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Saturday, May 1, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: McGinty to speak on new wine policy imbroglio

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – GOSH Wine News Services has just learned that The Grate McGinty, Leader of the Province of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, will be making a major wine policy declaration later on Monday.

Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for days now, and he files his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for our sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.

Grimsby has learned that Ontario's Have-Not Leader Grate McGinty will act unilaterally in pulling the plug on his government's new wine policy after he was blindsided by his own bureaucrats and a backlash from wine consumers. McGinty will announce later today that he will not roll out the new wine policy changes next fall. It was his fastest policy retreat in recent memory, coming just hours after the Minister of Agriculture vigorously defended the policy during Question Period.

Miffed Mole said that the Leader had not been briefed on the wine policy and was unaware of its contents until the complaints began last week. Bureaucrats in the Ministry of Agriculture did not brief the Leader about the new wine policy. While he is not usually given details of wine policy changes, such a politically sensitive topic as CellaredinCanada™ should have been brought to his attention. "I think there was a little bit of failure in the system," Mole said.

Leader McGinty will announce that the policy needs a "serious rethink", and he will also say that government officials must listen to winemakers on such a sensitive topic that touches wine drinkers directly.

He will say: "For most wineries, it came out of nowhere. They are obviously not comfortable with the proposals we put forward."

The details on making CellaredinCanada™ wines are too slapdash, and will offend the sensibilities of the public. Once they learn what this wine is all about, they may never drink it again. Mention of the stretch water component has apparently been so distasteful to the focus groups that there have been complaints registered with the Ombudsman of Ontario.

The government could have calmly explained that they were just trying to ensure that drinkers had the right information before they became more involved with Ontario wine – the clearer the guidelines, the better the chances safe and healthy choices would be made. The problems occurred because there were too many unexplained products on the market.

For example, as McGinty will explain: what goes into CellaredinCanada™ wines beyond the reviled stretch water component? Is this water good enough to consume? Is it Canadian water, or is it too an imported beverage? Why do some wineries get to produce both CIC and VQA wines, while others can only produce VQA wines? Why is Freggie™ the leading (by sales) fruit-vegetable wine in Canada? Why have fruit wines fallen off the radar?

The government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, wants to move fast in these matters. They will settle with the Winery and Grower Allianz of Ontario about pending CellaredinCanada™ issues, they will ask the Liberal Control of Beverages in Ontario to step up the publicity on Freggie™ the fruit-vegetable wine and explain it better, and they will encourage Fruit Wines of Ontario to submit more wines for listing considerations at the LCBO.

At the same time, on another policy matter, the LCBO has raised the listing submission fee to $1,500 (plus lab costs) per label submission.

More on this impending media announcement after it happens…


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