Canadians are becoming more wine knowledgeable – bucking a global trend towards decreasing knowledge, according to the latest Wine Intelligence Landscapes 2020 market report.
“Canada has undergone something of a renaissance in wine over the past decade,” said Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence, in the report.
Wine Intelligence uses a Wine Knowledge Index, a 100-point scale that shows the level of wine knowledge within a given population. It is calculated based on consumer-reported awareness of wine producing countries, wine regions, and wine brands. The higher the score, the more the knowledge.
Canadians, both English-speaking and French-speaking, have significantly increased their recalled wine knowledge, rising from 28.4 in 2014 to 35 in 2019. As a comparison, Ireland ranks among the top in terms of wine knowledge, sitting at 47.4 points.
“Our wine and hospitality industries are significant revenue and employment generators so there are many people taking wine classes,” said Michaela Morris, a wine educator based in Canada. “However, it isn’t just industry professionals who sign up. There is significant interaction between wine professionals and wine enthusiasts, especially in urban areas so you actually see a lot of consumers in wine classes.”
Canada is among a handful of countries worldwide that is showing an increasing trend towards wine knowledge; the Global Trends in Wine 2020 report claims the main trend across major wine markets is a decrease in consumer knowledge. Canada and Japan are exceptions to the rule.
Wine Intelligence indicates the increasing trend is attributed to the increasing prominence of Canadian wine tourism, which is centred mainly in the Niagara region of Ontario, and British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, although Nova Scotia has a growing wine industry centred mainly around sparkling wine.
“Having wine regions in BC and in Ontario sparked the interested of the consumers, I think,” said Michelle Bouffard, founder of Tasting Climate Change and correspondent for Meininger’s Wine Business International. “I think that with the wine industry developing rapidly in Nova Scotia, it should have a similar impact in the long run.”
Another trend that came to light was the increasing demand for reduced alcohol and alcohol-free wines in Canada. According to the report, data shows that there has been a 20% increase among regular wine drinkers in Québec, and an 8% increase among English-speaking Canadians who consider alcohol content as important when purchasing wine.
This is a trend that hasn’t escaped trade experts, said the report.
“While Canadians appear to be moderating their alcohol consumption, they are appreciating wine more, knowing more about the subject and connecting with wine through local tourism opportunities in a way that wasn’t the case 10 years ago. This change presents a great opportunity for producers and retailers,” said Halstead.