Wine Approval Application

Report
VQA Ontario
Niagara Peninsula
Lake Erie North Shore
Prince Edward County
Ontario’s appellation system
 Sets and enforces standards, including
labelling standards, for wines made from
Ontario grapes
 Administered by VQA Ontario under the
VQA Act and regulations
 Purpose is to verify origin and provide a
quality assurance mechanism easily
identifiable by consumers
 VQAO is a consumer protection agency
not a marketing collective
VQA Regulations
 Protects certain terms by restricting
their use
 Label integrity for consumers
 Protects/enhances reputation of regions
and industry-at-large
 Level playing field for wineries
Winery Obligations
 Making good quality wines
 Knowing and following the
regulations
 Internal process control
 Record keeping
 Fees
Regulated terms
 What terms do we regulate?
-
Niagara Peninsula
Prince Edward County
Lake Erie North Shore Ontario
Sub-appellation terms Blanc De Noirs
Meritage
Late Harvest Wine
Select/ Special Select Late Harvest Wine
Vin Du Cure
Icewine
Icewine Dosage
Dosage of Icewine
Sparkling Icewine
Estate Bottled
Vineyard
Botrytized
Botrytis Affected (B.A.) Totally Botrytized
Totally Botrytis Affected (T.B.A)
 What does this mean in practice?
• No use without approval, no variations, passing off
Labelling Rules
Scope of regulations
 The “labelling” rules apply to all use of
descriptors in association with the wine
 This includes your shelf talker, neck tag,
signage, advertising and website descriptions
– that refer to a specific wine
 Allows a general “we sell Icewine here”
sticker at your cash but definitely not an
Icewine sign in front of a display shelf with
only table wines on it
Mandatory Content
 Federal information:

alc./vol. - net contents - wine - Product
of Canada - legal name, address of dealer
– allergens (sulphites)
 VQA information:



Name of appellation
Vintage (except Sparkling, Fortified)
Others depend on wine category
Optional Content (category dependent)
 Grape varieties
 Wine category (Late Harvest, Meritage,
Blanc de Noirs, Nouveau)
 Proprietary Name (your brand)
 Estate Bottled
 Vineyard Name
 Method of Production (Mandatory for
Sparkling)
Principal Display Panel and
Single Field of Vision
 Appellation must appear on principal display
panel at least 2 mm OR 3.2 mm if you leave
the VQA logo off
 Other info can appear anywhere (except
top/bottom of container)
 Federal rules require alc/vol, wine, product of
Canada and net contents all in a “single field
of vision”
 VQA decides which panel is the PDP, the
winery cannot choose to make the back label
the PDP
Labelling - Origin





The appellation on the front label must appear as:
VQA appellation name VQA
(same font, colour, typeface)
No unregulated claim of origin can be made (e.g. you can’t
create your own appellation)
No appellation terms can be used in back label copy or
elsewhere unless the wine qualifies NOT AT ALL - no
matter what the context
No reference to location of winery using appellation name
unless wine qualifies – postal address only in the form of an
address
Component appellations can be described if exact
percentage content is included – eg. 55% Lake Erie North
Shore, 45% Prince Edward County
Labelling - Origin
 Content rules for appellation declaration:



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
Ontario (100% Ontario)
Viticultural areas – Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie
North Shore, Prince Edward County (85% from
stated area, rest from anywhere in Ontario)
Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Escarpment (85%
from stated area, rest from Niagara)
Sub-appellations (100%)
Vineyard designation (100%)
Estate Bottled (100% grown, made, bottled)
Labelling - origin
 Certain wines are not entitled to any
origin claim except Ontario



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Wines made from grapes grown outside of defined
viticultural areas
Wines containing hybrid grapes (Vidal Icewine
exception)
Charmat or Cuve Close sparkling wines
Wines that do not meet required Brix
 Do not refer to appellations on the labels of
these wines
 Do not use brand names that contain
restricted terms
Varietal wines
 If a grape variety is mentioned anywhere on
the label, it is considered a varietal wine
 Varieties must be listed in order of
descending content
 If it does not meet single, dual, triple or multi
rules, percentages are required
 Acceptable variety names are specified
 No abbreviations, number descriptors
 Descriptors generally allowed if they are
not confusing (oaked, reserve etc)
Icewine
 Icewine must appear on the label
 Vinifera or Vidal only
 Cannot blend Vidal into vinifera unless
declared (eg. must be > 15% and
labelled as a varietal wine)
 Cannot mention Icewine on label of
table wines if it used as a blending
component
More rules
 Variations of estate bottled are now
permitted but must be truthful and abide
by same rules as estate bottled
(“produced and bottled by”)
 No closure can refer to VQA
 Statements made must be accurate


Harvest brix, RS, percentages
Plan for this if you use generic back labels
The VQA logo
 Optional
 Gold on black only, minimum15 mm
 Secondary applications can be as small
as 10 mm
 On any label, neck or shoulder
 Smaller size (10 mm) permitted for
bottles 250 mL and less
The Approval Process
Wine Approvals
 3 components: blind taste test,
laboratory analysis and packaging
review
 Approx 1800 applications annually,
overall success rate approximately 95%
Process
 Approvals – online application, samples to LCBO,
payment to VQAO, 2 – 3 weeks turnaround
 Wine is approved only when entire process is
complete and you see a checkmark under final status
(Don’t release or sell if it is not approved)
 Approval will not be processed without fee and label,
mock ups and/or proofs are acceptable
 If the labels are changed post approval, it is the
wineries responsibility to ensure they comply
 No need for two approvals for same wine with two
labels (all labels should be uploaded)
 Virtual wineries need to be registered with VQAO as
an operating name (they are your responsibility under
your manuf. licence and your VQA membership)
VQA Services - Wine Approvals System
“WAS”
Filters – normally
check all
Use filters and rows
per page to
manage what is
displayed to you
Start a new
application
Wine Approval Application - adding varietal components
Entering the
components of your
final blend
Confirm total
quantity is correct
Wine Approval
Application
Upload your labels
PDF or JPEG formats acceptable
Get the proofs electronically from
your designer/printer
Store them on your computer.
Follow the easy wizard instructions.
Because of the volume – we do not
upload labels for you. If you can
email them to us then you have an
electronic version to upload!
You can upload your labels later if
they are not ready when you make
the application.
Wine Approval Application
Submitted – waiting on shipment
Information is in the
system
LCBO is waiting for
samples to arrive
This is the wine ID
Wine Approval
In progress
Tasting is
completed and
passed
Lab analysis is
completed and
passed
Wine is not
approved
Did you upload
your label?
Did VQAO receive
your payment?
Label review is
pending
More information
about your application
Taste and lab results
added when completed
Label review usually
last to be completed
just before approval
result finalized
Can edit only up to
shipment received date
(call VQAO if changes
needed after)
Forms&Reports:
• Reprint shipping
form/invoice
• Cert of analysis once
approved
• Cert of origin
Application in progress
- check tasting result
If the wine did not pass, the reason for failure
will be stated here.
Application in progress
- check lab result
Typically only
3 tests are
reported –
alcohol, Free
SO2, RS
If the wine did
not pass, the
failing analyte
will be
reported.
Small
variances are
granted eg.
52 ppm FSO2
will show as
an X but the
overall status
will pass
Application
- label review result
Federal violations are
noted but do not cause a
failure.
Routine conditions are
noted but do not cause a
failure
•No scale (font size not
verified)
•VQA logo not submitted
or shown in a black and
white scan
THESE STILL NEED TO
BE COMPLIANT on the
final label.
This label failed.
In this case this is the
reason.
Application almost
complete
Not yet approved
Usually because
payment not
received
If all 3 stages
complete and not
approved
– please call us
Wine is now approved
The winery
(primary contact)
will get an email
notification telling
you to logon and
view completed
application results
It is the same
email pass or fail
so don’t assume
the wine is
approved
Don’t forget to look
at the label review
page to see if
there are any
comments
Pre approval label review
 VQAO will review labels before the wine
is submitted as advice only
 Labels will not be “approved” before
wine is approved since this is contingent
upon the label matching the wine, the
alcohol, sweetness descriptors being
correct, etc.
Common approval delays and
label problems
 No labels have been uploaded or fee is not
paid
 Samples sent to LCBO are not properly
labelled and have been sent to another
department
 Label does not match application or wine eg.
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Alcohol inaccurate
Appellation on label different than on application
Varieties not in descending order
Back label text refers to different appellation or to
a foreign appellation
Tips for approvals
 Make sure applications include:


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Uploaded labels
Payment
Complete and correct information
 “Rush” service can be arranged ($)
 Plan with VQAO in advance if there is time pressure
(such as Nouveau) or a large number of samples
 Tastings are twice weekly, none in December or on
statutory holidays (dates posted on VQA Services)
 Lab lineup is set weekly (no later than Wed pm) so
have your samples delivered by noon Wednesday
 If your wine arrives Thursday it will not have lab
results until two weeks following
Other things to know
 Applications are purged after 12 months
if not completed
 Approvals expire after 12 months if not
bottled
 Independent brix test and SETGO slip
required for all content in VQA wines
 Transfer rules for finished wine that is
purchased
 Late Harvest registration by Nov 15
 Lapsed Memberships
Questions? Call us
 If in doubt - call or email the VQAO
office
 Do not rely on designers or others in
industry – they may be mistaken or the
rules may have changed
 Best practice – don’t print your labels
before approval
 Read over the VQA regulations (reg.
406) www.vqaontario.ca
Failure to Comply
Inspection and Compliance
 VQA Ontario is required to enforce
compliance with Act
 Compliance issues typically related to
label issues, selling without approval
 Infractions noted through inspections
conducted by VQAO, through audit or by
complaint
 VQAO has police powers - right to enter,
right to collect and compel information
Penalties
 Approval suspension/revocation
 Product removal from all channels
(LCBO acts on our removal orders –
this can be very expensive)
 Compliance orders
 Charges (fines up to $100,000 per
count)
 Membership suspension/revocation
 It is far cheaper to comply
Avoid Violations
 Don’t sell before approval -check the website
 Check advertising, website, store signage
using VQA terms to make sure they are
compliant and not misleading
 File your reports and be prepared for your
audit
 Use a checklist to check label compliance
 Read the comments offered on labels – check
the website!
Where to look it up
 Website
www.vqaontario.ca/regulations/standards
 Contact us
416-367-2002
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

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