When you see Ontario VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) stamped on wine bottles, do you know what that means? Or how about when you walk through the 'Cellared in Canada' section at the LCBO, doesn't that sound quite ambiguous?

Well let's clarify that for you. VQA, simply put, is a stamp of quality. It means 100% of the grapes are grown in Ontario, and that the producer follows government enforced regulations, including having the wines approved by an independent tasting pannel.

This doesn't mean all VQA wines are the same quality! No, many VQA wines are of superior, international award-winning quality, while others fall into table wine quality. I'm sure you've heard the 'do you VQA' radio spots at some point, but if you wanted to know more you can check out doyouvqa.com. Also worth a look is winesofontario and www.winebc.com which has all the info you'll need on Canadian wine.

Now for the 'other' Canadian wines. Cellared in Canada wines must have a minimum of 30% of the grapes used for the blended wine grown here. However in a short crop year, such as 2005, as little as 1% of the wine was from Canadian grapes. While these wines benefit the Canadian economy, it could be argued that they've had an ill effect and confused Canadian consumers.

We're VQA supporters and we encourage you to pick up a bottle of VQA wine for a genuine Canadian experience. Both types of wines contribute to our economy, however VQA wines are not only more Canadian, they also contribute even more to the Canadian economy.

So drink up some VQA wine this year! And remember, most of the best VQA wines are found at the wineries, thus on our wine tours.