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Ontario Supporting Local Fruit Wine and Cider in Farmers' Markets

News Release

Ontario Supporting Local Fruit Wine and Cider in Farmers' Markets

Province Helping Producers Grow Their Businesses

Ontario is making it easier for craft cider and fruit wine producers to grow their businesses by supporting retail sales at farmers' markets across the province.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal made the announcement at the Empire Cider Company in Codrington this afternoon during Ontario Agriculture Week. This initiative has allowed Empire to double its retail sales since the company began selling at Northumberland County farmers' markets earlier this year, and the cider producer plans to continue expanding sales at additional markets in 2017.

Opening farmers' markets to fruit wine and cider sales provides more opportunities for Ontarians to purchase and enjoy locally-crafted products and helps grow the local economy in communities across Ontario.

Ontario is expanding access responsibly and will continue to ensure that alcohol sales are conducted in a socially responsible manner. The province is also currently developing a comprehensive alcohol policy to support the safe consumption of alcohol.

Investing in local food and beverages is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • There are now approximately 60 businesses that produce cider and fruit wine in Ontario.
  • To date, 250 farmers’ markets and 99 wineries, including 14 fruit wineries have participated in the Wine and Cider at Farmers’ Markets program, with sales of $3.7 million.
  • Extending the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) sales in farmers’ markets to include craft cider and fruit wines follows the final recommendations made by the Premier's Advisory Council on Government Assets.
  • VQA wine sales in Ontario have grown from $194 million in 2009-10 to $318 million in 2015-16, an increase of more than 60 per cent.
  • Currently 60 grocery stores across the province are authorized to sell beer and cider. Beginning October 28, 2016, up to 70 more grocery stores will be authorized to sell wine, beer and cider.
  • This year’s Ontario Agriculture Week runs from October 3 to 9.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Jeff Leal

“We are working to make local food and beverage purchases more accessible for Ontario consumers. By expanding the sale of local cider and fruit wine at farmers’ markets, we are providing our farmers and producers with exposure to reach consumers, while stimulating the economies of local communities across Ontario. I invite the people of Ontario to join me in celebrating Agriculture Week by buying and supporting Ontario-grown produce and beverages from your local farmers’ market to enjoy with family and friends at Thanksgiving.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Charles Sousa

“Local producers directly contribute to Ontario’s economy. Having VQA wine, fruit wine and cider available at farmers’ markets is a great way to promote Ontario’s local products, while helping small businesses grow and create jobs that directly contribute to our economy.”

Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

“This market season Ontario Craft Cider producers are thrilled to be able to bring their excellent ciders to farmer's markets across Ontario for retail sale. Consumers will now have the option to not only meet and shop from Ontario farmers but also purchase quality ciders and fruit wines from these growers at their local farmers market. The Ontario Craft Cider Association would like to thank the Ontario government for giving consumers more choice in the products they can discover and enjoy.”

Thomas Wilson

Chair, Ontario Craft Cider Association

“Since this summer we have been bringing our traditional cider, made with high quality local ingredients, to consumers at farmers’ markets. This has been a great opportunity for our cidery to expose our unique product made at home, so a greater audience can taste and enjoy it.”

Jenny and Chris McRae

Proprietors, Empire Cider Co.

“We were thrilled that Ontario fruit wines and ciders were included at Farmers’ Markets this year. It allowed Ontario consumers to sample and buy wines made close to home from locally grown fruit. Our Muskoka-grown cranberry and blueberry wines were a terrific hit and we’re thankful for the government’s support of this initiative.”

Wendy Hogarth

Proprietor, Muskoka Lakes Winery

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