The Minister of Government and Consumer Services has approved an amendment to VQA wine regulation, adding new grape variety, Marquette, to the list of approved grape varieties and allowing for the production to non-vintage dated table wines. In both cases, these wines will be classified as "VQA Ontario" and not designated with smaller appellations of origin.
"We are very pleased the Minister has approved Marquette for use in VQA wines and extended the option of blending wine across vintages to allow for non-vintage VQA table wines. These changes provide new tools for Ontario winemakers who are striving to make the best wine possible, year in and year out in our unique climate," said Brian Schmidt, Chair of the Board of Directors of VQA Ontario.
These changes resulted from separate requests submitted to VQA Ontario by Ontario wineries. Following a technical review and stakeholder consultation, VQA Ontario recommended the amendments to the Minister for approval. The regulatory changes take effect immediately, allowing wineries to apply for VQA certification for Marquette or non-vintage table wines for existing and future inventory.
Marquette is a red grape cultivar that was developed in Minnesota through a breeding program to develop quality wine grapes. It is established in Ontario, notably in emerging wine regions and established a track record in producing quality wines. It is winter hardy and exhibits high disease and pest resistance.
Historically, VQA regulations have required all wines except Sparkling and Fortified wines be labelled with a vintage date and be sourced from at least 85% of grapes grown in the declared vintage. The amendment permits wineries to blend multiple vintages together and omit the vintage date from the label. If a vintage date is declared, the wine must meet the minimum 85% content requirement. This change allows wineries more flexibility to ensure quality and consistency across production cycles.Source : Grape Growers of Ontario