Canada Wine Market

All About the Wine Market in Canada
Canadian wine market Attractiveness
are premium wines
Growth of RTD's in 2021
Wine Industry In Canada

Imports & Exports

Despite some recent restrictions imposed by liquor boards in Canada on imported wines, 75% imports continue to be the main drivers of growth in the Canadian wine market. Imported wines also hold a 75% value share in the industry relative to locally-made wines. The largest international exporters of wine to Canada are France, Italy, and Spain. Imports are particularly prominent growth drivers in the premium wine market.

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Key types & key competitors

The most popular type of wine among Canadian consumers is red wine, which accounts for 68% of wine consumption in Canada by volume. Following red wines are white wines and sparkling wines, which account for 28% and 4% of Canadian wine consumption respectively. The most prominent types of imported wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Chardonnay, of which the first has the greatest share. Sales of Cabernet Sauvignon have been increasing by about 4% since 2018. Shiraz sales have suffered from the success of its competitor, declining by about 10% a year.

Another relevant categorization of wine is that between premium and commercial wines. Premium wines are those that sell for over $14.00 CAD per bottle. As of 2022, premium wines make up 33% of the wine market in Canada. It is projected to reach a 37% share in 2026, with a growth rate of around 2% per year. The ratio of premium wine to commercial by volume in Canada is higher than that in the United States and United Kingdom wine market. In contrast, the consumption of commercial wines, both imported and domestically-produced, has been trending downwards. Premium wine production is becoming increasingly significant for local businesses; by 2026, it is expected to reach a 17% share of local production.

Beer remains the largest share of the alcoholic beverage market in Canada. It must be noted that it is also the only category of which consumption shrank during the pandemic (2020 to 2021). The main driver of the liquor industry remains ready-to-drink beverages (RTDs), which grew by 19% in total beverage alcohol volume in 2021. The total alcohol consumption volume in Canada decreased by 0.4% in the same year.

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Overview of Recent Years

In 2020, the volume of alcohol consumption grew by 3% in Canada- which, among other factors, may be attributed to government restrictions on movement and policy decisions making alcohol more accessible. The rate of wine consumption grew more than that of alcohol on average: in fact, it experienced an increase of 5% in volume. However, the volume of still, sparkling, and fortified wine consumption declined by 4% to 49 million cases in total in 2021. Due to the rapid growth of the past year, this figure is still 2% above total wine consumption in 2019. The market is expected to regroup following 2022 and to grow by 0.1% annually up to 2026.

In terms of retail value, the wine industry in Canada is worth $10.01 billion CAD. The value of wine is expected to grow at 0.8 per cent each year until 2026.

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Consumer Demographics & Behaviours

Although the wine industry is anticipating both volume and value growth, recent projections of the Canadians’ drinking habits shows that they are, per capita, decreasing regular alcohol consumption. A 2017 survey found that 49% of adults were regular wine drinkers; in 2022, this number shrank to 38%. Particular demographics contributing to the loss of consumers are the younger generation, especially in French-speaking Quebec.

The significance of this population to the Canadian wine industry is due to the overall importance of the Quebecois market. Wine is very prominent in the province's culture relative to other provinces and territories. Close to one third of regular wine drinkers in Canada reside in Quebec. Along with Ontario and British Columbia, 80% of total wine by volume is consumed in these three provinces. However, smaller provinces are sites of growth for the market. The Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were the only ones to experience any growth in wine consumption between 2020 and 2021.

The location of wine consumption and purchase has also been shifted due to the pandemic. In 2019, pre-pandemic, 16% of wine was consumed in on-premise establishments, such as restaurants and bars; in 2020, this number was slashed by 50%. Instead, consumers seemed to prefer bottle shops and e-commerce sites to procure their wine. However, as restrictions have loosened, the share of on-premise wine consumption in 2022 has outperformed, by volume, 2019 numbers.

Government agencies are the main distributors of liquor in Canada. In fact, in all provinces and territories barring Alberta, liquor sales are regulated by government monopolies. Though recent laws have opened up the ability to sell wines in grocery and convenience stores, Wine Intelligence suggests that consumer purchase habits continue to be shaped by government control over liquor sales. 67% of consumers surveyed by Wine Intelligence in 2022 had purchased wines in government-controlled outlets, while only 22% had purchased wine from grocery stores.  

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Global competitiveness

Canada is the 8th most attractive wine market in the world as measured by general economic indicators and the state of the wine industry. Wine Intelligence Global Compass 2022 identifies significant potential for wine consumption growth and market profitability.

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