Confused about Canadian Wines? Choose VQA.

TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Recent media coverage has highlighted the confusion some consumers have about wine labeling on domestic products and how to identify a wine made wholly from Ontario grown grapes. There are many wines in the marketplace competing for wine buyers' attention, but only wines with the VQA logo on their bottle are certified 100% Ontario content.

"It is important for consumers to know that all wines with VQA on the label are 100% Ontario grape content," said Ken Douglas, Chair of VQA Ontario. "We are concerned that recent press coverage that talks about foreign content in some wines that are blended in Ontario may leave consumers wondering about the content of VQA wines. VQA wines have never contained any foreign grape content, and every VQA wine label clearly states Ontario or the specific region in Ontario where the grapes for that wine were grown."

Douglas is pleased that consumers are showing strong support for local wines in difficult economic times. "Even when wine drinkers are reining in their spending, Ontario consumers are still supporting their local wines," he said. "Sales of VQA wines are up over the past year, bucking the trend in many other products and doing well compared to imported wines."

VQA regulations were put in place by the government of Ontario in 2000 to allow consumers to make an informed choice about the wine they buy - about its origin and how it was made. The VQA letters, in the form of a gold and black logo seen on the neck or label of the bottle, along with the reference to the appellation (the place of origin) on the label is your guarantee that it is an Ontario wine of origin. No other wines are permitted to state Ontario wine or Product of Ontario on the label.

More attention is being paid to food origin and transparent labeling, meaning that VQA's guarantee of truth-in-labeling and 100% local content is becoming more important when choosing a wine.

VQA Ontario regulates the production and labelling of 100% Ontario wines under provincial legislation. The law gives VQA Ontario authority to ensure truth-in-labelling for VQA wines and to prevent wines with foreign content from using specific terms on their labels like Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore or Prince Edward County. Wines labelled "Cellared in Canada" are not regulated by VQA Ontario.

VQA Ontario was established in 1999 as an independent agency and is a delegated authority of the Province of Ontario.

SOURCE VQA ONTARIO

For further information: For further information: Laurie Macdonald, VQA Ontario, (416) 367-2002, Laurie.macdonald@vqaontario.ca, www.vqaontario.ca; Ken Douglas, President and Chair, VQA, (905) 641-1900, ex.105

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