Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study
First annual industry survey conducted by VQA Ontario and Deloitte on sector health and profitability.
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 was asked to develop and implement the first 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 first wave of the study collected comprehensive information from 106 wineries and 42 non-winery grape growers. The report provides an overview of the financial state of the industry, including the impact of tourism and hospitality.
Download the Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study.
New Booklets and Brochures available
There are several new VQA-related items now available in our library regarding VQA's milestones and future goals. Feel free to browse our Library as an excellent source for learning about VQA Ontario.
VQA Regulations can be viewed in detail at: (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_000406_e.htm) or by contacting the VQA office.
July 1, 2016
Amendments to the VQA Regulation remove the prohibition on placing the VQA logo or letters on wine closures (e.g., corks), and lower the minimum brix level of all vitis vinifera Muscat grape varieties from more specific appellations than Ontario from 18.0° to 17.0° brix.
July 1, 2015
A new sub-appellation of Lake Erie North Shore has been created. South Islands are the nine islands in the western end of Lake Erie that comprise the municipality of the Town of Pelee Island. Within the Lake Erie North Shore region, South Islands is Canada's southernmost wine-growing region.
The minimum requirement for residual sugar in finished Icewine has been changed from 125 g/L to 100 g/L. This change allows wineries to produce slightly less sweet Icewine but all other elements of the production standards for Icewine will remain unchanged. Further information on the standards or technical information on Icewine production can be obtained from the following link
March 14, 2014
VQA Ontario has implemented the following amendment to the production standard for Icewine (VQA Regulation 406)
Revision of Minimum Residual Sugar for Icewine from 125 g/L to 100 g/L
The minimum requirement for residual sugar in finished Icewine has been changed from 125 g/L to 100 g/L. This change allows wineries to produce slightly less sweet Icewine but all other elements of the production standards for Icewine will remain unchanged.
This change harmonizes VQA standards with the recently adopted national guideline and with existing regulations in British Columbia. The change has no impact on Canada's trade agreements or the export of Icewine to foreign markets.
January 1, 2013
Under the old VQA rules, wines that blend content from different appellations had to "declassify" the wine to the next largest appellation that applies. For example, a blend of Lake Erie North Shore and Niagara Peninsula grapes could only refer to the appellation Ontario or a blend of Lincoln Lakeshore and Four Mile Creek could use only Niagara Peninsula or Ontario. The rules prohibited the use of multiple appellations to describe a wine.
Effective January 1, 2013, multiple appellations may be listed on a wine label as part of a truthful, accurate description of content for most wines under the following conditions:
- The official appellation for which the wine qualifies must appear on the principal display panel (existing rules)
- The component appellations of the wine may be listed on the label (or in any off-label description) if all components are included in descending order and accurate percentages are listed
- No other reference to an appellation for which the wine does not qualify may be made on the label, signage, advertising, descriptions or other use that is associated with a specific wine
Wines that are declassified to "Ontario" for reasons of brix, hybrid content or method of production are not be eligible to use more specific appellation terms or multi-appellation labelling to declare the content of the wine.
For example, a blend of Lake Erie North Shore and Niagara Peninsula grapes may now state 60% Lake Erie North Shore, 40% Niagara Peninsula in addition to the declaration VQA Ontario VQA. A blend of 10% Lincoln Lakeshore and 90% Four Mile Creek may declare this in addition to the declaration "VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA". Statements such as "this wine contains 50% Prince Edward County grapes and 50% Niagara Peninsula grapes" will be allowed.
The VQA Act and regulations prohibit all use of appellation terms in association with a wine that does not qualify for the stated term. In conjunction with this regulation change, VQA Ontario will be strictly enforcing this requirement to reduce the potentially misleading use of protected appellation terms. Beginning with the 2013 vintage, any and all use of appellation terms on the label or directly associated with a wine that does not qualify for the term will be prohibited. This will require the removal of all descriptive text such as "visit our winery in Beamsville Bench" or "our winemaker hails from Prince Edward County" for wines that do not qualify for the stated appellation. Terms used in recognized postal addresses will continue to be exempt.
July 1, 2012
VQA wines that use the appellation of origin "Ontario" may be packaged in containers other than glass bottles. The change does not apply to wines that use more specific claims of origin regulated by VQA Ontario such as Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville Bench, Lake Erie North Shore or Prince Edward County. These wines will continue to be packaged in glass bottles.
The alternative containers include stainless steel kegs and containers made of aluminum, plastic (PET), or multi layer containers such as TetraPak or bag-in-box. These containers may be used under the following conditions:
- The geographical indication on the container must be "Ontario"
- The date on which the container was filled must appear on the container in plain language format
- The packaging must comply with the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (Canada)
- The wine shall be packaged in accordance with good manufacturing practices appropriate to the container used
- The container must be closed with a tamper evident seal that preserves the quality of the wine
- Reasonable efforts must be made to monitor the shelf life of the wine and manage inventory to ensure that quality is maintained up to the point of sale
VQA logo now optional on package
Wineries now have the option to label VQA wine bottles (or containers) without the VQA logo on the package if they increase the declared appellation size, including the VQA letters, to a size of 3.2 mm or larger. The appellation declaration must appear on the principal display panel.
Authorized Grape Varieties
Sauvignon Blanc has been added to list of approved varieties for Aromatic Sparkling wines.
For more information please see the full text of Regulation 406.
If you have any questions regarding implementation of these changes, please contact the VQA Ontario office at 416-367-2002 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.