C.D. Howe report findings support Wine Council's model for private wine shops

"Pairs Perfectly" private wine shop proposal would complement LCBO and boost government revenue

VINELAND, ON, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The recently released report by the C.D. Howe Institute calling for major change in Ontario's alcohol retailing system agrees with the Wine Council of Ontario's position that lack of competition is resulting in less choice for consumers and reduced government revenues.

The Wine Council of Ontario has developed a model, based on substantial research, for the introduction of private wines shops in Ontario which would operate parallel to the LCBO. The "Pairs Perfectly" proposal, outlined on www.pairsperfectly.com, addresses all of the concerns raised in the Howe report with respect to consumer choice and maximizing government revenue to support priority public services.

"The C.D. Howe Institute is on the same page as the Wine Council of Ontario, in calling for greater choice and convenience for consumers. Our model offers the best solution for change in a way that delivers a win for all concerned – consumers, the LCBO and government – in a socially responsible manner," said Allan Schmidt, Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario.

The "Pairs Perfectly" model envisions a network of privately operated wine shops across the province which would be retail customers of the LCBO's wholesale distribution arm, similar to the beverage alcohol system in British Columbia.

"We will continue to urge the Ontario government to work with us to modernize and improve retail opportunities for Ontarians to better be able to enjoy the products of our province's outstanding wine regions," Schmidt said.

"Consumers have been clear with us. They want change in the way wine is sold in Ontario, but they want to see it done in a way that is complementary to the LCBO and we agree. Ontarians deserve the opportunity to have additional selection and the kind of shopping experiences that residents of other provinces enjoy."

The Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) is the champion of Ontario's high quality, authentically local Vintner's Quality Alliance (VQA) wines and of promoting wine country as a destination. As a non-profit trade association, WCO represents 87 wineries from across the designated viticulture areas of the province: Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore. Our members are grape growers, manufacturers and leaders in tourism in their communities. We are the future of Ontario's wine industry, which is a source of new investment, jobs and award-winning wines. The Wine Council of Ontario's role is to promote Ontario VQA wines and vintners, support the production of excellent local wines valued at home and abroad, and build on the substantial economic benefits that the VQA wine industry brings to the province. Authentically local VQA wine is made without imported grapes. The Wine Council of Ontario promotes the unique qualities of Ontario's locally grown wines through the consumer facing brand Wine Country Ontario.

SOURCE Wine Council of Ontario

For further information: Magdalena Kaiser, Cell: 905-246-1922, magdalena@winesofontario.org