VQA Ontario September Newsletter

VQA Ontario — News & Tips — September 2016

Included in this Issue:

  • Brix minimums including quick reference chart
  • Grape documentation requirements
  • Benefits of VQA membership
  • How to use the VQA website


Don’t get caught with a blend that does not meet VQA minimums. Click here for a quick reference chart. Make sure you have it handy for harvest and for your cellar staff!

NOTE that the minimum brix for vinifera muscat varieties has changed to 17° for all appellation designations.


VQA regulations require that documentation be provided from GGO on all grapes used in VQA wines. The only acceptable "weigh slip" for VQA purposes is a print out from the e-Grape system administered by GGO. Records must include at least the identity of the grower, vineyard location, grape variety, tonnes, brix (as independently tested) and date of harvest. Please note that handwritten slips or any documentation generated outside of the GGO system are not acceptable. Original e-Grape records are required for all grapes and wines. Grapes that are not registered and tested by GGO by November 15 of the harvest year are not eligible for use in VQA wines.

Wineries that purchase grapes, must or wine from a third party (someone other than the grower of the specific grapes) should ensure they are provided with complete and accurate e-Grape records. Purchases from third parties who are not VQA wineries must be completed and physically on-site at the VQA winery no later than August 31 following the harvest date. The entire content and origin of purchased juice, must or wine must be supported by e-Grape records from the original grower(s). In the case of transfers between VQA wineries, the VQA transfer process must be followed. Wine transferred from a grower, agent or manufacturer that does not hold an AGCO Manufacturers Licence and is not subject to regular VQA audits is not eligible for use in a VQA wine.


From enhanced shelving allocation and Vintages eligibility at LCBO stores, to visibility with restaurants that demand wines of origin and exclusive access to the Ontario Farmers’ Market channel, VQA certification provides the most direct path to Ontario’s engaged wine consumers. For example, during the first year of the VQA Farmer’s Market program, consumers bought almost $1.5 million worth of VQA wines from 78 winery participants.

At the international level, VQA Ontario certification is required by the European Union for access to its member states and continues to be recognized by a growing number of world markets as a standard for access and streamlined entry.

"To grow as a winery, you’ve got to think far beyond the cellar door. VQA certification gets our product into more hands, provincially, nationally and internationally, and that’s a critical factor in continued growth for us." Walter Schmoranz, Pelee Island Winery


VQA Ontario maintains a comprehensive website. Here are a few highlights to help you find the information you need:

Wine approvals process: www.vqaontario.ca/Regulations/Processes
Chemical analysis limits: www.vqaontario.ca/Regulations/Standards
Guide to label requirements: www.vqaontario.ca/Regulations/Packaging
Link to legislation(the Act and Regulations: www.vqaontario.ca/Regulations/Standards

Publications, powerpoint presentations, appellation maps and brochures: www.vqaontario.ca/Resources/Library
Past Newsletters www.vqaontario.ca/Resources/Industry

Statistics and vintage reports in our Annual Reports: www.vqaontario.ca/AboutVQA/AnnualReports/2016/Overview

Geographical information about our appellations: www.vqaontario.ca/Appellations

Governance information such as bylaws: www.vqaontario.ca/AboutVQA/Governance

Information for prospective wineries who are thinking about VQA participation: www.vqaontario.ca/FutureWineries/Overview

Also did you know the following are always available to print or reprint when logged in to the VQA Services secure site:

  • Certificate of Analysis
  • Certificates of Origin
  • Past Invoices
  • Copies of Transfer forms or Approval applications

Lab and tasting scheduled operating dates are also posted on the secure site to assist with planning submissions.