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Current & archived news articles relating to VQA Ontario

Appellation Authority launches new winery audit program

18 October 2021
The Ontario Wine Appellation Authority launched its new winery audit program in August 2021.

The audit program had been provided under contract by the LCBO.  

The new program is fully integrated with the Authority’s existing wine certification and retail inspection programs.  The audit portion reviews winery compliance with VQA requirements including declared origin and composition of approved VQA wines, production and labelling standards, and reporting requirements.

Wineries can expect a more focused audit experience with emphasis on origin, composition and labelling.  The Authority’s risk-based approach to inspections has been revised to expand on synergies with the audit program, reduce duplication and ensure effective oversight.  Bringing the audit program in-house improves coordination and consistency of all compliance activities, and often an immediate resolution of minor compliance issues.

We appreciate the invaluable assistance of the LCBO and AGCO in making this a smooth transition. These agencies monitor requirements in their respective areas and we anticipate continued collaboration.

  


Ontario Winery Convicted Under VQA Act

30 November 2020
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario - Convictions were obtained on two charges laid by the Ontario Wine Appellation Authority last year against a Niagara on the Lake winery for the unauthorized use of regulated wine label terms.

UPDATE - April 2021 - Stonechurch Vineyard and Winery Holdings entered a plea of guilty to two charges and was fined $5000.  The winery's membership in the Appellation Authority was revoked effective February 1,2021.

Stonechurch Vineyard and Winery Holdings Inc., operating as Small Talk Vineyards, was charged with two counts of using terms regulated under the VQA Act without the approval of the wine authority. The charges stem from allegations that the winery used the regulated terms "VQA" and "Niagara Peninsula" to describe, label and offer for sale wines that were not approved. These charges were heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in December 2020 through February 2021.

Ontario's VQA regulations protect consumers by setting standards for origin, quality and authenticity. Each VQA wine completes a wine certification process that assures consumers claims made related to origin, composition and method of production have been verified and that labelling 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 is Ontario’s Wine Authority, an independent regulatory body 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".


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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".