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Current & archived news articles relating to VQA Ontario

Ontario Wineries Charged Under VQA Act

11 December 2019
Picton, Ontario - Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario, Ontario's wine appellation authority, has laid several charges against two Prince Edward County wineries for the unauthorized use of regulated wine label terms.

Bergeron Estate Winery was charged with one count of using terms regulated under the VQA Act without the approval of the wine authority. The charge stems from allegations that the winery used the regulated terms "VQA" and "Prince Edward County" to describe and label a wine that was not approved. The winery entered a guilty plea in the Provincial Offenses Court on November 20, 2019 and a conviction was registered.

In a separate incident, The Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery was charged with four counts of using terms regulated under the VQA Act without the approval of the wine authority. The charges arise from allegations that the winery used the regulated terms "VQA", "Prince Edward County" and "Ontario" to describe and label wines that were not approved. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in January 2020.

VQA Ontario's role is to protect consumers by ensuring wine descriptions are accurate and not misleading. The wine approval process is intended to assure consumers that the claimed standard has been met and that rules are enforced to maintain a fair and informed marketplace. The integrity of label claims for wine origin are especially important since wine is uniquely defined by the place the grapes are grown, and Ontario consumers are increasingly interested in authentic local wines.

VQA Ontario is an independent regulatory authority that has been delegated the responsibility for administering the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 by the Ontario government.

VQA Ontario establishes, monitors and enforces a system of labeling and quality standards and verifies wine origin for Ontario-grown wines. Only those wines evaluated and approved by VQA Ontario may use designated label terms and descriptions. These include geographical terms such as "Niagara Peninsula", "Lake Erie North Shore", and "Prince Edward County" as well as "VQA" and terms that are linked to regulated production processes such as "Icewine" and "Late Harvest".


Minister Approves changes to VQA Regulation

12 August 2019
Adding the Marquette Grape Variety and Permitting Non-Vintage Table Wines

The Minister of Government and Consumer Services has approved an amendment to VQA wine regulation, adding new grape variety, Marquette, to the list of approved grape varieties and allowing for the production to non-vintage dated table wines. In both cases, these wines will be classified as "VQA Ontario" and not designated with smaller appellations of origin.

"We are very pleased the Minister has approved Marquette for use in VQA wines and extended the option of blending wine across vintages to allow for non-vintage VQA table wines. These changes provide new tools for Ontario winemakers who are striving to make the best wine possible, year in and year out in our unique climate," said Brian Schmidt, Chair of the Board of Directors of VQA Ontario.

These changes resulted from separate requests submitted to VQA Ontario by Ontario wineries. Following a technical review and stakeholder consultation, VQA Ontario recommended the amendments to the Minister for approval. The regulatory changes take effect immediately, allowing wineries to apply for VQA certification for Marquette or non-vintage table wines for existing and future inventory.

Marquette is a red grape cultivar that was developed in Minnesota through a breeding program to develop quality wine grapes. It is established in Ontario, notably in emerging wine regions and established a track record in producing quality wines. It is winter hardy and exhibits high disease and pest resistance.

Historically, VQA regulations have required all wines except Sparkling and Fortified wines be labelled with a vintage date and be sourced from at least 85% of grapes grown in the declared vintage. The amendment permits wineries to blend multiple vintages together and omit the vintage date from the label. If a vintage date is declared, the wine must meet the minimum 85% content requirement. This change allows wineries more flexibility to ensure quality and consistency across production cycles.

About VQA Ontario

VQA Ontario is Ontario's Wine Appellation Authority, an independent regulatory agency responsible for maintaining the integrity of local wine appellations and enforcing winemaking and labelling standards.

For further background information please view the following article.

CONTACT – Katherina Radcliffe, Communications Manager
Tel: 416-874-0549 Cell: 647-883-2383 Email: Katherina.radcliffe@vqaontario.ca


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VQA Ontario is an independent regulatory authority that has been delegated the responsibility for administering the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 by the Ontario government.

VQA Ontario establishes, monitors and enforces a system of quality standards and verification of product origin for Ontario wines. Only those wines made from 100% Ontario grown grapes, and approved by VQA Ontario may use appellation terms and descriptions. These include geographical terms such as "Prince Edward County", "Niagara Peninsula", "Lake Erie North Shore", and "Estate Bottled" as well as terms that are linked to regulated production processes such as "Icewine" and "Late Harvest".