Research released by the French behemoth wine fair VinExpo, and its U.K. research partner the IWSR, indicates the Canadian wine market is growing three times faster than the world market in terms of retail sales. The report entitled Current Trends in the International Wine and Spirits Market and Outlook to 2014 was released in Toronto recently by VinExpo officials.

Between 2004 and 2014, Canadian wine consumption jumped 28.62 per cent. The study predicts similar wine consumption growth through 2020. Incredibly Canadian wine consumption will have increased at a rate of 3.5% per year, compared to the world average annual growth rate of 1.4%.

Retail wine sales jumped 28.9% between 2003 and 2008 and all signs point to a further rise of some 26% between 2008 and 2014 to reach $5.642 billion. And just to add some icing to the cake, and maybe some advertising too, sales of still wine in Canada is expected to grow at nearly three times that of the global market: 26% versus 9.5%.

Imported wine consumption in Canada rocketed to 27 million cases in 2013, an increase of just under 3.2% over 20012. That ranks Canada as the 6th largest importer of still wine in the world, in terms of volume and this growth it is expected to continue through 2014 at the 30% rate or 28 million cases of imported wine annually.

As a whole, the Canadian wine market, according to estimates from the trade, runs at around 38 million cases, at least two-thirds of which is imported. The total market value for both for imports and home-grown wine was valued in April 2013 at over $7.3 billion (€4.57b), with suppliers from Australia, France and Italy leading the way. Quebec, which has the highest per capita consumption at 18 litres, drinks mainly red wine – the majority from France – while the rest of the country drinks both red and white.

Canadian consumers are view as having a growing sophistication about wines in general and their willingness to try wines from a much wider spectrum than their neighbours south of the border in the United States.

Canada is comprised on 10 provinces and three territories, each with sole jurisdiction over the sales of alcoholic beverages. While each province varies slightly in its approach to the importation and retailing of alcoholic beverages, many standards (labeling, content and advertising) are governed by federal regulations. As a point of departure for most of our clients, we recommend targeting specific provinces, treating them as if they were individual countries.