Charges against Royal DeMaria Wines were heard in Provincial Offenses Court on April 25, 2014. A decision was rendered on June 24, 2014.
The winery was convicted on a charge of using the variation “Icevine” of the VQA regulated term Icewine, without the approval of the wine authority. A fine of $5,000 was levied by the Provincial Offenses court. The winery was acquitted on three charges related to the use of VQA regulated terms in association with wines that had previously been approved by the wine authority.
February 27, 2014
Royal DeMaria Wines Ltd. was charged with 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", "Niagara Peninsula" and "Icewine" on wine labels attached to a wine without approval from the wine authority. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in March 2013.
"VQA Ontario’s role is to enforce labeling rules that ensure the wine meets a specific standard and has completed steps to verify compliance." said Laurie Macdonald, Executive Director of VQA Ontario. "Consumers expect these rules to have teeth and non-compliance to have some consequence. Especially when it comes to local products, it is important that we maintain the integrity of the appellation system so that consumers can be confident in their choices."
The standards and legislation for protecting Ontario's wines of origin are similar to those in place in all major wine producing regions.
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 verifies wine origin for Ontario-grown wines. Only those wines approved by VQA Ontario may use designated appellation 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".