Canadian Wine Sector Support in 2024

Canadian Wine Sector Support in 2024

June 5, 2024

The winter of 2023/24 involved an extreme cold snap that was devastating to Canadian wine growers. Many British Columbia growers reported an almost 100% crop loss. Given that the wine industry in BC employs more than 12,000 people located throughout every region of the province and brings 2.8 billion dollars to the economy, on March 24, 2024, the Government of Canada announced that they would offer financial assistance to growers. 

Under the banner of the Wine Sector Support Program, this represents an extension to the existing program that was put in place in June of 2022. Now, the Canadian Federal Government is adding an additional $177 million investment over a period of three years. This new funding supplement begins in 2024 and ends in 2027.

What Is It? 

The Wine Sector Support Program is intended to provide short-term funding for licensed Canadian wineries so they might transition and adapt to the challenges the industry is facing and/or will continue to face long-term. The monies offered in the Wine Sector Support Program are being distributed as grant payments. These are not loans, and they do not require repayment. 

Wineries that may qualify for these incentives must produce bulk wine that is fermented inside Canada, although both domestic and imported agricultural products are acceptable within the wine-making process. 

According to the terms of the agreement, bulk wine includes grape and other fruit wines, sake, and other primary agricultural product-based wines. Those products include ingredients such as grapes, berries, fruit, dandelions, rice and sap. 

This program as a whole represents a bailout of one hundred seventy-seven million dollars over three years. In an industry that produces 2.8 billion dollars per year for the Canadian economy, that represents a total percentage of 2.107 % of the industry’s projected annual revenue. The government wishes to see this grant add support to federally licensed wineries across Canada by keeping their net operating income levels stable. The government’s desire is to keep production levels and number of operators stable in each region so that the industry continues to bring value to the Canadian economy. 


Critics of the Wine Sector Support Program say that because it is based off the volume of wine already produced, some operators may not be able to access much of the funding. This is because with the difficulties of forest fires and freezing temperatures, many BC growers are already in a position where their production levels have decreased. Others feel the program’s focus on the wineries does not fairly represent the smaller growers who would be better served by a replanting program than by a bailout to the wine industry. 

Hopeful Signs

While speaking with reporters from Castanet, Canadian Finance Minister, Katrine Conroy, expressed an awareness that replanting is currently a “significant issue” in British Columbia. Miles Prodan, current President & CEO of the BC Wine Institute was cited as believing that the government is looking at providing funding through the Perennial Crop Renewal Program. 

Who Benefits?

To understand if you might qualify for a grant from the Wine Sector Support Program, growers can find a list of eligibility requirements here. 

You will need to hold a federal wine license, have produced wine using Canadian grown products, have generated a minimum of $50,000 in gross sales the previous calendar year, or you must be a not-for-profit academic organization that produces wine in Canada for commercial sale. 

How do you Apply?

You will need to fill out and submit the required documents. Download the required documents to apply here

The forms will not open on tablets, iPads, or mobile phones, so you will need access to a computer. Your computer must have Adobe Reader 11 or higher installed. Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free here

If you do not own a computer, most libraries allow computer lending access to users with a library card. 

Once you have downloaded the application form, make sure you save it in your computer files. Fill out the form and submit it along with this list of supporting documents. 

What to Expect

After you apply, you will receive an acknowledgement notification. Your application will be verified, and a confirmation notice and program identification number (PIN) will be sent to you. You should receive this notification within fifteen business days. Next, your application will be assessed, and you will be notified that you have either been approved or deemed ineligible. 

There is no appeals process, however, if you are approved, the grant agreement will be sent for you to sign. The amount of your grant will be calculated once all applications for the year have been processed.