In its heyday, Baby Duck was a very successful product. It is a sweet, fuzzy wine modeled after Mateus, the popular wine of Portugal.
In 1952, Brights Wines purchased the Fred Marsh Wine Company. At this time, the Fred Marsh winery was working on developing a sweet sparkling wine. It was introduced to the market as Brights Winette. They used Labrusca grapes which could be obtained rather cheaply. This allowed Brights Winette to be sold at a low price.
Brights had control of the Sparkling wine market until Andrew Peller of Peller Estate Winery decided to enter this market, creating a line of Chanté wines. In 1971, they created Baby Duck, a soft-drink-sweet blend of red and white Chanté wines.
Hugely successful, Baby Duck was the best-selling domestic wine during the 1970s and it hatched numerous imitators: Canada Duck, Love-A-Duck, Kool Duck, Daddy Duck and Fuddle Duck were joined by Cold Turkey, etc… All of these wines driving the runaway expansion in the wine trade in the 1960s and 1970s were concocted from water, sugar and grapes that were judged unsuitable for making good quality dry table wines.
Baby Duck peaked in 1973, selling over 8 million bottles. Many people believe its popularity had to do with its easy-to-pronounce name. Baby Duck was originally made from “musky” native labrusca varieties such as concord and bath - and Andrés simply couldn't get enough of them. As well as encouraging local grape growers to plant more of these high-yielding and hardy varieties, B.C. wineries were obliged to import grapes and inexpensive finished wines from California.
Andrés still produces Baby Duck with 7% alcohol In 1980, Andrés downgraded it from Wine to A Refreshment drink.