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Wine and Food

Wine Coming to Grocery Stores Across Ontario

Government to Open up Wine Sales in 300 Locations, Starting with 70 This Fall

Queens Park - Ontario is increasing choice and convenience for consumers and supporting wine producers by making wine available on the shelves of up to 300 independent and large grocery stores. Following the historic 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.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today as the 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.

Imported and domestic wines will be sold at up to 150 grocery stores. As well, up to 150 existing winery retail stores that are currently just outside a grocery store checkout will be permitted to operate their store inside that grocery store, with a shared checkout, and broaden their assortment to sell the wines of any Ontario producer. Ultimately, up to 300 grocery stores will sell beer, cider and wine.

Ontario is expanding access responsibly. 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 comprehensive, province-wide alcohol policy to support the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol.

Giving consumers more choice and convenience while creating a more dynamic and competitive business environment for wine producers is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan is investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.

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