Ontario VQA Restaurants soar in numbers



    Celebrate Ontario Wine Week with Local Wines

    TORONTO, June 16 /CNW/ - Ontario Wine Week began today with the
announcement of a record 120 VQA Restaurant Award recipients and Ontario wine
sales topping more than $500 million for the first time.
    "It has been an incredible year for the Ontario wine industry and that is
certainly reflected in the growing support from our restaurants as well as the
increase in sales of our premium wine," said Norm Beal, Chair of the Wine
Council of Ontario (WCO).
    Ontario Wine Week, officially designated as the third week in June, also
marked the release of the WCO's Year in Review which reports on the previous
year's activities and sales trends.
    The newly released figures indicated that VQA sales have jumped to
$160 million up from $128 million the previous year and generated $283 million
in revenue for taxpayers.
    The year's activities were highlighted by many successful activities
including our annual VQA Restaurant Awards. Each year, the WCO accepts
applications from restaurants to be considered for an award for their
representation of Ontario VQA wine. Last year, 91 restaurants received the
award.
    This year the WCO met its goal of recognizing 120 restaurants. Award of
Excellence recipients benefit from free promotional opportunities and receive
a framed certificate to display at their restaurant. This year, 32 restaurants
received Gold status, which means the restaurant's wine list represents at
least 75 per cent VQA wines. This is up from last year's 27 Gold recipients.
    This year, St.Catharines MPP Jim Bradley launched an MPP Challenge to
encourage his colleagues to seek out restaurants that prominently feature VQA
wines and let them know about the opportunity to apply. Niagara Falls MPP Kim
Craitor won for having the most VQA Restaurant submissions in his riding (19)
while Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese won for having the most new
submissions (four). Honorable mentions went following MPP's: Jim Bradley, St.
Catharines; Leona Dombrowsky, Prince Edward-Hastings; Tim Hudak, Niagara
West-Glanbrook; Bruce Crozier, Essex; Kevin Flynn, Oakville; Bob Runciman,
Leeds-Grenville; and Carol Mitchell, Huron-Bruce.
    "Congratulations to Ontario's winemakers for reaching the half-billion
dollar level of sales for the first time," said Mr. Bradley. "More and more
restaurants and wine lovers are recognizing the great quality that our
wineries are achieving."
    Also this year, the WCO has launched an award to recognize industry
supporters and public sector champions that have demonstrated an outstanding
level of effort in support of the Ontario wine industry. This year, LCBO
Senior Vice-President Bob Downey and Essex MPP Bruce Crozier were named as the
recipients of this first year of this award.
    "The WCO is very appreciative our MPPs and our award winners for their
support," added Beal.
    Log on to www.winesofontario.org/vqawinners for our list of VQA
Restaurant Award winners.

    The Wine Council of Ontario is a non-profit trade association that
represents Ontario's four wine regions - Niagara Peninsula, Pelee Island, Lake
Erie North Shore and Prince Edward Country. These regions grow 75 per cent of
the grapes used in Canadian wine production.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Sherri Haigh, Director of Public
Relations, Wine Council of Ontario, (905) 684-8070 ext. 228,
sherri.haigh@winesofontario.ca

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Wine Council of Ontario

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