The province of Ontario released a statement today announcing they will be allowing Ontario VQA wines to be sold at local farmer’s markets:
The province is making it easier for consumers to choose Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Ontario wine by expanding the LCBO’s new “Our Wine Country” destination boutiques and allowing VQA wines to be sold at farmers’ markets through the renewed Wine and Grape Strategy.
“I’m committed to supporting this innovative industry and I encourage consumers to choose Ontario wines first as they share them with family and friends this holiday season and throughout the year. They’re local, they’re good for our economy, and they support good jobs,” says Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food of Ontario.
Other features of the $75 million Wine and Grape Strategy will support local wineries and help the sector grow by:
- Establishing an Ontario Wine Fund to support key winery and vineyard investments, such as specialized equipment and machinery, and enhanced marketing for the province’s wines locally and globally.
- Creating a Wine Secretariat to be a one window point for discussions between the province and industry and identifying ways to reduce red tape to help make grape growers and wineries more competitive.
Steve Green of the Downtown Windsor Farmer’s Market considers this a landmark moment.
“This is what the consumers want and we aim to make it a part of 2014 if at all possible,” Steve says.
VQA wine sales in Ontario have increased by $100 million since 2008 — from $168 million in 2008 to $268 million in 2013.
Bernie Gorski, winemaker and owner of Colchester Ridge Estate Winery, says that this isn’t just a big announcement for local wineries but is a huge achievement province-wide.
“It helps give us access to a market we’ve been restricted from since 1920,” Bernie explains. “It’s nice to see our government working with us .”
Bernie goes on to say that he expects a huge impact to be able to sell wines in an area they’ve never been able to before.
“Having a broader market cannot be a bad thing,” he says. “It’s a major achievement for wineries in Ontario and we’re very pleased to be in business at this time while it’s happening.”