May 2016 VQA Ontario News & Tips

Included in the May 2016 VQA Newsletter is:

  • Keeping Your VQA Information Current
  • Supporting 15 Years of Ontario Wine Industry Growth
  • VQA Certification: A 3-Step Process
  • Field Trip to the VQAO Tasting Panel
  • Exciting Research Opportunity
  • Why VQA? 4 Great Reasons
  • Tips for the Month



If you did not review your user accounts when you renewed your membership, now is a good time to do so.

We use the information entered in your account on our secure VQAO Services application for all contact with your winery. It is your responsibility to ensure the information is correct and current. Important communications and notices that could affect the VQA status of your wines or winery are sent to the primary contact you designate online. These could include wine approvals, compliance notices, invoices and other critical information.

Each winery controls its own account information. You have designated one or more users on each winery account as having administrative authority to add and delete account users. Don’t forget to update your user accounts as your staff changes. You may not wish ex-employees to have access to your accounts.

We strongly recommend that you do not share user accounts (e.g. have multiple users sharing one login ID and password). This will cause the system to crash if two people try to login with the same ID at the same time and may corrupt your data. It also raises security concerns for the winery. Keep in mind that all users on your account can access a wealth of corporate data on wine production, transfers, Icewine, export certificates, membership and VQA invoicing. It is easy for anyone with administrative authority to create a user account for each person who needs one:

  • Login
  • Click on "Edit Profile"
  • Click on "New Personnel"
  • Enter the required information and create an ID (we suggest using the person’s name after the 3 letter winery identifier) and temporary password
  • Click the appropriate boxes if you want to make this person an administrator or primary contact (there can only be one primary contact and they will get all VQA notices)
  • Make sure you click on “save” when you are finished
  • Give the new user their login information and ask them to change their password when they first login

Please give us a call if you need any help.


VQA Ontario is pleased to present our latest publication. Learn about the value VQA membership can add to your business, VQA milestones and find out how VQA Ontario has been supporting 15 years of Ontario wine industry growth. A copy has been mailed to your winery.


Click hereto download an e-copy.

Click hereto download a printer-friendly copy.


Asia is an important market for VQA wineries, notably for Icewine. Unfortunately some of these markets are not well regulated and we see many fraudulent products and practices. VQAO is receiving more frequent inquiries from government authorities, agents and consumers about the authenticity of specific wines that are offered for sale in China.

Here are some things to consider if you export:

  • VQA wine approvals are issued for a specific wine with a specific label.
  • VQA cannot and does not issue wine approvals to non-VQA wineries, virtual wineries, agents or resellers.
  • If you choose to market a VQA wine under a private label, either directly or through a third party reseller, this brand and label must be registered with VQAO. If it is not, the wine is not VQA approved.
  • Once the label is registered, VQAO considers it to be an operating brand of your winery – you are responsible for continued compliance related to this label. Any enforcement actions related to the brand will be directed at your winery. Please be cautious when choosing your partners if you do not own and control the brand.
  • If you sell wine in bulk to any entity that is not a VQA winery, it is not VQA wine. It does not matter if you received a previous approval based on a tank samples.
  • If you sell bottled wine to a reseller and they re-label it with their own label (not approved by VQAO) it is not a VQA wine and cannot use VQA terms. You can register the label with VQAO and then it will be treated as an approved wine under your VQA membership.


Remember that to be approved, a VQA wine must pass three independent reviews: a chemical assessment in the laboratory, performed to confirm the wine meets standards set by VQAO, LCBO and the federal government; a label review to ensure accuracy and truth in labelling; and an evaluation by the sensory (tasting) panel. It is important to remember that the analytical testing performed in the lab is independent of the sensory evaluation performed by the tasting panel – e.g. you should not look for correlation between an analytical result and reasons for failure at the tasting panel. It is not uncommon for a wine to be within the legal limits for a chemical component in the lab, but for the sensory profile to be deemed unbalanced or unacceptable by the tasting panel, should the attributes be more readily perceived in the glass.

For more information please call us.


Back by popular demand, VQAO in partnership with the LCBO, will be hosting another Field Trip to the Tasting Panel. Join us for an informative morning session that includes a short presentation and a tour of the facilities. Find out what happens when you submit your wine for testing!

Wednesday May 18th 10 AM – 12PM

LCBO Quality Assurance, 43 Freeland St. (3rd Floor), Toronto ON

RSVP by Friday May 13, 2016 to


VQA Ontario is embarking on the second year of a multi-year research project to increase our knowledge of VQA wines – and we need your help!

We are looking for volunteer winemakers who are willing to send a sample (one case) of 2015 wine and answer a few questions about how the wine was made.

We are looking at Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. Wine must be single varietal and single vintage to qualify.

The deadline to submit wine is Friday May 27, 2016. For more details, contact


Tips for the month - Wine Transfers

  • Keeping track of the content and composition of each wine is an important part of the VQA system.
  • When selling or buying bulk wine, you must record the transfer in VQA Services online

VQA Ontario ♦Ontario’s Wine Authority ♦  Tel. 416-367-2002