VQA Ontario — News & Tips — June 2017

In this issue:

  • 2016 Ontario Wine Industry Performance Study Now Available
  • LCBO Strike Contingency
  • If You Export To Asia
  • Save The Date – VQA Annual General Meeting July 26 In Lake Erie North Shore
  • Tips Of The Month


The Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy was renewed by the Ontario Government for five years commencing in 2015/16.

In support of the strategy, VQA Ontario provides oversight of annual Ontario Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study. The survey and report were developed by VQA Ontario and Deloitte in consultation with representatives of the wine and grape industry and the Government of Ontario.

The study is aimed at providing benchmarking and performance data to support the reporting commitments of the Wine and Grape Strategy and to improve the industry's access to sector performance information.

The second wave of the study, conducted in late 2016, is now available on VQA Ontario's website at www.vqaontario.ca/AboutVQA/News#News. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the financial state of the industry, including the impact of tourism and hospitality.


As you may have seen in the press, labour negotiations are underway between the LCBO and its unionized staff. Although optimistic that there will be no labour disruption, VQA Ontario has prepared a contingency plan to continue to evaluate submissions for wine approval. We anticipate some challenges if this has to be implemented but will do our best to continue to provide services and to keep you informed.

In making your own contingency plans, wineries should be aware of a few considerations with respect to the VQA process:

•            No approvals testing will be conducted in the first 2 weeks of any labour disruption, and applications in process will be delayed.

•            Wineries will be asked to provide a certificate of analysis from an independent laboratory, either from Brock University or any ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.

•            Wines will be tasted in facilities provided by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Niagara, using a modified version of the normal process and tasters recruited from industry, trade and academia.

•            The number of tastings will be limited and wineries will be restricted in how many samples they can submit to provide fair access to everyone. You will have to prioritize your submissions!


VQA Ontario is participating in a multi-country working group to pilot a "model export certificate" intended to streamline customs paperwork for wineries exporting to Asian countries. The form combines three common certificates requested by customs authorities:

•            Certificate of Origin

•            Certificate of Free Sale

•            Fit for human consumption (Hygiene certificate)

Although no official agreements have yet been negotiated with importing countries, this model certificate is currently being issued on a trial basis for Ontario and Chilean wines and we are hopeful that it will gain acceptance with use. We encourage wineries to present this form to customs authorities as part of the documentation for wine.

The form can be printed from the VQA Services online application by going to the "Forms & Reports" tab for any individual approved wine. The winery or exporter must complete the supplier information on the certificate. Please contact Laurie Macdonald at the VQAO office if you have any questions (laurie.macdonald@vqaontario.ca).



VQA Ontario's 2017 Annual General Meeting will be held on July 26 at Viewpointe Estates in Harrow, Ontario. You will be receiving a separate Notice of Meeting and the election information package shortly. We invite all winery members to attend, and encourage those from other regions to make this an opportunity to visit with your colleagues in Lake Erie North Shore.



The placement of the VQA logo on your label or container is flexible and you may choose not to use the logo at all. Whatever option you choose, rules apply.

No VQA logo:

•            The font size of the appellation declaration, for example "VQA Ontario VQA", must be at least 3.2 mm based on the smallest letter and appear on the principal display panel (front label)

No VQA logo:

•            The logo must appear only in approved black and gold colours

•            The logo must be at least 15 mm square

•            The logo can be anywhere on the container except for the horizontal top and bottom surfaces

When submitting your application, please indicate if you plan to use the logo and where it will appear. Your label will be reviewed based on what you declare on the application. Please note that you do not need to provide an image of the standard VQA capsule with your label uploads if that is your intended package – the label will be approved with a note that the logo application was not reviewed. However, if you say the logo is on the label and it is missing, the 3.2 mm minimum font size requirement will be applied.

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any labelling questions.