The Grape Growers of Ontario has issued a newsletter highlighting the province’s proposed changes to alcohol consumption. Chair Matthias Oppenlaender provided the following report.
On April 11, 2019, Ontario finance minister Vic Fedeli delivered his government’s first budget entitled “Protecting What Matters Most.” The focus of the government is in a number of areas but most important is “eliminating the deficit” over the next five years. The budget document and speech highlight a number of changes; the province is proposing to expand consumer choice and convenience in regards to beverage alcohol. This includes a breadth of customer-oriented reforms, several of which were highlighted by media in advance of the budget release:
- - Pausing the scheduled (April 1st) increase to the Wine Tax;
- - Providing flexibility to wineries and other alcohol producers by ending the prescribed “by the glass” serving size at manufacturing sites;
- - Permitting legal tailgating at sporting events;
- - Making legislative changes to allow municipalities to permit alcohol consumption in designated public spaces, such as parks;
- - Extended hours for alcohol service at licensed establishments, including “by the glass” service and Special Occasion permit, with a new start time of 9 a.m.;
- - Changing advertising rules to permit marketing of “happy hour,” reflecting similar rules in Alberta and British Columbia.
Growers are hopeful that VQA wine sales will continue their upward trend. VQA wine sales represent 11.35 per cent of the overall sales of wine in Ontario by volume and 14.69 per cent by value in dollars. VQA market share has increased in litres and dollars over the third quarter compared to last year.
Source: Grape Growers of Ontario April 12, 2019 newsletter