Robert Bell's

Wines of Canada

Since 1992


Cellared In Canada


March 2018

Today the term used is for wines primarily made from Canadian wines but also include international wines must be labeled “international blend from domestic and imported wines.”

Cellared in Canada or CiC labeled wine is officially illegal. The deceptive packaging has been outlawed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who today announced the approval of new wine label designations to replace “Cellared in Canada”, effective immediately.

Replacing the current label designation “Cellared in Canada from imported and/or domestic wines” is “international blend from imported and domestic wines”, for imported wines. For domestically-produced wines, the new term is “international blend from domestic and imported wines.”


January 2017 it was announced that CIC wines would no longer be allowed to use the word Canada on their wine labels There would be separation on retail shelves separating VQA wines from CIC wines.

Cellared in Canada wines are made with mostly imported grape juice or wine. Cellared in Canada (CIC) wines are blends of imported and domestic wines– with a heavy emphasis on the imported: a CIC wine can be made with up to 70 percent foreign content from countries such as Chile, Argentina, USA and Australia. Wines of quality are associated with an appellation or bench Cellared in Canada wines barely have a home, what we wine folks call terroir – a sense of origin or place that gives the wine its character In 2014 these wines were renamed International Canadian Blended wines, or ICB (formerly CiC or Cellared in Canada)

One must read the label carefully to determine if the wine actual is made in Canada at a local winery or imported and bottled in Canada. This information is usually found on the back label.

Why are Cellared in Canada so popular? One reason is they have a lower price point than VQA wines. Another maybe the that the names are familiar to us dating back into the 70 and 80s such as Hochtaler and Bright's Wines . Another reason maybe how the liquor store display the product Cellared in Canada can be found on the same shelf as VQA wines. Demands by Canadian winery owners and connoisseurs have demanded this practice stop. IN BC Government stores have separate the products.

Many believe that the general public does not know that wines referred to as Cellared in Canada are made from blend of wines outside of the country. When they see Cellared in Canada they think the grapes are grown in Canada and made into wine in Canada . Does this create the perception that other inexpensive and inferior foreign wines are Canadian and by using the "cellared in Canada" marketing strategy is just plain deceitful?

Cellared in Canada wines include:

Copper Moon, Artisan Wines, Jackson Triggs Proprietor's Selection , Linden Bay, Wild Horse Canyon, Sawmill Creek, Painted Turtle , Naked Grape, London wines, Bright Wines, Royal Red, Domaine D'Or, Schloss Laderheim and Similkameen Superior


VQA stands for Vintners Quality Alliance. Originally an industry-organized entity, the VQA has become enshrined in law and is now the official appellation system used to verify origin and quality of Canadian wine. It operates out of Ontario and British Columbia and is administered separately in each province Wines join the VQA and must pass quality standards before their wine can be sold with VQA label. Not all wineries, especially the small ones join VQA. Memberships fee are required. Therefore some good 100 % Canadian wines are not marked VQA.

How does a wine get VQA approval? In Ontario

VQA Ontario does not certify wineries, rather it evaluates each different wine to see if it meets the VQA standard and is eligible for appellation labeling. When the winery has finished making the wine and is ready to bottle, the wine is submitted to VQA Ontario for "approval".


The wine is tasted by a panel of highly trained tasters provided by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). These tasters must pass a yearly proficiency test and are independent of the wineries to avoid a conflict of interest. Tastings are conducted in a controlled setting following well established principles of sensory evaluation – it is much different from a wine competition since the wines are evaluated against an absolute standard.


Every wine undergoes comprehensive laboratory analysis, which is also conducted by the LCBO, to ensure it meets basic wine quality benchmarks and health and safety standards.

How to read a VQA wine label (top to bottom): Ontario

  1. Name of Producer (who made the wine)
  2. Vintage year (At least 85% of the grapes) were grown in 2010
  3. Vineyard Designation (optional) - 100% of the wine came from this vineyard
  4. Varietal name (at least 85% of the wine is made from Riesling grapes)
  5. VQA Ontario appellation of origin (where the grapes were grown)
  6. Mandatory product information (required by federal legislation) - alcohol strength, net quantity, country of origin, dealer's address, common name declaration
BC VQA Wine Classification Works

In order to qualify for the VQA designation, BC and Okanagan wineries must meet some rigorous standards. Wines produced must be 100% vinifera and all the grapes must be from BC.

This, however, doesn't mean that wines without this symbol aren't good quality. Participation in the Vintners Quality Alliance program is voluntary.

VQA Wine Standards are based on:

  • Estate bottled wine - Can only be labeled such on wines made exclusively from grapes grown, produced and bottled on an estate winery.
  • Geographic region - Only wines made from grapes grown exclusively in a specific region can display the name of the region on a wine label.
  • Labeling Guidelines - Determines if a wine is to be labeled as a single varietal, varietal blend or vintage dated.
  • Quality standards - Sets minimum brix levels and acceptable wine making practices.
  • Vineyard designation - Only grapes grown exclusively from a designated vineyard can be named on a wine label.
  • Wine category Determines how the wine is made and labeled, for example, Table Wine, Icewine, Sparkling, Fortified or Liqueur. Labeling regulations also control the use of Geographic Indicators.


When purchasing a Canadian wine be sure to read the label. If you wish to support Canada's wineries and grape growers make sure you are buying a 100% Canadian product. Read the back and front labels. Cellared in Canada bottled in Canada, vinted in Canada all use foreign grapes.The bottles of imported wine are now required to stated made with imported grapes.

Wines that are primarily made from Canadian wines but also include international wines must be labeled “international blend from domestic and imported wines.”

~ This website list all wineries licensed in Canada regardless of how they produce their wines. Cellared in Canada products are usually associated with the big companies.


BC Wine standards

BC VQA Wine Information Centre

VQA Ontario

VQA Standards Ontario


Icewine Standards


Wineries of Canada

Home | About | Sitemap | Gallery | Contact Us |Wine regions | ©2016 Robert A Bell