Eatdrink #80 November/December 2019 - The Holiday Issue


The LOCAL food and drink magazine serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario since 2007

38 | November/December 2019 |@eatdrinkmag


VQA Wines

Embracing the Destinations


Winemaking in Ontario has been

going on for well over 200 years

but the wines did not always

have a good reputation.

Ontario wines were made from native vitis

labrusca grapes like catawba and concord

which became the backbone of Ontario wine

in those early days. Concord grapes are now

better known for being used in

jellies, jams and grape juice.

About 35 years ago a few

Niagara vineyard owners planted

European vitis vinifera vines and

began changing the reputation

of Ontario wine. Vinifera such

as chardonnay, riesling, cabernet

franc, merlot and pinot noir

began to replace the “grapey”

tasting wines made from

labrusca grapes.

As the quality of Ontario

wines began to improve a group of Ontario

wineries created the Vintners Quality Alliance

(vqa) to set out geographic appellations and

introduce strict production standards. This

system is similar to the regulatory systems

in France (aoc/aop), Spain (do), and Italy


The vqa logo on a bottle of Ontario indicates

several things, but most importantly that

100% of the grapes used to make the wine were

grown in Ontario. This past October a new and

updated Ontario vqa logo was


The Wine Marketing

Association of Ontario

(wmao), in partnership with

Ontario’s Wine Appellation

Authority (vqao), revealed the

modernized and striking “New

and Next” Ontario vqa logo,

the emblem used by Ontario

vqa wineries as a mark of

origin, quality and authenticity.

The vqa logo guarantees that

only Ontario-grown grapes go into every

bottle of Ontario vqa wine.

“We are thrilled about the new vqa

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