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FAQs - VQA Wine and/or Fruit Wine Sales at Farmers' Markets


VQA Wine and/or Fruit Wine Sales at Farmers' Markets FAQs

1. Is my winery or cidery eligible to participate in the VQA Wine and/or Fruit Wine Sales at Farmers’ Markets Program?

In order to sell VQA wine and/or fruit wine at Farmers’ Markets, a winery or cidery must obtain an Authorization for an occasional extension of its on-site winery retail store within a Farmers' Market (“occasional extension”) from the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing (“Registrar”). Occasional extensions are only permitted to operate within Farmers’ Markets as defined in Regulation 720.

To be eligible to apply for an Authorization for an occasional extension, a winery or cidery must:

  1. Have a valid AGCO Manufacturer's Licence;
  2. Operate an authorized on-site winery retail store; and
  3. Produce "VQA wine" as defined in the Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999, and/or “fruit wine” as defined in Ontario Regulation 720.
    *"Fruit wine" means Ontario wine that,
    1. is produced from fruit grown in Ontario, other than grapes, and
    2. is not produced using any combination of the concentrated juice of apples grown outside of Ontario
2. How does my winery or cidery become authorized to participate in the Program?

A winery or cidery will be required to obtain an Authorization for an occasional extension of its on-site winery retail store from the Registrar. Wineries will be required to file an Application for Authorization to Sell VQA Wine and/or Fruit Wine at an Occasional Extension of an On-Site Winery Retail Store within a Farmers’ Market form with the AGCO.

3. What kind of wine is my winery or cidery permitted to sell at a Farmers’ Market?

Wineries, including cideries, that are authorized to participate in the program are permitted to sell:

  • VQA wine, as defined in the Vintners Quality Alliance Act; and/or
  • Fruit wine means wine or cider produced from 100% fruit grown in Ontario (other than grapes), and that is not produced using any combination of the concentrated juice of apples grown outside of Ontario.

All wine sold at an occasional extension of a winery retail store must comply with the “made” requirement for either a winery located within a DVA or a winery located outside of a DVA as it is defined and applied in the Winery Retail Store Information Guide published by the Registrar.

4. At what Farmers’ Markets can my winery or cidery sell VQA wine and/or fruit wine?

For purposes of the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) and Regulations, “Farmers’ Market” means:

  • a central location at which a group of persons who operate stalls or other food premises meet to sell or offer for sale to consumers products that include, without being restricted to, farm products, baked goods and preserved foods, and at which a substantial number of the persons operating the stalls or other food premises are producers of farm products who are primarily selling or offering for sale their own products.

The regulation does not authorize the establishment or operation of Farmers’ Markets at which all or a substantial number of the products sold or offered for sale are VQA wines and/or fruit wines.

5. Is my winery or cidery required to notify the AGCO prior to conducting sales at a particular Farmers’ Market? If so, how does my winery or cidery provide notice to the AGCO?

Wineries, including cideries, must provide the AGCO with at least 10 days’ notice of planned sales at Farmers’ Markets by filing a Notification of the Location, Dates and Hours of Intended Sales at a Farmers’ Market form (“notification form”) with the AGCO.

The notification form requires the name and location of the Farmers’ Market, as well as the dates and the times of planned sales. Notification for intention to sell at multiple locations and multiple dates may be provided on a single Notification form.

6. During what hours will I be able to sell VQA wine and/or fruit wine at Farmers’ Markets?

VQA wine and/or fruit wine may be sold during Farmer’s Markets’ hours of operation. A Farmers’ Market can further limit the hours of sale of VQA wine, as can a municipality when a Farmers’ Market is located on municipal property.

7. Are there limits on how many days per week my winery can conduct sales at a particular Farmers’ Market?

An occasional extension can only operate up to three (3) times per week at a particular Farmers’ Market.

8. Are there limits on how many Farmers’ Markets at which my winery or cidery can conduct sales on a particular day?

No.

9. Is my winery or cidery permitted to store wine or cider away from its on-site retail store prior to, or following, sales at a particular Farmers’ Market (i.e. in a truck or off-site warehouse)?

Wineries and cideries must ensure that any fruit wine or VQA wine that is offered for sale at the farmers’ market and that is not sold is returned to the manufacturer’s store within 24 hours from the time it leaves the manufacturer’s store.

10. What rules apply to staff when they are conducting sales at Farmers’ Markets?

Similar to your on-site retail store, all staff must be at least eighteen (18) years of age.

Anyone selling or serving VQA wine and/or fruit wine at a Farmers’ Market must be certified by Smart Serve®.

The same sales rules that apply to your on-site retail store apply to sales at Farmers’ Markets. For instance, wine cannot be sold to anyone under the age of nineteen (19) or to individuals who are or appear to be intoxicated.

11. Is my winery or cidery permitted to provide samples to patrons at Farmers’ Markets?

Sampling is permitted but must be confined to the occasional extension within the farmers’ market.

Sampling must follow the Sampling Guidelines published by the Registrar and any additional terms and conditions imposed by the Registrar.

12. Is my winery or cidery permitted to sell any non-liquor products (i.e. ancillary items) at Farmers’ Markets?

Yes. Non-wine/cider products approved for sale at on-site winery retail stores (as outlined in the Winery Retail Store Information Guide) can be sold at occasional extensions of winery retail stores.

13. Can multiple wineries or cideries sell their VQA wine and/or fruit wine together at one occasional extension of an on-site winery retail store? (i.e. cross-selling)

No. Similar to how you are not permitted to sell other wineries’ or cideries’ products at your on-site retail store, only wine or cider made by the manufacturer may be sold at an occasional extension of an on-site retail store.

14. What happens if a municipality objects to the sale of VQA wine and/or fruit wine at a specific Farmers’ Market?

Municipalities can prohibit the sale of VQA wine and/or fruit wine at any or all Farmers’ Markets within their jurisdiction at any time by providing a written objection to the Registrar. If a municipality informs the AGCO that it is objecting to the sale of VQA wine and/or fruit wine at a specific Farmers’ Market, the AGCO will notify the winery or cidery that it must immediately cease selling wine at that market.

15. Can a Farmers’ Market set further rules for the sale of VQA wine and/or fruit wine?

Farmers’ Market operators may set further rules for VQA wine and/or fruit wine sales within their farmers’ markets, as long as they do not contravene the AGCO’s regulatory framework as set out in the Liquor Licence Act and Regulations and Registrar policy.

16. Who do I contact to sell my wine at a specific Farmers’ Market?

Each winery or cidery must make its own individual arrangements with specific Farmers’ Markets to sell their VQA wine and/or fruit wine. In addition, the winery or cidery must notify the AGCO of all Farmers’ Market locations, dates and hours where it plans to sell its wine.

17. Will the AGCO conduct inspections of VQA wine and/or fruit wine sales at Farmers’ Markets?

The AGCO will conduct inspections of VQA wine and/or fruit wine sales at Farmers’ Markets as required.

18. Who do I contact if I have any additional questions?

Please send us an email at farmersmarkets@agco.ca or call customer service at 1 416-326-8700, or toll free at 1 800 522-2876.