Current & archived news articles relating to VQA Ontario

Minister Approves changes to VQA Regulation

12 August 2019
Adding the Marquette Grape Variety and Permitting Non-Vintage Table Wines

The Minister of Government and Consumer Services has approved an amendment to VQA wine regulation, adding new grape variety, Marquette, to the list of approved grape varieties and allowing for the production to non-vintage dated table wines. In both cases, these wines will be classified as "VQA Ontario" and not designated with smaller appellations of origin.

"We are very pleased the Minister has approved Marquette for use in VQA wines and extended the option of blending wine across vintages to allow for non-vintage VQA table wines. These changes provide new tools for Ontario winemakers who are striving to make the best wine possible, year in and year out in our unique climate," said Brian Schmidt, Chair of the Board of Directors of VQA Ontario.

These changes resulted from separate requests submitted to VQA Ontario by Ontario wineries. Following a technical review and stakeholder consultation, VQA Ontario recommended the amendments to the Minister for approval. The regulatory changes take effect immediately, allowing wineries to apply for VQA certification for Marquette or non-vintage table wines for existing and future inventory.

Marquette is a red grape cultivar that was developed in Minnesota through a breeding program to develop quality wine grapes. It is established in Ontario, notably in emerging wine regions and established a track record in producing quality wines. It is winter hardy and exhibits high disease and pest resistance.

Historically, VQA regulations have required all wines except Sparkling and Fortified wines be labelled with a vintage date and be sourced from at least 85% of grapes grown in the declared vintage. The amendment permits wineries to blend multiple vintages together and omit the vintage date from the label. If a vintage date is declared, the wine must meet the minimum 85% content requirement. This change allows wineries more flexibility to ensure quality and consistency across production cycles.

About VQA Ontario

VQA Ontario is Ontario's Wine Appellation Authority, an independent regulatory agency responsible for maintaining the integrity of local wine appellations and enforcing winemaking and labelling standards.

For further background information please view the following article.

CONTACT – Katherina Radcliffe, Communications Manager
Tel: 416-367-2002.

Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study

26 April 2019
The fourth annual industry survey conducted by VQA Ontario and Deloitte on sector health and profitability is now available.

Download the 2018 Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study.

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 2015 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 report provides an overview of the financial state of the industry, including the impact of tourism and hospitality.

Download the 2017 Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study.

Download the 2016 Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study.

Download the 2015 Wine and Grape Industry Performance Study.

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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".