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Wine Coming to Grocery Stores Across Ontario

Government to Open up Wine Sales in 300 Locations, Starting with 70 this Fall

RICHMOND HILL – York Region MPPs Reza Moridi, Michael Chan, Steven Del Duca, Dr. Helena Jaczek and Chris Ballard are pleased to announce that Ontario is increasing choice and convenience for consumers and supporting wine producers by making wine available on the shelves of up to 300 independent and large grocery stores. Following the historic introduction of beer in grocery stores last December, 70 grocery stores across Ontario will be able to start selling wine, beer and cider this fall.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement yesterday as the government accepted the final recommendations from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, chaired by Ed Clark. These recommendations conclude the council’s review of the beverage alcohol sector.

Other key aspects of the recommendations include:

  • Allowing cider to be sold wherever beer is sold in grocery stores
  • Including fruit wines and craft cider in a program that allows Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Ontario wines to be sold at farmers’ markets
  • Reducing red tape and eliminating unnecessary regulations to increase opportunities and deliver cost savings for producers and their customers, including new opportunities for craft distillers.

Imported and domestic wines will be sold at up to 150 grocery stores. As well, up to 150 existing winery retail stores that are currently just outside a grocery store checkout will be permitted to operate their store inside that grocery store, with a shared checkout, and broaden their assortment to sell the wines of any Ontario producer. Ultimately, up to 300 grocery stores will sell beer, cider and wine.

Ontario is expanding access responsibly. As with beer, restrictions will apply to ensure safe and responsible retailing in grocery stores, including restricted hours of sale and rigorous training for staff. Ontario is also developing a comprehensive, province-wide alcohol policy to support the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol.

Giving consumers more choice and convenience while creating a more dynamic and competitive business environment for wine producers is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan is investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.

QUOTES

“In order to boost consumer convenience and choice, wine will be sold alongside beer in grocery stores for the first time in the history of our Province. Ontario’s producers are thriving in these emerging categories, and I am excited to see the success they can achieve when afforded wider market access. With locations in Richmond Hill, our residents will also experience convenience when purchasing wine, beer and cider this fall.”

Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill

“For the first time in our province’s history, wine will be sold alongside beer in grocery stores this coming fall. These changes will not only give consumers more convenience and choice when purchasing wine products, but help boost economic growth and preserve jobs in Ontario’s wine, agriculture and tourism sectors.”

Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan

“Ontario’s wine and cider producers, the farmers who support them, and consumers will all welcome this expansion of market access.  This good news will spur economic growth and preserve jobs in our province’s wine, agriculture and tourism sectors, while maintaining a strong commitment to social responsibility in the alcohol beverage sector.”

Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville

“Expanding the sales of wine in grocery stores is a positive step forward for Ontarians.   Consumers have more options and convenience for purchasing wine.  These sales support the stores and the wine industry.  This is the latest example of the Ontario government presenting practical solutions that benefit consumers, industry and business.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak-Ridges Markham

QUICK FACTS

  • The bidding and authorization processes will be similar to the beer in grocery store initiative. The first 70 of 150 universal wine and beer authorizations will be issued this fall, allowing grocers to sell wine, beer, cider and fruit wine.
  • Up to 150 existing winery retail stores will be permitted to operate their stores inside grocery stores with a shared checkout. These grocery stores will be authorized to sell any Ontario wine, as well as beer and cider.
  • To ensure fair representation of grocers and an equitable geographic distribution, the allocation criteria for wine will be similar to beer, with authorizations reserved for independent grocers and allocated across regions.
  • VQA wine sales in Ontario were $288 million in 2014-15, a 66 per cent increase since 2009. Ontario now has more than 240 wineries, and the industry has created 2,000 direct jobs.

    • Cider is one of the LCBO’s fastest-growing sales categories. Ontario craft cider sales rose by 89 per cent per year from 2011 to 2015.
    • All 60 grocery stores from the first Request for Bids for beer are now authorized. Many had beer on their shelves within a month.
  • Reducing red tape for businesses in the beverage alcohol sector is part of Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative, which is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale up and modernizing regulations for businesses.

LEARN MORE

Read the Council’s final report on wine and spirits
Reaction to Final Recommendations on Wine from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets

Wine, beer, cider and fruit wine sales in Ontario grocery stores

For more information, please contact:

Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville  905-305-1935

Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham  905-294-4931

Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill  905-884-8080

Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan  905-832-6630

Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora  905-750-0019

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