Wine Manufacturers’ Guide

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

Seven bottles of red wine upright in a horizonal line

Section 1: Introduction

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

What is a Manufacturer’s Licence?

There are three classes of Manufacturer’s Licences:

  • To sell wine, a manufacturer must hold a Winery Licence.

  • To sell beer, a manufacturer must hold a Brewery Licence.

  • To sell spirits, a manufacturer must hold a Distillery Licence.

A winery licence permits a manufacturer to keep for sale, offer for sale or sell wine in accordance with the regulations.

It is important to keep in mind that the AGCO’s Manufacturer’s Licence is NOT a licence to manufacture liquor. 

This guide provides information on how to apply for, and maintain, a Winery Licence, as well as other licences and endorsements that licensed wineries may also be eligible for, which include:

  • A By-the-Glass Endorsement which authorizes a licensee to sell and serve their products for consumption in areas that are under the sole control of the licensee and on or immediately adjacent to the production site where the sale is primarily aimed at promoting the manufacturer’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

  • A Caterer’s Endorsement which authorizes a licensee who has a By-the-Glass Endorsement to sell and serve their liquor at catered events at locations away from the manufacturer’s licensed premises.

  • A Liquor Sales Licence which authorizes the licensee to sell and serve liquor at a tied house located at the municipal or property address of the production site.

  • A Winery Retail Store Endorsement which authorizes a winery to sell its wine at any location on the licensee’s production site from a retail store on the production site.

  • A Temporary Extension Endorsement which authorizes a licensee who has a Winery Retail Store Endorsement to sell their eligible products within a farmers’ market or at an eligible industry promotional event, as an occasional extension of their retail store.

  • A Delivery Endorsement which authorizes a licensee to deliver liquor from another manufacturer’s winery retail store, brewery retail store or distillery retail store to a customer.

  • An Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence which allows certain wineries to sell eligible wine at a retail store that is not required to be located at the winery’s production site.

  • A Wine Boutique Endorsement which allows a licensee that holds an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence to operate a winery retail store located inside the shopping area of an eligible grocery store.

Section 2: How to apply for an AGCO Licence, Endorsement or Permit

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

You can apply for and manage any AGCO licence, endorsement or permit, including those described in this guide, online, through the iAGCO portal.

Fees and Payment

  • Please refer to the AGCO’s Schedule of Liquor Licensing Fees for the applicable fee for any licence, endorsement or permit.

  • When using online services, payments must be made by Visa, MasterCard, Interac® Online, Visa Debit or MasterCard Debit.

  • Payments of $30,000 or more must be made by money wire transfer or electronic funds transfer. Please note that cheques and cash are not accepted as forms of payment when using iAGCO online services. For more information, please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.

  • All fees must be received by the AGCO before an application will be processed.

  • All fees are non-refundable.

Section 3: Winery Licence

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

Things to know before applying

Prior to submitting an application for a Winery Licence to the AGCO, applicants should contact the LCBO to obtain relevant information about product testing. Please refer to the Key Liquor Industry Contacts page.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Winery Licence, applicants must be:

  • 19 years of age or older

  • financially responsible

  • conduct the business in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty (please note that this may include, among other activities, police records checks on the applicant and some or all interested persons) 

Applicants are generally not permitted any direct or indirect financial ownership in a business holding a Licence Sales Licence (e.g. licensed restaurants and bars). Please refer to section 20 of Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act for further information.

Distribution and Warehousing

Manufacturers that hold a Winery Licence may distribute their own wine, or the wine or spirits of another manufacturer to persons who have purchased the liquor from the LCBO or another person authorized to sell liquor. To “distribute”, means to transport liquor, other than transporting it to customers for consumption, and includes the warehousing of liquor during its transportation.

Wineries may also enter into an agreement or arrangement with another person to distribute their products. In this case, the person could be another AGCO-licensed manufacturer or a person who is not licensed by the AGCO. The manufacturer remains responsible for compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act, its regulations, and standards and requirements established by the Registrar as they relate to distribution of their products.

In limited circumstances, as set out in Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, holders of a Winery Licence may also distribute the beer of another manufacturer.

A party that is distributing liquor that it did not produce may provide transportation and warehousing services, but cannot buy or sell that liquor.

Wineries are permitted to use facilities away from their production site as additional storage for their product and/or to support distribution of their product. Wineries cannot promote, take orders for or sell liquor from an off-site warehouse, or use an off-site warehouse to service deliveries to end use consumers.

Wineries must maintain records of the location of any offsite storage facilities where their liquor is stored, and provide that information to the AGCO on request.

Supporting documents

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply?

When applying for your Winery Licence (Manufacturer’s Licence – Winery) online via the iAGCO portal, you will be asked to provide the following as part of your application. These items can be provided to the AGCO at any time during the application process:

  • Summary of your Business Plan, which sets out:

    • a full description of the products to be manufactured on site

    • floor plans showing the complete layout of the manufacturing facility, including equipment and proposed location of any retail store to be located at the production site (if applicable)

    • the channel(s) through which you plan to sell your product(s) (e.g. LCBO, under a Winery Retail Store Endorsement, export)

    • If your product(s) will be manufactured at a facility other than your own, please provide details.

  • Copy of Federal Excise Licence (Winery)
    The Excise Act and the Excise Act, 2001 (administered by the Canada Revenue Agency) requires that a person obtain a licence under these federal statutes prior to producing or packaging wine, beer and/or spirits in Canada.

  • Copy of Licence to Process (grapes, peaches, pears, plums and cherries)
    If Ontario wines will be made from these fruits, the applicant requires a Licence to Process issued by the Farm Products Marketing Commission.

  • Written proof of LCBO Product Testing
    Please contact the LCBO for further information, including laboratory testing fees. Contact information can be found in the Key Liquor Industry Contacts page.

  • Copy of Business Name Registration
    The business name under which you intend to operate may have to be registered under the Business Names Act.

  • Entity Disclosure (if applicable)
    All questions must be answered.

  • Personal Disclosure, to be completed by all of the following individuals:

    • Owner (if the applicant is a sole proprietor)

    • Officers and directors including: signing officer, president, secretary, treasurer

    • All persons holding 10% or more of the outstanding shares, or of a class of shares

    • All partners

Compliance — maintaining your licence

Once a Winery Licence has been issued, the licensee is responsible for operating their business responsibly and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and standards and requirements established by the Registrar. Among other requirements, licensees will be subject to the following:

  • The Liquor Licence and Control Act (LLCA), its regulations and standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

  • Regular renewal of the licence:  Licensees may select a two- or four-year term duration, with fees payable to match the length of the term. As a courtesy, licensees will be sent a renewal notice approximately 60 days prior to the expiry date shown on the licence. However, it remains the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the licence is renewed on time.

  • Periodic inspections by AGCO Inspectors: All premises used by the licensee in relation to the licence may be inspected by AGCO Inspectors for compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act, its regulations and the standards and requirements established by the Registrar. You must allow AGCO Inspectors unobstructed access to your business and you must facilitate their inspections.

  • Audit: Audits include inspection and implementation of production controls and compliance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

  • Wine Taxes: Wine and wine cooler manufacturers will collect the wine taxes and remit them to the Ministry of Finance on a monthly basis. For additional information, please contact the Ministry of Finance. Contact information can be found in the liquor stakeholder contact list.

  • Any conditions attached to the licence.

  • Mandatory Staff/Server Training: As required by the standards and requirements established by the Registrar, persons involved in the sale, service, delivery or sampling of liquor, or who are involved in taking orders for liquor from customers must successfully complete a server training course approved by the Board of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the “Board”) and hold a valid certificate. The Board has approved the Smart Serve® Training Program. Please visit www.smartserve.ca for more information. 

Changes requiring a transfer of a licence

All Winery Licences are issued to individuals, business partnerships or corporations, for operation at a specific location. The licensee is responsible for the ongoing operation of the licence.

A transfer of the licence is required if there is a prescribed change of ownership of a business carried on under a licence or if the licensee changes, or if a different person wishes to acquire the licence.

Prescribed Changes in ownership requiring a transfer:

  1. An individual becomes or ceases to be an officer or director of,

    1. a licensee that is a corporation, or

    2. a corporation that effectively controls the activities authorized under the licence.

  2. A person becomes or ceases to be a partner of a licensee that is a partnership.

  3. A person or partnership acquires a beneficial interest in the licensed business, including acquiring shares of a licensee that is a corporation or of a corporation that effectively controls the business, that results in the person or partnership holding or controlling 10 per cent or more of the outstanding shares, or of a class of shares, of the corporation.

  4. A person or partnership other than the licensee becomes entitled to any of the profits from the sale of liquor or liable for any obligations incurred from the activities authorized under the licence.

In cases where an individual ceases to be an officer or director of a corporate licensee or a partner ceases to be a partner in a partnership that is a licensee, if the licensee gives the Registrar notice of the change within 30 days after the change occurs, the licensee may continue to engage in activities authorized under the licence without requiring a licence transfer.

Transfer to a Different Person

A manufacturer’s licence is eligible to be transferred to a different person, provided the regulatory requirements are met.

The Registrar may also transfer manufacturer’s licence for a period of not more than one year, when:

  • A trustee in bankruptcy or court-appointed receiver acquires the business of the licensee

  • A mortgagee, franchisor, landlord, or executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased licensee takes possession of the licensed premises.

The Registrar may develop a simplified application process for the transfer of a manufacturer’s licence in the following circumstances if the principal individuals involved in the licensed business remain the same after the change occurs:

  1. The licence transfers between a sole proprietorship and a corporation.

  2. The licence transfers between a partnership and a corporation.

  3. The licence transfers from a partnership to a sole proprietorship.

  4. The licence transfers from one corporation to another corporation.

  5. Two or more corporations amalgamate into a single corporation and a licence from one of those corporations transfers to the amalgamated corporation.

A transfer will not be approved, in most instances, if the current licensee has an outstanding monetary penalty or if the recipient of the transfer would not be eligible to be issued a licence.

The business trade (operating) name may have to be registered under the Business Names Act. Also note that corporations must file updated information with respect to officers and directors of a corporation with the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch on a regular basis. Please see the Ontario.ca Central Forms Repository. Forms must be forwarded to the Companies and Personal Property Security Branch for processing.

How to transfer a Licence?

Applications to transfer your Licence can be completed online via the iAGCO portal.

Please note:

  • The entity to whom the licence is being transferred TO is responsible for submitting the application to transfer the licence.

  • The application must include a signed Consent to Transfer, signed by the current Licensee(s).

Supporting Documents

What supporting documents/information are needed to transfer a licence?

When applying to transfer a Winery Licence, you must provide the same documents and information as when applying for a new licence.

In addition, the following must be provided:

  • Confirmation of Sale: Transfer applicants must submit written confirmation signed by the vendor, a lawyer or an accountant, that the sale of the business or shares has been completed.

Other Notes for Transfer Applicants

Should the transfer application be approved, a licence shall be issued to the new owners with the expiry date of the original licence.

Transfer applicants must check the expiry date of the existing licence to ensure that the licence will not expire during the time it takes to process the transfer application.

Renewing a Winery Licence

Winery Licences are valid for a period of two or four years. As a courtesy, licensees will be sent a renewal notice approximately 60 days prior to the expiry date shown on the licence. However, it remains the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the licence is renewed on time.

You can apply to renew your Winery Licence online through the iAGCO portal.

Your renewal application will not be accepted if there has been a change of ownership that has not been previously reported to the AGCO. If there has been a change of ownership, you must complete an application to transfer your licence and submit it to the AGCO (please see Changes Requiring Transfer of a Licence).

Your renewal application must be received by the AGCO on or before the expiry date on your Winery Licence.

If your renewal application is not received by the expiry date on your licence, your licence will expire and you can no longer sell or serve liquor.

Section 4: By-the-Glass Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a By-the-Glass Endorsement?

A By-the-Glass Endorsement allows eligible Ontario wineries with a Winery Licence to sell and serve their products for consumption in areas that are under sole control of licensee that are located on or immediately adjacent to the production site where the sale is primarily aimed at promoting the manufacturer’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

Things to know before you apply

Eligibility Criteria

Only Ontario wineries which hold a Winery Licence are eligible for this endorsement.

Operational Restrictions

A winery that holds a By-the-Glass Endorsement to their Winery Licence is only permitted to sell and serve the wine which it has manufactured.

With the exception of areas such as public roads, thoroughfares, driveways and parking lots, or in other areas that may raise public safety concerns, any area that is on or immediately adjacent to a manufacturing site and under the sole control of the manufacturer is eligible to be licensed as a premises for the sale, service and consumption of wine under a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Guests are allowed to carry and consume wine purchased under the By-the-Glass Endorsement or at the tied house on the production site in areas that are under the sole control of the manufacturer and covered by either the Liquor Sales Licence (for the tied house) or By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Note: A wine production site may have both a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house and a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Patrons are permitted to move freely between the licensed areas with their beverages. However, licensees must ensure adherence to rules regarding the permissible hours of sale for each licence type and other requirements relating to the sale and service of liquor at multiple premises.

Permissible hours under a By-the-Glass Endorsement may not be extended.

Sale of Wine from a Retail Store

If a manufacturer has a retail store on the production site, the licensee may bring sealed, unopened liquor purchased from the retail store onto the licensed premises for the purposes of selling it to a patron. This allows patrons that wish to purchase product for personal use from the retail store to pay for the product on their bill in the licensed premises or by-the-glass area .

Applying for a By-the-Glass Endorsement

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply for a By-the-Glass Endorsement?

When applying for a By-the-Glass Endorsement via iAGCO, you will be asked to provide the following as part of your application. These items can be provided to the AGCO at any time during the application process:

  • Site plan of the property: The site plan of the property must outline in red the area(s) in which the manufacturer is applying to have the sale, service and consumption of its product(s) take place. The area(s) must be under the sole control of the manufacturer and located on or immediately adjacent to the production site of the applicant.

  • Municipal resolution: Written notice from the council of the municipality within which the applicant’s production site is located confirming that it has passed a resolution in support of the issuance of the endorsement to the licence.

Transferring a Winery Licence with a By-the-Glass Endorsement

An endorsement can only be transferred together with the licence to which it is attached. Transfers of By-the-Glass Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Winery Licence transfer application. Please see information above about transferring a Winery Licence.

Renewing a By-the-Glass Endorsement

By-the-Glass Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated.

How do I apply?

Renewals of By-the-Glass Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Manufacturer’s Licence renewal application which can be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Please see section on Renewing a Manufacturer’s Licence for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Temporary Extension of a By-the-Glass Area

Manufacturers who hold a By-the-Glass Endorsement may apply for a temporary extension of their licensed premises (for a special event or occasion) if the extension is adjacent to the areas under the By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Important Update: To support businesses as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and if permitted to open for on-site consumption, holders of a By-the-Glass Endorsement may temporarily extend or add a temporary physical extension of their licensed premises until 3:00 a.m. on January 1, 2023. For more information about the requirements please see the AGCO’s 2021-22 patio policy.

If eligible for the temporary extension noted above, the licensee is not required to submit an application to the AGCO or follow the process outlined below.

If you do not meet the 2021-2022 criteria and still wish to apply for a temporary extension, please see below for more information on how to apply.

Licensees holding a By-the-Glass Endorsement may submit an application to the AGCO through iAGCO to temporarily extend their existing licensed premises to an adjacent area (for instance to support a special event or occasion). The Registrar will consider temporary physical extensions and approve the duration of the temporary extension on a case-by-case basis. The application, including all supporting documentation, must be received thirty (30) days in advance of the temporary extension/event.

Section 4.1: Caterer’s Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2022-05-02

What is a Caterer’s Endorsement?

A Caterer’s Endorsement allows wineries that hold a By-the-Glass Endorsement to sell and serve their products at catered events at locations away from the manufacturer’s licensed premises.

The sale and service of liquor under a Caterer’s Endorsement must be primarily aimed at promoting the licensee’s product and either providing an enhanced tourist experience or fulfilling an educational purpose.

Things to know before you apply

Eligibility Criteria

Only Ontario wineries which hold a Winery Licence and a By-the-Glass Endorsement are eligible for this endorsement.

Manufacturers that hold more than one by-the-glass endorsement must apply for a separate caterer’s endorsement for each by-the-glass endorsement.

Note:

  • A manufacturer may hold both a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Winery Licence and a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Liquor Sales Licence (for a Tied House), but must comply with the requirements specific to each Caterer’s Endorsement.

  • For information on how to apply for a Liquor Sales Licence for a Tied House and associated endorsements, see the Liquor Sales Licence (Including Tied House) and Mini Bar Licence Guide Section 10.

Operational Restrictions

The holder of a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Winery Licence may sell and serve their liquor at an event held on premises other than the premises to which the By-the-Glass Endorsement applies. A Special Occasion Permit is not required.

  • The catered event must be sponsored by someone other than the licence holder and may not be more than ten (10) days in duration.

  • Liquor cannot be offered for sale at a series of events sponsored by the same person if as a result of doing so, the licence holder is or appears to be operating an ongoing business with the sponsor.

The licence holder is not permitted to promote or invite persons to attend a catered event where the licence holder is offering liquor for sale.

  • Liquor may not be sold at events held in a residence.

  • The licensee:

    • shall ensure that the location of the catered event complies with the requirements for licensed premises

    • must post a Sandy’s Law warning sign at the event.

  • Liquor must be offered for sale and served at the event under the supervision of the licensee or an employee.

  • Liquor not sold during a catered event must be returned to the licence holder’s stock.

Note: The permissible hours for the sale and service of liquor under a Caterer’s Endorsement to a Manufacturer’s Licence are the same as for a By-the-Glass Endorsement.

Catering Notification

Catering notification requirements vary, depending on where the individual event is being held.

Areas under the exclusive control of the licence holder:

Notification of an individual event is not required if the licence holder has provided the AGCO with prior notice (e.g. in the endorsement application) of its intention to cater an event in an area under the licence holder’s exclusive control .

NOTE: AN AREA MAY CONSIDERED TO BE UNDER THE EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OF THE LICENCE HOLDER IF THE LICENCE HOLDER OWNS, RENTS OR LEASES THE AREA.

Areas not under the exclusive control of the licence holder:

Notification of an individual event is required if the event is being held in an area not under the exclusive control of the licence holder.

At least ten (10) days before a catered event begins, the licence holder with a Caterer’s Endorsement must provide the AGCO (via an iAGCO regulatory submission), the local police, fire, health and building departments with details on:

  • The nature of the event and the name of the sponsor

  • The address where the event will be held

  • The dates and hours during which the event will be held

  • The estimated attendance for the event

  • The boundaries of the area where liquor will be sold and served.

To notify the AGCO of your catering event, you must make a Regulatory Submission on the iAGCO online portal:

  • Select Catering Notification - Licensee with By-the-Glass.

  • Follow the steps as instructed.

Note: You will be required to provide information on the person/entity sponsoring the event.

Applying for a Caterer’s Endorsement

How do I apply?

To apply for a Caterer’s Endorsement, you must add a secondary licence:

  • In the iAGCO portal, a new secondary licence will be available for new, amendment, and renewal applications via “Add a Secondary”.

  • Click on the button to Add Secondary.

  • Select Caterer’s Endorsement - Licensee with By-the Glass.

  • Follow the steps as instructed.

What supporting documents/information are needed to apply online for a Caterer’s Endorsement?

When applying for a Caterer’s Endorsement via the iAGCO online portal, you will be asked to provide the following information as part of your application:

  • List of premise(s) to which the licence holder will be catering that are under the licensee’s exclusive control (if applicable).

Transferring a Winery Licence with a Caterer’s Endorsement

An endorsement can only be transferred together with the licence to which it is attached. Transfers of Caterer’s Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Winery Licence transfer application. Please see information in Section 3 on How to transfer a Licence.

Renewing a Caterer’s Endorsement

Caterer’s Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated.

How do I apply?

Renewals of Caterer’s Endorsements will be processed at the same time as the corresponding Manufacturer’s Licence renewal application which can be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Please see information in Section 3 on Renewing a Winery Licence for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Section 5: Liquor Sales Licence for a Tied House

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

A tied house is a restaurant/establishment located at the same municipal or property address of a winery’s production site, where the manufacturer’s products may be “showcased” on their own or in conjunction with other brands and types of liquor. The licensed establishment is not required to sell a variety of brands of liquor, but may do so if they choose . Please see the Liquor Sales Licence (Including Tied House) and Mini Bar Licence Guide for information about how to apply for a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house.

Sale of Wine from a Retail Store

If a manufacturer has a retail store on the production site and there is a tied house that shares municipal or property address with the production site, the licensee may bring sealed, unopened liquor purchased from the retail store onto the licensed premises for the purposes of selling it to a patron. This allows restaurant patrons that wish to purchase product for future personal use from the retail store to pay for the product on their restaurant bill.

Note: A winery production site may have both a Liquor Sales Licence for a tied house and a By-the-Glass Endorsement. Patrons are permitted to move freely between the licensed areas with their beverages. However, licensees must ensure adherence to rules regarding the permissible hours of sale for each licence type and other requirements relating to the sale and service of liquor at multiple premises.

See Hours for Sale, Service and Delivery of Liquor on the AGCO’s website.

Section 6: Winery Retail Stores

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

The Registrar may authorize a manufacturer of Ontario wine to operate a store for the retail sale of wine made by that manufacturer.

Generally, all wine sold in a winery retail store must be made by the manufacturer that holds the winery retail store endorsement or licence, as applicable (see below for types of winery retail stores). The wine sold must also comply with specific requirements regarding Ontario content, as set out in the Liquor Licence and Control Act and its regulations. Additional requirements may apply, depending upon the type of retail store or the type of wine to be sold.

Types of Winery Retail Stores

A Winery Retail Store Endorsement to a Winery Licence allows a winery to sell eligible wine at a retail store that is located at the production site of a winery.

An Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence allows a winery to sell eligible wine at a retail store that is not required to be located at the winery’s production site.

A winery with an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence may be eligible for a Wine Boutique Endorsement to operate a winery retail store located inside the shopping area of an eligible grocery store.

More information about these types of winery retail stores and associated endorsements is provided in Section 7: Winery Retail Store Endorsement and Section 10: Off-Site Winery Retail Stores and Wine Boutiques.

Section 7: Winery Retail Store Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a Winery Retail Store Endorsement?

A Winery Retail Store Endorsement authorizes a winery to sell its wine at any location on the licensee’s production site from a retail store on the production site.

A Winery Retail Store Endorsement may be in one or more of the following subclasses:

  1. Grape winery retail store.

  2. Fruit winery retail store.

  3. Maple winery retail store.

  4. Honey winery retail store.

  5. Sake (rice wine) retail store.

To be eligible for a Winery Retail Store Endorsement a winery must hold a valid Manufacturer’s Licence – Winery from the AGCO and the winery must exercise substantial ownership and control over the production site where the retail store is located. Where the production site is owned and controlled by more than one licensed manufacturer, the winery must demonstrate to the Registrar that it meets this requirement.

Where more than one retail store is located at the same production site, each licensed manufacturer must own and operate their own retail store and the store must be readily distinguishable from any other authorized retail store located at the same production site. Sales from more than one store may not be conducted in the same location.

Wineries may hold more than one Winery Retail Store Endorsement and operate more than one winery retail store, provided that each store is located at a production site of the manufacturer and the wine to be sold at each store complies with the requirements.

Eligibility for Winery Retail Store Endorsement Subclass and Wine(s) that May be Sold

Generally, a winery may sell the type(s) of wine authorized by the Registrar, in accordance with the endorsement subclass. All wine sold in a winery retail store must be made by the manufacturer that holds the Winery Retail Store Endorsement. The wine sold must also comply with specific requirements regarding Ontario content as set out in the Liquor Licence and Control Act and regulations.

Requirements and information specific to each subclass are set out below.

Grape winery retail store subclass

  • The production site where the retail store is located must contain at least five acres of planted grapes, unless the retail store has been operating since before January 1, 1993.

  • Under this subclass, a winery may sell:

    • Wine made from grapes that has been made by the manufacturer, in accordance with the requirements set out below.

    • Wine authorized under all other subclasses

    • Wine manufactured using imported grape or grape product that contains at least 25% Ontario grape content in each bottle, commonly referred to as International Canadian Blend (ICB) or International Domestic Blend (IDB) wine.

Fruit winery retail store subclass

  • The production site where the retail store is located contains at least five acres of planted fruit other than grapes, except if the wine the winery produces is cider made from apples or pears. For greater clarity:

    • if the wine the winery produces is cider made from apples or pears, the winery is not required to have five acres of planted fruit other than grapes; and;

    • if the wine the winery produces is made from apples or pears and is not cider, the winery is required to have at least five acres of planted fruit other than grapes.

  • The licensee must produce a minimum of 80% of its total wine production from fruit (not including grapes).

  • Under this subclass, a winery may sell:

    • Wine made from fruit other than grapes that has been made by the manufacturer, in accordance with the requirements set out below.

    • Wine authorized under all other subclasses.

Maple winery retail store subclass

  • The production site where the retail store is located contains at least five acres of land planted with sugar maple bush.

  • The licensee must produce a minimum of 80% of its total wine production from maple syrup.

  • Under this subclass, a winery may sell:

    • Wine made from maple syrup that has been made by the manufacturer, in accordance with the requirements set out below.

    • Wine authorized under all other subclasses.

Honey winery retail store subclass

  • The licensee owns or leases and operates at least 100 bee colonies and possesses a valid certificate of registration issued by the Provincial Apiarist under the Bees Act.

  • The winery retail store is located at the winery’s main manufacturing plant where some honey extraction takes place.

  • Under this subclass, a winery may sell:

    • Wine made from honey that has been made by the manufacturer, in accordance with the requirements set out below.

Sake retail store subclass

  • Under this subclass, a winery may sell:

    • Sake (rice wine) made by the manufacturer, in accordance with the requirements set out below.

Made” Requirements

To be considered made by the manufacturer, a winery must meet the requirements set out below. Wineries may also sell wine at a retail store that has been produced at another production site owned by the winery, provided that the other production site also has a retail store, and the wine sold complies with the requirements set out below.

Criteria for all types of wine:

  • The licensee must carry out the full primary fermentation process with respect to at least 25 per cent of the total volume of wine sold by the licensee.

Additional Criteria for grape, fruit, maple and honey wine:

  • The wine sold at the retail store, must meet the following conditions:

    • The licensee must carry out the full primary fermentation process at the production site with respect to at least 25 per cent of the total volume of wine sold at the retail store, which requires,

      • all aspects of the process to occur at the production site, and

      • the relevant fermentation vessels to at all times be physically present at the production site, and

    • the licensee must also carry out at least one of the following steps, in full, at a production site where one of the licensee’s winery retail stores is located, with respect to the entire content of each bottle of wine the licensee sells at its winery retail stores:

      • Primary fermentation.

      • Blending.

      • Barrel aging for at least three months.

      • Bulk aging for at least three months.

      • In the case of sparkling wine, secondary fermentation or artificial carbonation, as applicable.

      • In the case of fortified wine, flavouring.

Additional criteria for Sake:

  • The licensee must,

    • Perform the full sake-making process, including all steps set below, at the production site where the retail store is located for at least 25 per cent of the total volume of sake sold at the store, and

    • Perform the full sake-making process, including all steps set out below, at a production site where one of the licensee’s winery retail stores is located for the remaining volume of sake sold at the store.

    • The required steps are:

      • Rice milling.

      • Rice washing.

      • Rice steeping.

      • Rice steaming.

      • Koji making.

      • Fermentation.

      • Filtration.

      • Pasteurization.

*The year in the “made” policy and the harvest year spans September 1st to the 31st of August of the following year.

Gift or Souvenir Packages Which May Be Sold in Winery Retail Stores

While wine sold in a winery retail store must generally be made by the manufacturer that holds the Winery Retail Store Endorsement, a winery may sell other wine if it is part of a souvenir or gift package that is approved by the Registrar.

Requests for approval must be made in writing to the Registrar.

The Registrar’s decision to grant or deny approval are made subject to the following conditions:

  1. Only one type of gift or souvenir package may be sold in all of the Winery Retail Stores at any given time.

  2. In addition to the manufacturer’s own wine, the gift or souvenir package may contain wine made by no more than two (2) other Ontario wine manufacturers.

  3. The gift or souvenir package shall contain no more than two (2) bottles of each of the other Ontario wine manufacturers’ wines, and each bottle shall contain no more than 1.5 litres.

  4. The volume of each of the other manufacturers’ wines may not exceed the volume of the manufacturer’s own wine.

  5. The gift or souvenir package may contain no more than four (4) bottles of wine and at no time may the total volume of the gift pack exceed six (6) litres.

  6. The Ontario wine made by the other manufacturer(s) must be 100% Ontario wine in accordance with the definition of Ontario wine under the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

  7. The gift or souvenir package must contain wine made by the manufacturer selling the package and such wine must have been made in accordance with the Liquor Licence and Control Act and the regulations thereunder.

  8. The gift or souvenir package must be marketed, assembled, displayed, priced and sold as a single selling unit.

  9. The manufacturer shall notify the Registrar in writing when it ceases to sell the approved gift pack. On receipt of such notice by the Registrar, the manufacturer’s approval to sell the gift pack shall become void.

Products Other Than Liquor Which May Be Sold

Manufacturers may sell some non-liquor products at a winery retail store operated under a Winery Retail Store Endorsement. The list of permissible items is set out in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

Things to know before applying for a Winery Retail Store Endorsement

General Eligibility Criteria

Generally, in order to be eligible for a Winery Retail Store Endorsement:

  • The applicant must be a winery with a valid Winery Licence issued by the Registrar.

  • The applicant must meet the requirements specific to the endorsement subclass.

  • The applicant must meet the requirements set out in the Liquor Licence and Control Act and its regulations.

Please note that the application process also includes a site inspection of the constructed retail store to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements have been met.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the holder of a retail store endorsement to ensure that it complies with all federal, provincial and municipal laws including municipal zoning by-laws/requirements.

Supporting documents

What supporting documents/information are needed for an Winery Retail Store Endorsement application?

When applying for a Winery Retail Store Endorsement via iAGCO, you will be asked to provide the following as part of your application. These items can be provided to the AGCO at any time during the application process:

  • completed Municipal Information for a Retail Store 

  • site plan detailing the production site and the proposed retail store location

  • floor plan of the proposed retail store including square footage

  • supplementary documentation demonstrating substantial ownership and control of the production site (if ownership and control of the production site shared with any other licensed manufacturer)

 

Renewing your Retail Store Endorsement

Retail Store Endorsements are valid for a period of two or four years and expire when the associated Manufacturer’s Licence expires or is terminated. As a courtesy, licensees will be sent a renewal notice approximately 60 days prior to the expiry date shown on the licence. However, it remains the licensee’s responsibility to ensure the licence is renewed on time.

To ensure your Retail Store Endorsement and Manufacturer’s Licence remain valid, please see the section on “Renewing a Manufacturer’s Licence” for instructions on completing the renewal application.

Moving your winery retail store to a new location

A winery must notify the Registrar if it moves its winery retail store to a new location on the same production site.

A winery must apply for a new Winery Retail Store Endorsement if it wants to move the winery retail store to a different production site of the winery, or if the winery wants to move both the production site and the winery retail store. Please note that the application process also includes a site inspection of the constructed retail store by an AGCO Compliance Official to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements have been met.

A winery retail store cannot be moved to a location away from the winery’s production site. It must remain located at a production site of the holder of the Retail Store Endorsement.

After the move, the winery retail store must continue to operate in accordance with all the requirements for a Winery Retail Store Endorsement, including the requirements noted above about the retail store location, production site and wines that may be sold in the store.

Transferring your Winery Retail Store Endorsement

A Winery Retail Store Endorsement can only be transferred together with the Winery Licence to which it is attached. Separate applications must be filed for the transfer of the Winery Retail Store Endorsement and for the transfer of the Winery Licence. These two applications will be reviewed concurrently.

Section 8: Temporary Extension Endorsement

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

What is a Temporary Extension Endorsement?

A Temporary Extension Endorsement allows wineries that hold a Winery Retail Store Endorsement to sell their 100% Ontario wine at a temporary extension of their winery retail store at:

  • A farmers’ market; and,

  • At an industry promotional event for which a Special Occasion Permit has been issued by the AGCO.

Under the Temporary Extension Endorsement, wineries may:

  • sell at a particular farmers’ market for no more than 3 days in any given week;

  • sell at a particular industry promotional event for no more than 10 consecutive days at a time.

Any unsold product from a farmers’ market or industry promotional event must be returned to the licensee’s retail store within 72 hours from the time the farmers’ market closes or the industry promotional event ends.

Things to know before applying

General Eligibility Criteria
Wineries that wish to participate in the program must:

  • have a valid AGCO Manufacturer’s Licence – Winery 

  • operate a winery retail store for which a Winery Retail Store Endorsement has been issued.

  • sell only eligible wine at a farmers’ market or industry promotional event. Wine is eligible to be sold if it is 100% Ontario wine. Ontario wine that is produced using any combination of the concentrated juice of apples that were not all grown in Ontario may not be sold under the Temporary Extension Endorsement.

Notification to AGCO of planned sales at Farmers’ Markets or Industry Promotional Events

Wineries with a Temporary Extension Endorsement must provide the AGCO with at least 10 days’ notice of planned sales at a Farmers’ Market (i.e., days of sale that have been confirmed with a Farmers’ Market) and at an industry promotional event.

If the intended days of sale are cancelled or changed, please notify the AGCO at the earliest possible opportunity.

In the case of planned sales at an industry promotional event, you will need to provide the number of the Special Occasion Permit that has been issued by the AGCO as part of the notification. The holder of the Permit may be a different person than the manufacturer selling under the Temporary Extension Endorsement.

There is no requirement for a Special Occasion Permit in conjunction with sales at a farmers’ market.

Notification to the AGCO of your planned sales can be submitted through the iAGCO portal.

The AGCO will notify you if any municipal objections have been received regarding any of the Farmers’ Markets or Industry Promotional Events where you intend to sell your eligible wine.

Section 9: Delivery from Manufacturer Retail Stores

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

Manufacturers that hold a Retail Store Endorsement may sell products from their retail store for delivery to the public. Delivery may be conducted by the licensee, their employees, another AGCO-licensed manufacturer that holds a Delivery Endorsement, under a Liquor Delivery Licence or by a carrier, in accordance with the requirements in Regulations 745/21 and 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act and in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

Manufacturers may not use warehouses located away from their production site to service or fulfill deliveries to consumers for products sold from their retail store. Products sold for delivery to customers from a retail store must be delivered from that retail store.

Delivery by the Holder of Liquor Delivery Licence

Liquor sold at a winery retail store may also be delivered by the holder of a Liquor Delivery Service Licence or its employees or contractors.

Wineries may enter into a non-exclusive agreement with liquor delivery service licensees to facilitate or promote the purchase and delivery of liquor from the winery’s retail store. These agreements cannot restrict a liquor delivery licensee or manufacturer from entering into further agreements with other manufacturers.

Delivery by carrier

Wineries may use a carrier to deliver wine sold at the winery’s retail store. The winery must ensure the carrier complies with the conditions for delivery set out in Regulation 745/21.

 

Delivery Endorsement

A winery that wishes to deliver liquor on behalf of another manufacturer from that manufacturer’s retail store must apply for a Delivery Endorsement. A manufacturer does not require a Delivery Endorsement to deliver its products from its own retail store.

Delivery must be conducted in accordance with the requirements set out in Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act and in the in the standards and requirements established by the Registrar.

The manufacturer that holds the Delivery Endorsement is not required to operate a retail store, but products being delivered under the endorsement must be sold from a manufacturer’s retail store. With the endorsement, a manufacturer can deliver any type of liquor (i.e. beer, wine or spirits) that is sold at the retail store.

Eligibility Criteria

Only manufacturers that hold a Winery Licence, Brewery Licence or Distillery Licence are eligible for the Delivery Endorsement. Only one endorsement is required per manufacturer.

Section 10: Off-Site Winery Retail Stores and Wine Boutiques

Last Updated: 
2021-11-29

An Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence allows a winery to sell eligible wine at a retail store that is not required to be located at the production site for the wine. A winery must hold a Manufacturer’s Licence – Winery to be eligible to hold an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence.

In accordance with Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, no new Offsite Winery Retail Store Licences may be issued. This Guide provides information to existing licensees about how to maintain their Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence.

A winery with an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence may be eligible for a Wine Boutique Endorsement to operate a winery retail store located inside the shopping area of an eligible grocery store.

Wine Boutique Endorsement

A wine boutique is a winery retail store that is located inside the shopping area of a grocery store that holds a Beer and Cider Grocery Store Licence.

An eligible winery that holds an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence may apply for a Wine Boutique Endorsement to sell, in addition to wine it has made, VQA wine that is manufactured by another winery that does not hold any Offsite Winery Retail Store Licences, or holds no more than 2 such licences.

The space in which the wine boutique is located must be readily distinguishable from the grocery store, and the name of the wine boutique must be prominently displayed in the boutique and must be distinct from the name of the grocery store.

A winery that has been issued a Wine Boutique Endorsement to sell wine in a wine boutique must begin to offer the wine for sale to the public under the endorsement within 12 months after being issued the endorsement, and must continue to offer the wine for sale in the boutique thereafter.

Things to know before applying

General Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Wine Boutique Endorsement

  • The applicant must be a winery with a valid Manufacturer’s Licence – Winery and hold at least 3 Offsite Winery Retail Store Licences.

  • The applicant must have entered into a wine boutique agreement with the holder of a Beer and Cider Grocery Store Licence with a Wine Boutique Sales Agent Endorsement, under which:

    • The winery agrees to lease or license space in the shopping area of the grocery store in which to sell wine.

    • The operator of the grocery store agrees to sell, as agent of the winery, wine that is available for sale to the public in the leased or licensed space.

    • The initial term of the lease or licence must be at least three years.

Moving an off-site winery retail store to a new location

If a winery with a Winery Offsite Retail Store Licence wishes to move its winery retail store to a different location, it must apply to the Registrar to transfer the Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence to the new location.

Things to know before applying

General Information

  • Once the transfer has been approved by the Registrar, the store being relocated must be open and operational in the new location within six months.

  • Please note that the application process also includes a site inspection of the constructed retail store by an AGCO Compliance Official to confirm that all eligibility criteria and requirements have been met.

Supporting documents

What supporting documents/information are needed for the transfer of an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence to a different location?

When applying to transfer an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence to a different location you will be asked to provide the following as part of your application. These items can be provided to the AGCO at any time during the application process:

  • completed “Municipal Information for a Retail Store Licence”

  • floor plan of the proposed retail store including square footage

Transferring an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence

The Registrar can only approve a transfer of an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence to a different person if the Registrar also approves the transfer of the Winery Licence associated with the Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence. Please contact the AGCO for more information on the process.

Offsite Winery Retail Stores located in host stores

In addition to the general requirements for an Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence, the following additional requirements apply to a winery retail store that is located within a host store (e.g. a grocery store that does not hold a Beer and Wine or Beer and Cider Licence), but that is not a wine boutique as defined in Regulation 746/21 under the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

  • The winery retail store must be self-contained and must be operated independently from the business of the host store and the business of any other party to whom the host store operator has leased space.

  • The winery which holds the Offsite Winery Retail Store Licence for the winery retail store must either own or lease the space occupied by the that store at all times.

  • The winery retail store must have a separate sales transaction system (e.g. cash register, point of sale terminal) from the host store and any other businesses in space leased from the host store.

  • The location and construction of the winery retail store must comply with the following:

    • The licensed premises of the winery retail store must be readily distinguishable from the host store any other businesses in space leased from the host store.

    • Where the host store is so constructed that its customers are required to pass through controlled entrances and exits (i.e. turnstiles and check-out counters) of the host store, then the winery retail store can only be situated in an area outside those controlled entrances and exits of the host store and not in the shopping area of the host store.

    • In circumstances where customers are not required to pass through controlled entrances and exits of the host store, the winery retail store must be situated near the entrance of the host store so that customers are not required to pass through the shopping area of the host store in order to reach the winery retail store.