A big chunk of wine offered by Ontario wineries is a blend of local and imported, which comes under the classification of Cellared in Canada (CIC). True local wine bears the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) symbol. Pretty straightforward eh? Apparently not so. Lots of people donâ€™t grasp the distinction between the two classifications. And naturally this doesnâ€™t please producers of true local wine. The millions of dollars invested in educating the public about VQA has not worked as well as expected.
One Niagara producer, John Howard (Megalomaniac Wines) is attempting to clarify things by adding a â€˜100% Grown by Grape Growers of Ontarioâ€™ sticker to his wines. Thereâ€™s no education required to identify these wins as being truly local. But the Ontario industry is in a quandary having spend almost two decades developing and marketing VQA.
My suggestion is to incorporate Howardâ€™s wordage into the VQA symbol. Or just say â€˜100% Localâ€™. People want to know which wines are local without the need to know what VQA stands for.