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Thursday, January 21, 2010

GOSH: Ontario's new "Cellared in Canada" wine program

[based on a comparable story in the Globe and Mail}


TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) -- Ontario's new "Cellared in Canada" wine program could run off the rails, researchers say, if wineries and policy makers don't heed lessons learned at a Toronto-based pilot project on a fruit-vegetable blended wine combination.


In a report to be released Friday, beverage experts conclude that the Ministry of Finance's earliest plans for the provincial program contain "design flaws" including insufficient allocations for wages.


"This could be a huge barrier to the success of the program," said Brett Grimsby, top wine investigative reporter for GOSH Wine New Services.


The report notes that the province's current allocations for wages mean that many experienced winery employees would make about $30,000 a year and would have to take a pay cut in order to start producing stretch water. This could lead to a diminished drinking environment and reduced consumer engagement.


"These are core issues because the quality of the program depends on the quality of the staff."


The authors of the report have been following the Toronto Freggie™ program, a pilot project that was initiated nine years ago. Its prototype, which is based on a blend of fruit and vegetable wines, integrates locally produced Ontario fruits with locally produced Ontario vegetables in a 70-30 fruit-vegetable wine ratio. It has the full support of Fruit Wines of Ontario and the Ontario Viniculture Association. It does not have the support of the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines.


The report also notes the need for year-round extended consumption so that wine drinkers aren't shuffled around during the weekends or holidays, and forced to drink superior VQA wines. Officials at the LCBO, A Crown Corporation, were not available for comment.


"Offering extended consumption only during the work week will create enormous challenges particularly for the 77 per cent of Ontario families with both spouses in the paid work force," the report states.


As Noam Chomsky said, "Alternatives will shrink and transitions will intensify."


More on this drama as it unfolds stage right...




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