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Kurtis Kolt

Long time listener, first time caller. ; )

I'd like to point out that while both British Columbia and Ontario's VQA policies can use plenty of improvement, there is a big difference between how each province runs them. In Ontario, the whole winery is either VQA or not, where in BC a winery can have all, some, or no VQA wines. If you opt out of the program here in BC, your wines are just as valid. Some of our very best wineries ( http://www.BlueMountainWinery.com et al ) have nothing to do w/ the VQA process, hence no need to go up against a tasting panel. These wines still enjoy high sales, bag many awards and have solid distribution. No 'penalty' or anything like that.

"All wines of Canada must to go through a tasting panel," is simply untrue.


Kurtis Kolt

Kurtis Kolt

*Thanks for changing the copy to reflect that you were specifically talking about Ontario. : )

Liz Eller

Down with the LCBO!


And thank you KK, for pointing it out.


What Kurtis said is not quite right. Ontario wineries can have all, some, or no VQA wines just like in BC. If the winery wants the financial benefit associated with the VQA designation, then they submit the individual wines for VQA approval (which involves the tasting panel process).

Having just visited Pearl Morissette, I can attest that their wines are not typical, but phenomenal, raw expressions of what the region offers.


hello UncorkOntario, Yes, I believe that was inferred in my piece. You can have it or not, but if you don't, you lose the financial benefit. Appreciate your reading and comment!

Kurtis Kolt

Hey UncorkOntario,

Thanks for the clarification. 'Over There' is such a mystery. ; ) Can you clarify for me then why VQA Ontario refers to their wineries as "VQA Wineries" ( http://www.vqaontario.com/wineries ) as opposed to the BC version where it's just individual wines that get the designation. There's no such thing as a "VQA Winery" in BC, where as far as I understood - that *is* indeed the case in Ontario.


Hi Kurtis. I'm not an Ontario VQA expert, but my understanding is that in Ontario, membership in the VQA organization is required to produce VQA wines. They then refer to these eligible wineries as "VQA Wineries".

I'm not aware of all of the reasons why some wineries only choose specific wines to get VQA approval, but in some cases it is because the variety used does not qualify for VQA designation (they cover most vinifera but only 8 hybrids, IIRC). Some other wineries have purposely chosen to only send certain wines for VQA approval, perhaps because of some of the frustrations noted in the article.

@Alice - yes, your article was clear!


Gentlemen, I really don't see much difference between the two territories. From the BC VQA website,

"BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) is the appellation of origin and quality standard for the Wines of British Columbia. Established in 1990, BC VQA certified wines must meet specific standards with respect to origin, vintage and varietals. These wines are also tasted by a qualified panel for quality characteristics prior to being able to use the BC VQA designation. To put it simply, when you see BC VQA on a bottle, it is your guarantee that you’re sipping a wine that is 100% from British Columbia."

In other words, same ordeal.

Kurtis Kolt

Sure, but I guess besides the fact that Ontario has VQA-desginated wineries, and in BC there's no such thing, the relevant fact is that VQA remains voluntary regardless of province. So to say "All wines of Canada's Ontario must to go through a tasting panel." remains incorrect. It is 100% voluntary. The tasting panel is only if you're opting to join the VQA program which is not mandatory for quality, sales or success. You are correct, however, that you don't get the added bonus discount w/ BCLDB placement (and possibly LCBO), but there are various other sales channels, so you're not necessarily "penalized." Many of the wineries that don't go the VQA route here prefer to conduct business outside of the monopoly stores anyways.


In BC the wine have outlets forbidden to Ontario wine Industry, PRIVATE WINE STORES and DIRECT RESTAURANT SALES, so to be listed in Ontario and not just be farm gate eligible you seek VQA certification

Kurtis think about it, would Lock & Worth's funky Cab Franc Rose (you know the one with all the lees floating around in it) get a VQA approval? Do they need it ? No I sell 1-2 cases a week in the PRIVATE wine shop I work in and hear its almost all sold out.

I think Ms. Feiring really doesn't understand the issue and jumped on the wrong soap box........


Chilecopadevino, I would greatly appreciate your letting me know which soap box you thought was more relevant or where you think I got things wrong. Please, more details.


Mr. Kolt,

I quote:"I think Ms. Feiring really doesn't understand the issue and jumped on the wrong soap box........"

No mention or inference about you ;)

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