How trade tariffs might impact drinking your favourite U.S. wine


If wine could talk, it’d probably say “dude, leave me out of it!”

I’ve been asked more than a few times this past week if I thought that Vancouver wine drinkers should quickly buy up their favourite American wines, lest the current rumblings about tariffs erupt in a tit-for-tat trade war with our southern neighbours. It’s not unheard of for wine to become a hostage in these disputes, as our recent spat with our neighbours to the east has shown, so it’s certainly plausible that Canada, in retaliation for tariffs imposed on our southbound exports, could make American wines cost even more than they do now.

I think that’s pretty unlikely though, even if retaliations escalate. American wine comes from states that voted decisively against the current President, so hurting grape growers in those places won’t really cost him politically, he’d go from unpopular to unpopular with no electoral consequence. China, by contrast, would reportedly take aim on agricultural products like soy and grain, grown in swing states that would wield more influence, and I suspect that we – if drawn in – would also strategically target imports from Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania rather than wine from Washington, Oregon and California.

To be clear, this is Armchair Economics, and when you ask a wine expert about trade issues you get exactly what you pay for, but I think it’ll be OK. Keep on drinking US wines because you like them, not because someone is going to take them away from you. Wines like this:

Hogue Cellars Riesling 2016, Washington State. One of the first grape varieties to really take off in Washington, by one of the first family wineries to establish there. The Hogue brothers set up shop in 1982 and have made Riesling one their winery’s tent poles: it’s off-dry but not sweet with great acidity, and sprays citrus, stone-fruits and green apples around like a runaway hose. Brilliant with Pad Thai or Bratwurst. $19.99 +tax

The Crusher Pinot Noir 2015, Clarksburg, California. As the name suggests, this is a nuanced, delicate Pinot to be served with boiled fishor plain crackers. Yes of course I’m kidding, this Pinot just stole your car while you read that last sentence. Made by the legendary Sebastiani family of Sonoma, Crusher is Pinot bred for hand-to-hand combat, with cinnamon and glazed strawberry notes surrounding a round, forgiving frame. Pairs with pretty much anything Subway makes, if you can sneak it in… $19.99 +tax

Written by Jordan Carrier, Vintage Room Consultant at Everything Wine – River District.