Standards Committee

Charged with reviewing, researching and evaluating wine regulations for VQA Ontario's Wine Appellation Authority

Standards Development Committee

The Standards Development Committee of VQA Ontario's Wine Appellation Authority is charged with reviewing and researching proposals for changes to regulations.

The committee is comprised principally of seasoned winemakers with the technical expertise required to evaluate the suitability of winemaking practices for use in quality wine production. All sizes of wineries are represented.


The committee will consider issues of a technical nature referred to it by the Board of Directors or by the membership. It will provide its findings and/or recommendations to the Board of Directors. Its mandate does not extend to non-technical issues including policy matters of an enforcement, marketing or administrative nature.

The committee may provide advice to VQA Ontario staff on interpretation of the regulations and other technical issues as needed. It may also provide expertise and advice related to wine-making practices and standards in regard to specific practices and compliance with the VQA standard but committee members may not be party to any information that may identify an individual winery with any particular practice.

In the case of proposed changes to the regulations made under the VQA Act, the committee shall refer its recommendations for change to the Board of Directors before subsequent circulation to the entire membership for a period of no less than 30 days. The committee may consider feedback received before presenting its recommendations to the Board for final decision.

The committee will encourage input from the general membership and may seek other input as it sees fit but may not make any commitment of resources without approval of the VQA Executive Director or Board of Directors.

The committee will encourage open communications among VQA Ontario members and other stakeholders and endeavour to promote consensus among the membership on technical issues.


Members are appointed by the VQA Ontario Board of Directors.

The committee shall consist of 12 or more members as follows:
  • 3 voting members representing small VQA wineries
  • 3 voting members representing medium VQA wineries
  • 3 voting members representing large VQA wineries
  • 1 non-voting member drawn from LCBO quality assurance staff
  • 1 non-voting member drawn from VQA Ontario staff
  • 1 non-voting member drawn from CCOVI faculty
  • Other non-voting members that the Board considers will add to the expertise of the committee

A call for interested candidates will be issued periodically to the membership. Winery members will be appointed with consideration of their technical knowledge and experience, and the need to train and encourage new members. The majority of committee members should have a minimum of 3 years technical experience in the production of VQA wines. Consideration will also be given to providing an opportunity for all interested members to serve through limiting the number of consecutive terms that a member may be appointed for. At least one member should be from a winery in southwestern Ontario and one from Eastern Ontario.

The Committee will appoint a chair from among its members. The VQA Ontario staff member will act as Secretary to the committee.

Term of Office

The term of membership is 2 years and may be extended by reappointment. Terms will be staggered to ensure reasonable continuity of membership. A term will normally commence at or shortly after the Annual General Meeting of VQA Ontario.

Committee members are not entitled to remuneration, however unusual expenses incurred in connection with membership may be reimbursed by VQA Ontario.


Meetings will be held on an as needed basis. Meetings are normally held during regular business hours at a location within the Niagara area. Meetings are not normally held during the harvest season.

In instances where a vote is required, the quorum requirement shall be six winery members.

Standards Development Committee

Note:The Committee meetings are open to members only.

Committee Members

Ron Giesbrecht (Chair)
Niagara College
Lawrence Buhler (Chair)
Henry of Pelham Estate Winery
Derek Barnett
Karlo Estates
Dorina Brasoveanu
LCBO Quality Assurance
Allison Christ
Colio Wines
Gabriel Demarco
Cave Spring Cellars
Emma Garner
Andrew Peller Ltd.
Tom Green
Diamond Estate Wines
JL Groux
Stratus Vineyards
Sebastien Jacquey
John Howard Cellars of Distinction
Martin Janz
Pelee Island Winery
Jay Johnston
Hidden Bench Estate Winery
Belinda Kemp
CCOVI, Brock University
Laurie Macdonald
Ontario Wine Appellation Authority
Bruce Nicholson
Inniskillin Wines
Rob Power
Creekside Estate Winery
Katherina Radcliffe
Ontario Wine Appellation Authority
Brian Schmidt
Vineland Estates
Jan Schulte-Bisping
Paglione Estate Winery
David Sheppard
Flat Rock Cellars
Ann Sperling
Southbrook Vineyards
Rene Van Ede
The Foreign Affair Winery
Jim Willwerth
CCOVI, Brock University