Created at the Andrés Wines Port Moody winery in 1971, Baby Duck was the best-selling domestic wine in Canada during that decade. The idea was not original. Several American wineries in the 1960s had become quite successful with sparkling pink wines called Cold Duck. (The name comes from an old European tradition of combining the remains from all the wines at a party in a single bowl and calling the result the cold end; the German “kalte need” sounds like cold duck.) When Andrés copied it in Canada in the mid-1960s, it was a huge success even though Joseph Peller, then the winery's president, "could not believe it was a serious beverage." Cold Duck had 12% alcohol. Andrés cleverly finished Baby Duck with seven per cent alcohol because the lower alcohol meant lower taxes and thus a cheaper wine. The grapey flavours and sweetness appealed to palates of the day. Andrés advertised it heavily on television, even hiring an animal psychologist to advise how the ducklings should behave in the commercials.
Baby Duck peaked in 1973, selling over 8 million bottles.
The CBC in 1978 said: Baby Duck provides training wheels for budding wine drinker.
Over the years the Canadian wine industry became of age.. Canada first became famous for its Icewine.
Stunning the wine world in 1994, Mission Hill Family Estate’s Grand Reserve Chardonnay 1992 won the Avery Trophy for “Best Chardonnay Worldwide” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. Was it an easy victory no! The judges though -Hey it Canadian we better take a second look. The judges ran the testing over and once again Mission Hill won!
So did Baby Duck disappear from Canadian wine shelfs, unbelievable no! It still is popular today. True its sales have drop from its Hay day in the 70's and 80's.
Baby Duck is the third most visited page on this website year after year. Which to me is quite astonishing.
Here is some thing interesting. The following is from Andrew Pellers Estate
Andrew Peller Limited Andrew Peller Limited is one of Canada’s leading producers and marketers of quality wines and craft beverage alcohol products. The Company’s award-winning premium and ultra-premium VQA brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Thirty Bench, Wayne Gretzky, Sandhill, Red Rooster, Black Hills Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Raven Conspiracy, and Conviction. Complementing these premium brands are a number of popularly priced varietal offerings, wine-based liqueurs, craft ciders, beer and craft spirits. The Company owns and operates 101 well-positioned independent retail locations in Ontario under The Wine Shop, Wine Country Vintners, and Wine Country Merchants store names. The Company also operates Andrew Peller Import Agency and The Small Winemaker’s Collection Inc., importers and marketing agents of premium wines from around the world. With a focus on serving the needs of all wine consumers, the Company produces and markets premium personal winemaking products through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Global Vintners Inc. (“GVI”), the recognized leader in personal winemaking products. More information about the Company can be found at www.andrewpeller.com.
On the home page of their website
- Premium Brands
- Peller Estates
- Trius Winery
- Wayne Gretzky Estates
- Red Rooster Winery
- Calona Vineyards
- Thirty Bench Wine Makers
- Black Hills Estate
- Gray Monk Estate Winery
- Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
- Canadian Favourites
Not one word about Baby Duck!
Wine-Searches a UK firm displays Baby Duck with the following: This is above average in popularity for wines from Canada. This wine has been becoming increasingly popular over the past year.
A Baby Duck consumer wrote "I always serve this when I have company for dinner, it pretty much goes with anything you serve and always great to receive it as a gift or in my case I give it as a gift or if I am going for dinner at the parents thank you"
A few years back one critic wrote the following
There's nothing like it, thankfully
"Not sure why anyone would want to drink this stuff. It tastes awful, it smells awful. If your goal is to drink cheap bubbly and have a wicked headache the next morning this is is the one to go with. Really truly terrible stuff."
Actually there are other like. Brights had control of the Sparkling wine market until Andrew Peller of Peller Estate Winery decided to enter this market, creating a line of Chanté wines. In 1971, they created Baby Duck, a soft-drink-sweet blend of red and white Chanté wines. DO you remember Winette. How about Canada Duck, Love-A-Duck, Kool Duck, Daddy Duck and Fuddle Duck were joined by Cold Turkey, etc, None of these ever reach the popularity of Baby Duck. Wines(?) are no longer produced under those names.
My final word is: I never tasted the produce and most likely never will!