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Ontario Winery Charged Under VQA Act

30 November 2020
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario - Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario, Ontario's wine appellation authority, has laid two charges against a Niagara on the Lake winery for the unauthorized use of regulated wine label terms.

Stonechurch Vineyard and Winery Holdings Inc., operating as Small Talk Vineyards, has been charged with two counts of using terms regulated under the VQA Act without the approval of the wine authority. The charges stem from allegations that the winery used the regulated terms "VQA" and "Niagara Peninsula" to describe, label and offer for sale wines that were not approved. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in December 2020.

Ontario's VQA regulations protect consumers by setting standards for origin, quality and authenticity. Each VQA wine completes a wine certification process that assures consumers claims made related to origin, composition and method of production have been verified and that labelling rules are enforced to maintain a fair and informed marketplace. The integrity of label claims for wine origin are especially important since wine is uniquely defined by the place the grapes are grown, and Ontario consumers are increasingly interested in authentic local wines.

VQA is Ontario’s Wine Authority, an independent regulatory body that has been delegated the responsibility for administering the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 by the Ontario government.

VQA Ontario establishes, monitors and enforces a system of labeling and quality standards and verifies wine origin for Ontario-grown wines. Only those wines evaluated and approved by VQA Ontario may use designated label terms and descriptions. These include geographical terms such as "Niagara Peninsula", "Lake Erie North Shore", and "Prince Edward County" as well as "VQA" and terms that are linked to regulated production processes such as "Icewine" and "Late Harvest".


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VQA Ontario is an independent regulatory authority that has been delegated the responsibility for administering the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 by the Ontario government.

VQA Ontario establishes, monitors and enforces a system of quality standards and verification of product origin for Ontario wines. Only those wines made from 100% Ontario grown grapes, and approved by VQA Ontario may use appellation terms and descriptions. These include geographical terms such as "Prince Edward County", "Niagara Peninsula", "Lake Erie North Shore", and "Estate Bottled" as well as terms that are linked to regulated production processes such as "Icewine" and "Late Harvest".