Mar 16, 2018 - The Government has recently approved regulatory amendments aimed at encouraging investment and innovation in Ontario’s wine industry, while continuing to ensure the responsible sale and service of alcohol.

Expansion of Types of Wine Eligible to be Sold at Ontario Farmers’ Markets

The Government has recently approved amendments to Ontario Regulation 720 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) to permit additional types of wine to be sold at Ontario farmers’ markets.

Effective immediately, licensed manufacturers of honey wine and maple wine that operate an on-site retail store will be eligible to apply to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for an occasional extension of their on-site retail store in order to sell their 100% Ontario honey wine and 100% Ontario maple wine products at Ontario farmers’ markets, along with VQA wine and 100% Ontario fruit wine (including cider).

“Honey wine” and “maple wine” are defined as follows:

  •  “honey wine” means a wine described in clause (b) of the definition of “Ontario wine” in subsection 1(1) of the LLA, which is “wine produced by the alcoholic fermentation of Ontario honey, with or without the addition of caramel, natural botanical flavours or the distillate of Ontario honey wine”
  • “maple wine” means Ontario wine that is produced by the alcoholic fermentation of Ontario maple syrup or another Ontario maple product.

Since May 1, 2014, wineries producing VQA wines have been eligible to apply to the AGCO for an occasional extension of their on-site retail store to permit the winery to sell its VQA wines at farmers’ markets.  In May 2016, amendments to Regulation 720 under the LLA were made to expand the product selection at farmers’ markets to include 100% Ontario fruit wine (including cider).

Sale of International-Canadian Blend Wine at On-Site Winery Retail Stores

The Government of Ontario has approved changes to the Wine Content and Labelling Act (WCLA) that transferred to the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing (Registrar), the authority to supervise and control a manufacturer licensed under the LLA to keep for sale and sell wine manufactured using imported grapes or grape product.

In response to these regulatory changes, the AGCO is amending its policies, effective immediately, to permit all Ontario wineries that include International-Canadian Blend (ICB) wines as part of their total production mix to sell ICB wine at their on-site retail store, provided that they continue to comply with all other eligibility requirements for an on-site retail store.

ICB wine means wine manufactured using imported grape or grape product that contains at least 25% Ontario grape content in each bottle, as required by the WCLA.

Previously, all wineries were permitted to produce and sell ICB wines through the LCBO, but only retail stores in existence before 1993 were permitted to sell ICB wines at their retail store.

The sale of ICB wine at an on-site retail store must be done so in compliance with the AGCO’s “made” policy. Under the “made” policy, wine sold at an on-site retail store must be made by the manufacturer at the production site where the on-site retail store is located. For wine to be considered “made” at that production site, certain production steps must be carried out at the production site, as set out in the AGCO’s Winery Retail Store Information Guide.

Submit your questions online at iAGCO.

For more information contact:

AGCO Customer Service

Telephone: 416-326-8700

Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876

Email: customer.service@agco.ca

Additional Resources:

Winery Retail Store Information Guide

Manufacturers - Retail Store Authorization

Manufacturers - Sales at Farmers’ Markets

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