British Columbia, with a few smaller vineyards in other provinces.