Monthly Newsletter

Posted: March 7, 2023



Don’t forget to record all of your harvest data when you harvest grapes for Icewine and late harvest and enter this information into the online Icewine Management System VQA Services. For each harvest batch, you will need to record the date, time, ambient temperature at harvest, actual (weighed) tonnes and the volume of juice. You will also need the brix reading as tested by McKibbon and Associates. More information can be found in our OWAA Members Handbook.



Thank you for continuing to make the wines that build and sustain our appellation system. It’s time to renew your membership so we can continue supporting you and your consumers with the label integrity that is core to the authenticity of VQA.


Please login to VQA Services to renew for the upcoming year. Once the renewal is complete, find your invoice on the Invoices page and either pay online or send us a cheque. Please make sure you follow up with an emailed copy of your current manufacturer’s licence. Your online renewal must be completed by March 31 or your membership will automatically expire. Fee payment can be deferred to as late as June 30 as long as you notify us first.


Please remember to renew all your memberships if you are a winery operating with more than one AGCO manufacturer’s license.



When renewing your membership, please take some time to update your online profile and ensure that your personnel information is up to date with correct names and contact info (email addresses AND phone numbers). This is also a good a time to review your permission settings (i.e. who can pay an invoice, who receives primary VQA communications, etc.) If you have any questions about this please contact Susan Piovesan or see the Member Handbook on the VQA Services website.



Please review the status of your invoices. As we prepare for our financial year-end, we ask you bring your reports and accounts up to date.


Remember to report and upload your monthly sales reports to the secure VQA Services website each month, even if you have no sales. These reports are due on the 20th of the month. After that, you are overdue! For those wineries with small volumes of sales, payment can be consolidated every few months, but you must submit the reports monthly. Please pay any balances up to and including the March sales report by April 30.



Even if your wine label passes and you see the green check mark, we may have provided important information to you as part of the label review process. Often we will flag potential issues, for example, where your label may not be in compliance with Federal Rules. For example, if your sulphite warning label does not meet the new federal standards – we don’t fail the label, but we do comment on it for you so that you can fix it and bring your label into compliance against the CFIA rules. Here’s what that would look like in the context of a label review:


Sulphite Warning Does Not Meet New Federal Requirements
This means that the sulphite warning, a label element that is required to meet federal standards, does not meet the new requirements set out by CFIA. To view their requirements please visit: List of ingredients and allergens on food labels – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (


Other things we will flag in the comments section of the review, but may not result in a failure, include:


VQA Logo Not Submitted at the Time of Application
This means that your application indicated that the VQA logo would appear on the packaging, but it was not part of the file reviewed at the time of label assessment. The label will be passed or failed based on the information supplied with the application. If you do not specify “no logo” label will be assessed accordingly. If you specify “logo on label” and it does not appear on the proof submitted, the label will fail. If you specify logo on “capsule, neckband or sticker” the label will be provisionally approved without the submission of the logo artwork and it is up to the winery to ensure the logo is present when required.


Wrong Sustainable Winegrowing (SWO) Logo Used
This means your label is using the old (stacked) version of the Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario logo. SWO would like all participants to use the round logo. For more information please visit: Home – Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario


Lot Code Required for Non-Vintage Wine
This means that we could not locate a lot code on the labels/packaging submitted. A non-vintage wine requires a lot code. We acknowledge that lot codes are often lasered onto the bottle at the time of packaging, but we do flag this as part of the label review if it is missing.


Plain Language Date Packaged Missing for Non-glass Container
This means that we when reviewed your alternative packaging, we could not locate a “date packaged” on the file. For containers other than glass bottles, a date packaged is required. We flag this in the label review if it is missing.



Quick reminder regarding the Niagara Benchlands – this term can only be used on VQA wines that qualify to carry the VQA Niagara Escarpment VQA designation, or one of the sub-appellations including Beamsville Bench, Twenty Mile Bench, Short Hills Bench or St. Davids Bench.


Download March Newsletter