Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ya gotta keep 'em separated

So here's me strolling in to the LCBO and poking around in the Ontario section, looking for a few bottles to bring to Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. I don't know if you've seen them, but the "Cellared in Canada" signs are now lettered in white on a bright red background. Kinda hard to miss, so I'll give them props for that.

Then I see a "VQA" sign done up in the same white-on-red motif. Over a shelf that *maybe* has a dozen bottles of true VQA, but is mostly stocked with Maria Christina wine-in-a-box and other similar CIC aberrations. WTF???? Is it so hard for LCBO staff to keep the two apart? And I'm not making mountains out of molehills, here. This wasn't just a case of the VQA and CIC sections being side-by-side, no, we're talking completely non-VQA, international blends taking up precious real estate under the VQA banner.

No wonder the public is so confused.

On the bright side of things, MP Kim Craitor sent an open letter to Ted McKeen, Ontario Minister for Consumer Services, calling for changes to government policy regarding the province's wine industry. The letter addresses everything from the CIC issue to the over 9,000 tonnes of local fruit that will likely remain unsold at the end of this harvest. Way to go, Craitor.

And in response to public outcry, Hillary Dawson, president of the Wine Council of Ontario, has been inviting members of the industry and the media to join the Council's Industry Working Group on Label Clarity. (Mind you, I *still* haven't received MY invite.)


  1. It's funny you should post that. I was at a blending event at Hillebrand on Sunday and someone in the group asked about CIC. I chimed in with EXACTLY the same thing you posted here.

    One thing the Hillebrand employee raised was the fact that a lot of local growers in Niagara can't sell their grapes at prices they need to in order to sustain their business.

    I did laugh at one roadside sign that read: FRENCH HYBRID GRAPES FOR SALE.

    Congrats on your shout out in this month's NCSG newsletter!

  2. Some VICTORY... how many grape growers will go bankrupt by the time any of the 'legislation' is in place. And how much difference will 40% Ontario content make over 30%. With CICs making 5 times the revenue of VQAs the bureaucracy is moving at a turtle's pace. The WCO manifesto 'Poised for Greatness' reads like a narcissist's novel. Am I being too cynical? Ww

  3. Regarding the legislation, don't pop the VQA-designated sparkling wine yet. Just because new regulations have been introduced doesn't mean that they won't be de-fanged, survive intact (if passed at all) or be implemented properly. At least its on the agenda, though!

  4. Her letter might have had more impact had it been grammatically correct... sigh.


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