The Grape Growers of Ontario welcome transitional support of $15 million over the next year to support small wineries, cideries and distilleries. The Ontario government is reviewing how to honour its pledge of making alcoholic beverages more widely available while respecting safe and responsible consumption. For its part, the industry wants to ensure that locally grown and crafted beverages are part of that broader distribution and not at the expense of imports.
The transition funding will extend support to the following initiatives:
- - The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Wine Support Program to help Ontario wineries increase competitiveness and innovation. The program supports wineries investing in growing their VQA wine business, including tourism development activities.
- - The Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.
- - Marketing, Tourism and Export Development; Performance Measurement and Research and Development Initiatives.
Ag minister Ernie Hardeman also announced that the government is making further changes to reduce red tape for the sector, making it easier for wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries to market their products:
- - Giving wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries with a "By the Glass" licence the flexibility to extend the allowed service hours from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m., seven days a week.
- - Allowing authorized wineries to sell their wine at farmers' markets and return unsold products to their on-site retail store within a 72-hour period. The previous 24-hour period forced wineries to bring products back and forth over the course of the weekend which made retailing at farmers' markets not economically viable.
Source: Gape Growers of Ontario September 27, 2019 news release