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Proposed Standard of Identity for Canadian Icewine

On June 15, 2013, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency released proposed regulations to create Icewine Regulations (of the Canada Agricultural Products Act) and Consumer Packaging and Labeling Regulations (of the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act). See New Standard Will Help Open Markets for Canada’s Iconic Icewine. The proposed icewine regulations create “a Standard of Identity for icewine as new regulations under the Canada Agricultural Products Act (CAPA)” while the amendments to the Consumer Packaging and Label Act change current regulations to permit Single Field of Vision (“SFV”) labeling for required information on wine containers and make additional changes to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) and the CPLR. Canada Gazette, Vol. 147, No. 24, June 15, 2013.

As a founding member of the World Wine Trade Group (“WWTG”), Canada seeks to unify labeling standards among major wine powers to promote international wine trade. (To an extent, the modification of Canada’s legislation is similar to the amendments made by TTB to alcohol by volume percentage requirements on wine labels as per the WWTG Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labeling.) The SFV and additional changes incorporated in the Consumer Packaging and Label Act reflects the outcome the WWTG Agreement. Of particular interest to the Canadian wine industry is the protection of icewine through both domestic and international agreements. As one of the world’s largest producers of icewine, Canada is often victim to counterfeit icewines both domestically and internationally; it is the hope of the Canadian wine industry that the new legislation will curb some of the counterfeit production. See Landmark Canadian Icewine Legislation Comes into Force.
The proposed Canadian regulations for icewine now define icewine (including wines labeled as ice wine or ice-wine) as wine “made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine.” Icewine Regulations, Standard, Canada Gazette, Vol. 147, No. 24, June 15, 2013 (emphasis added). In addition, the proposed regulations prohibit the labeling of any wine product as “icewine” or similar unless that product meets the pre-defined standards and an entity “acting under the authority of the law . . . has determined that the product is wine that was made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine.” Icewine Regulations, Labelling, Canada Gazette, Vol. 147, No. 24, June 15, 2013.
Part 1, Article 12 of the WWTG Agreement allows parties to label wine products as icewine or similar “only if the wine is made exclusively from grapes naturally frozen on the vine.” WWTG Agreement, Part 1, Article 12. The proposed regulations issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency put Canadian law in compliance with the WWTG Agreement and the Agreement’s definitions of icewine by creating a corresponding standard of identity for icewine. In addition, the Agency believes amending the domestic legislation will provide Canada a greater ability to “control icewine labelling in Canada and have the regulatory reference when seeking collaboration from other countries in stopping sales of icewine not meeting the international standard,” in an attempt to create a standard for quality icewine. Canada Gazette, Vol. 147, No. 24, June 15, 2013. The comment period for the proposed icewine regulations will run through August 29, 2013.
Lindsey A. Zahn


Lindsey is the founder and author of On Reserve: A Wine Law Blog. She is an alcohol beverage and food attorney and is admitted to the New York State Bar.

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