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Ontario's Wine Authority Lays Charges Under VQA Act

14 February 2014
Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario (VQA Ontario) has charged several wineries for the unauthorized use of regulated wine appellation terms.

Charges were laid under the authority of the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999. Standards and legislation regulating Ontario’s wines of origin are similar to those in place in all major wine producing regions.

Howard Equities Inc., operating as Megalomaniac Wines, 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”, “Ontario” and a vineyard designation to describe and label wines that were not approved. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in March 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” and variations on its website. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in March 2014.

Sue Ann Staff Estate Winery 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 “Ontario” to describe and label wines that were not approved. These charges are expected to be heard by the Provincial Offenses Court in March 2014.

“VQA Ontario’s role is to protect consumers by ensuring wine descriptions are accurate and not misleading.” said Laurie Macdonald, Executive Director of VQA Ontario. “The approval process is intended to assure consumers that the claimed standard has been met and it is important that wineries respect the rules to maintain a fair and informed marketplace.” She emphasized that integrity in origin labelling is 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 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 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”.

For more information contact:
Laurie Macdonald
VQA Ontario


VQA Ontario 2013 Vintage Report

25 November 2013
See VQA Ontario's review of this year's vintage conditions.

View the full Vintage Report on our website.


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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".