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Wine, cider, fruit wines coming to Ont. grocery stores, farmers markets

February 19, 2016  By Press release

February 19, 2016, Toronto, Ont – Ontario is increasing choice and convenience for consumers and supporting fruit wine and cider producers by making fruit wine and cider, along with wine, available on the shelves of up to 300 independent and large grocery stores.

Following the introduction of beer in grocery stores last December, 70 grocery stores across Ontario will be able to start selling wine, beer, and cider this fall.

The provincial government accepted the final recommendations from the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, chaired by Ed Clark. These recommendations conclude the council’s review of the beverage alcohol sector.


Other key aspects of the recommendations include:

  • Allowing cider to be sold wherever beer is sold in grocery stores
  • Including fruit wines and craft cider in a program that allows Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Ontario wines to be sold at farmers’ markets
  • Reducing red tape and eliminating unnecessary regulations to increase opportunities and deliver cost savings for producers and their customers, including new opportunities for craft distillers.

As with beer, restrictions will apply to ensure safe and responsible retailing in grocery stores, including restricted hours of sale and rigorous training for staff. Ontario is also developing a province-wide alcohol policy to support the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol.

The bidding and authorization processes will be similar to the beer in grocery store initiative. The first 70 of 150 universal wine and beer authorizations will be issued Fall 2016, allowing grocers to sell wine, beer, cider and fruit wine.

Up to 150 existing winery retail stores will be permitted to operate inside grocery stores with a shared checkout. These grocery stores will be authorized to sell any Ontario wine, as well as beer and cider.

To ensure fair representation of grocers and an equitable geographic distribution, the allocation criteria for wine will be similar to beer, with authorizations reserved for independent grocers and allocated across regions.

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