Additional Retail Access and Level Playing Field are Critical

VINELAND, ON – Today the Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) learned of the coming changes to Ontario’s beer retail system, as reported by the Toronto Star.

“We applaud these changes in the interests of consumer choice, leveling of the domestic playing field and creating more opportunity in Ontario’s alcohol retail system”, said Richard Linley, President of the WCO. However, the WCO is disappointed that alcohol retail reforms will not yet include changes to Ontario’s wine retail structure. “We trust that the same diligence and attention to detail will be mirrored for Ontario’s VQA wine sector”, added Linley.

“We believe we can help put the right retail system in place, which would be good for provincial finances, Ontario’s VQA wine industry, consumers and all Ontarians – it would be a shame to miss the opportunities in front of us right now”.

Linley went on to state that “Ontario’s VQA wineries have seen tremendous growth over the last decade, including through the last several years of hard economic times. We want to build on that success. We want to grow and innovate in order to compete in our global economy. We believe that Ontario could see more than $1B in additional revenues from wine retail reforms. An increase in VQA sales by 10% through additional retail channels would see increased grape acreage production of about 1500 acres”.

WCO continues to support the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets and its objectives to:

  • Retain the value of our current beverage alcohol system while improving customer choice;
  • Increase access in a limited way and give taxpayers a fairer share of the benefits of the system;
  • Improve profitability, but in a way that is socially responsible;
  • Allow for more innovation without destroying the benefits of the current structure;
  • Add competition to the Ontario wine sector while addressing a fairness issue, particularly for Ontario VQA wineries.

The OCW leads the growth and profitability of Ontario’s respected VQA wine sector – through strategic partnership and authoritative trusted advocacy. As a non-profit trade association, the OCW represents over 100 wineries from across the three designated viticultural areas of the province (Niagara, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore – including Pelee Island) as well as emerging wine producing regions such as Ontario’s South Coast and Georgian Bay/Grey County. OCW members are independently owned small and medium sized businesses – grape growers, manufacturers and leaders in tourism in their communities. Our members are the future of Ontario’s wine industry which is a source of new investment, jobs and award-winning wines.

For more information, please contact: | 905 562 8070 ext. 225

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