VQAO News — February 2018

In this issue:

  • Time to renew your VQA Ontario membership
  • LCBO new payment procedures do not encompass VQA fees
  • Online security alert
  • Enhancements to VQA services online platform
  • Calling all winemakers – who wants to host a winemakers' forum?
  • Icewine grape registration – enter your harvest information
  • Wine Council introduces their first annual Ontario craft wine conference and trade show
  • VQA wine research project – can you help us by providing samples?

Read more for the full issue of the February 2018 VQAO News.


Please renew your winery’s VQA membership by March 31 by logging into VQA Services https://office.vqaontario.ca/vqaservices. Once logged in, you will see a notification indicating VQA Membership registration renewals are now being accepted for 2018/2019. Click on the specified link to navigate to the "Renewal" tab under the Organization Profile section for your winery and follow the renewal instructions. Please make sure you follow up with a copy of your current manufacturer’s licence and a cheque dated April 1, 2018 for the fee payment.

Special note for those that operate more than one manufacturer’s licence issued by AGCO: Effective January 1, 2016, each manufacturer that uses VQA-regulated terms must have an individual membership in VQA Ontario. If you are a winery operating with more than one AGCO manufacturer’s license, don’t forget to renew all of your memberships or contact us to create additional ones if needed.


The LCBO notified wineries in November about new procedures for the LCBO’s Accounts Payable/Receivable department. As part of this initiative, LCBO has asked that all wineries consolidate their remittances to LCBO into one payment rather than sending separate amounts for container deposit and direct delivery sales etc. As you implement these procedures at your winery, it is important to note that the VQAO monthly sales reports and associated payments must still be made separately to VQA Ontario. Please forward this information to your accounting department.


It has come to our attention that a website is operating with the vqaontario.com domain name. This is not an authorized website of VQA Ontario and we have no association whatsoever with this website. VQA Ontario’s official website domain is vqaontario.ca. Any claim by the .com website to represent VQA or Ontario’s wine authority or to publish information or views endorsed by VQA Ontario is false. We are pursuing action to stop this website from impersonating VQA Ontario however this may take time to yield results. Wineries should pay particular attention to incoming emails to ensure they are not fraudulent requests for confidential information or for payments that might originate from the vqaontario.com domain. In particular – do not enter your login credentials into any suspicious login page or in response to an email from a .com address. Please call us if you are the target of any suspicious VQA email or observe any unusual activity.


Improvements are coming to VQA Services in the next few weeks.

Better traceability for audit purposes is being built into the VQA system. The Wine Transfer System, currently used for bulk winery to winery transfers will be expanded to include all transfers of registered Icewine juice. The current Icewine juice transfer feature embedded in the Icewine registration page will be gradually phased out. Going forward, all entities that handle, purchase or sell registered Icewine juice or wine will have to use a VQA login ID (VQA member or non-member) to record the transfer of Icewine components along the ownership chain to retain eligibility of the components to be used in Icewine. If you buy Icewine juice or Icewine from someone who is not the original grower, please forward this newsletter to them. They will have to register with us to retain the VQA eligibility of their product.

As a result of the transfer data upgrades, you will see some changes to the way that components of a wine are entered in the wine approval application.

•            For most wines, made from your grapes or purchased grapes, nothing will change.

•            For wines that include incoming bulk transfers, you will be asked for the transfer ID and volume used. The database will automatically fill in the varietal, vintage and brix information.

•            For wines that include wine previously approved by VQAO (under your licence but perhaps added into a new blend), you will be asked for the approval ID and volume used. The database will automatically fill in the varietal, vintage and brix information.

•            For Icewines, the form will be slightly more complex because both historical and current registration sources must be accommodated. You will see a menu of possible components, including IMS registrations that belong to you, those that you purchased, incoming transfers, previously approved wines and pre-2009 wines. Once you enter the information, the database will automatically fill in the varietal, vintage and brix information, and provide a summary statement of the content.

Upgrades to the "Invoices" page will also be made to build the platform needed to implement online payments. In this phase, a new feature will be added to allow wineries to enter the total monthly litres sold, upload the VQAO Monthly Sales Report and generate an invoice for the monthly sales fee owing. For now, this simply replaces emailing or mailing us the information but it will be required for future online payments. You will also notice that the invoice information has been removed from the Wine Approval Shipping Form and moved to a separate invoice that will now appear on the Invoice page.

We will post tips on the website with the changes and will also be here to help you – please call us if you need assistance using the new forms.


VQA Ontario wants to sponsor your next Winemakers’ Forum! This is a great opportunity to share your experiences/challenges with the 2017 vintage. If you would like to host a winemakers’ forum in the Niagara Region or Norfolk County and are just waiting for VQA Ontario to help you organize it, please contact Katherina Radcliffe at katherina.radcliffe@vqaontario.ca.



Don’t forget to record all of your harvest data when you harvest grapes for Icewine and late harvest and enter this information into VQA Ontario’s online Icewine registration system at https://office.vqaontario.ca/vqaservices. For each harvest batch, you will need to record the date, time, ambient temperature at harvest, actual (weighed) tonnes and the volume of juice. You will also need the brix reading as tested by McKibbon and Associates. More information can be found at http://www.vqaontario.ca/Regulations/Processes under the Late Harvest/Icewine tab.


•            Growing Success and Profit

•            Tuesday April 24, 2018

•            Beanfield Centre, Toronto ON

•            Early bird tickets available NOW at www.ontariocraftwineconference.ca



VQA Ontario is continuing its long-term research project to increase our knowledge about VQA wines. The research will collect information on vineyard conditions and practices, winemaking techniques and the chemical and sensory attributes of the wines we make. The aim of the project is to better understand all the variables that affect VQA wines, how they relate to the wine in the glass and perhaps identify similarities and differences across our appellations.

We are looking for volunteer winemakers who would be willing to provide samples of specific wines (finished or almost finished) and answer some questions about the viticultural and winemaking practices that produced the wine. Specifically, the wine would be part of your normal commercial production, a single variety, single vintage, from a specific appellation (perhaps pre-blending), and you would be able to donate one case bottled, for future blending.

Over a multi-year period we hope to find out if there are common practices that have developed and see if there is any correlation to the physical conditions (soil, climate, etc.) and/or the character of the wine. Please rest assured that there is no desire to restrict your winemaking decisions or practices. Winemakers participating in the study will be encouraged to make the wines following their usual winemaking and commercial objectives. The samples should be reflective of what would be available to a consumer.

We have started with the core varieties of Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir, and hope to cover as many appellations as possible. If you are interested, you could provide any number of samples – e.g. the same varietal made by you from different appellations, or different varietals made from a single appellation.

Please contact Katherina Radcliffe at katherina.radcliffe@vqaontario.ca if you are willing to participate with a list of what you might be able to provide, including the variety and the vineyard location. We understand that the list might change with circumstances, so we are just looking for possibilities at this point. We will follow up and confirm later in the year.

We hope that the data collected from this project will help you to continue to make world class wine from Ontario’s appellations – and help us explain the special value that comes from their origin.