(May 1, 2014)

Effective May 1st, 2014, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO”) is administering a two-year pilot project to permit the sale of Vintners’ Quality Alliance (“VQA”) wine at Farmers’ Markets in Ontario.

In order to participate in the pilot program, a winery must hold a manufacturer’s licence from the AGCO, manufacture VQA wine, operate an on-site winery retail store and obtain an authorization from the AGCO to sell VQA wine at an occasional extension of its on-site winery retail store at Farmers’ Markets (“occasional extension”). Wineries will not be required to pay a fee for this authorization.

Once authorized to sell VQA wine at an occasional extension, wineries must provide the AGCO with at least 10 days’ notice of planned sales at Farmers’ Markets. The name and location of the Farmers’ Market, as well as the dates and the times of planned sales are required. As long as all necessary details are available, notification of the intention to sell at multiple locations and multiple dates can be provided to the AGCO on a single form.

Additional details of VQA wine sales at Farmer’s Markets include:

  • Only VQA wine may be sold at Farmers’ Markets. 
  • VQA wine may be sold during the hours of operation, but may be further limited by Farmers’ Markets.
  • Wineries may sell VQA wine at an occasional extension at any number of Farmers’ Markets.
  • Each authorized winery will be able to sell VQA wine up to three times a week at a particular Farmers’ Market.
  • Sampling is permitted but must be confined to the occasional extension.
  • VQA wine offered for sale at a Farmers’ Market must be transported from the winery’s on-site retail store to the Farmers’ Market each day and any unsold wine must be returned to the winery’s on-site retail store at the end of each day.
  • All staff involved in the sale of VQA wine at a Farmers’ Market must be certified by Smart Serve®.
  • Wine can only be sold at Farmers’ Markets that meet the definition provided in Regulation 720:

a central location at which a group of persons who operate stalls or other food premises meet to sell or offer for sale to consumers products that include, without being restricted to, farm products, baked goods and preserved foods, and at which a substantial number of the persons operating the stalls or other food premises are producers of farm products who are primarily selling or offering for sale their own products.

Note that the regulation does not authorize the establishment or operation of Farmers’ Markets at which all or a substantial number of the products sold or offered for sale are VQA wines.

  • Municipalities may prohibit the sale of VQA wine at Farmers’ Markets within their territory by providing a written objection to the Registrar of Alcohol and Gaming.
  • The AGCO will post a list of Farmers’ Markets where VQA wine will be sold on its website. This list will be updated on a weekly basis.
  • The AGCO will conduct inspections of VQA wine sales at Farmers’ Markets as required.

All sales and sampling at Farmers’ Markets are subject to applicable legislation, regulation and AGCO policy and procedures including the Registrar’s (1224) Sampling Guidelines for Liquor Manufacturers and (3168) Winery Retail Store Information Guide, available at .

For more information, email or call the AGCO’s Customer Service Department at 416 326-8700 (GTA) or 800 522-2876 (toll-free in Ontario).


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