Ontario’s wine and tourism industry is at a tipping point. Much has changed in the wine industry as a result of COVID-19. Our exports have dried up and our sales to restaurants have drastically reduced.
At the same time our international competition is receiving greater and greater COVID related subsidies from their governments and spending those subsidies in our own backyard. In order to survive and grow, our industry needs to be able to sell more wine at improved margins. To that end, we are calling on the government to:
Save Local, Support Local,
Buy Local and Promote Local.
Eliminate the 6.1% tax applied to domestic wine on sales at farmgate.
This is an unfair tax directed specifically at the domestic wine industry and eliminating it will allow wineries to better maintain staff and invest in efforts to improve sales in the immediate term.
Uncap the VQA support program.
LCBO sales have risen during the pandemic, particularly for value priced wines. VQA wines have the highest value add to the Ontario economy and are being hurt. Uncapping this program would create a greater demand for Ontario grapes and all the related economic activity that our industry brings to the province.
Enable direct delivery with margin to grocery.
Wine sales within grocery are outpacing those at the LCBO. 100% Canadian VQA wines are more likely to be purchased at grocery, but the LCBO has significant challenges with its distribution, and we are seeing empty shelves that should be full of VQA ready for the customer. Enabling us to direct deliver to grocery with margin will enable Ontario wineries to take advantage of this fast-growing sales channel.
More promotions and advertising at the LCBO at more affordable rates.
Our import competition is using foreign government money to flood our market and leverage LCBO marketing channels. This playing field needs to be leveled. Growing market share of VQA at the LCBO by just a half a percent means an additional 2,200 tonnes of Ontario grapes being purchased.