Many people are surprised to hear that last year the Ontario Liberals launched a two year pilot program allowing sales of VQA wines at farmers’ markets. This is a great opportunity for us small Mom- and Pop- owned wineries. Because of our small scale we normally sell most of our product through the farm gate, which is heavily vulnerable to the whims of tourist traffic. While the LCBO has made great strides to help boost the profile of Ontario wines, the LCBO channel has big business needs, and it takes a long time and a significant sales effort to find shelf space there.
At a farmers’ market, on the other hand, our wines are usually the only wines for sale. That’s the kind of competition we like! We get to chat directly with our customers in a beautiful, relaxed setting. And the other vendors usually have delicious foods available which complement the wine.
Markets are a throwback to the good old days, when everything was uniquely crafted by the owners, and you had a real connection through them to the very roots of the creation of their wares. In a way markets are the antithesis of our capitalist big box franchise society, but at the same time they get back to the days when everyone was a craftsman and an entrepreneur.
This year, we’re trying out a few markets — Trinity Bellwoods Park, Borden Park, and East Lynn Park in Toronto, Port Hope, and Wellington. Come see us, have a chat, and taste the wine!