The new North American trade agreement will unleash California wine in Canada. As AgNet West reported last week, the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) has specific language built-in for U.S. wine.
USDA Undersecretary for Trade Ted McKinney spoke at a USMCA rally earlier this month in Lemoore, California. He said several places in Canada are legally secluding U.S. wine options away from local products on store shelves. “For some reason providences in Canada, Brittish Columbia for example, took it upon themselves to hide any of the wines from Californa or Oregon or Washington,” McKinney told attendees. “Well the USMCA brings cage-free wines (audience laughter). We are going to release your wines so they can be sold in Brittish Columbia and we have sent a message to other providences not to go try to do that.”
Allied Grape Grower’s President Jeff Bitter said the language is obviously a good thing for the California wine industry. “The reality is it’s going to create more accessibility for the consumer to have those California wines on the store shelves where the Canadian wines are also displayed,” he said. “They won’t be in a separate locked-up room if you will, where a consumer has to go to a separate location to find those wines.”