In order to meet the needs of various religious groups in Ontario, the
LCBO appoints sacramental wine vendors to keep for sale, sell and deliver
sacramental wine for use only in religious ceremonies conducted by persons
(such as priests, ministers or rabbis) authorized to preside at such
ceremonies in a regular place of worship such as a church, synagogue or
temple. Sacramental wine vendor authorizations, awarded through an
application process, often have a term of two year and an application fee of
$100 (to offset LCBO administrative costs).
Sacramental wine (defined as wine only, spirit products of any kind, or
liqueurs of any kind, are not permitted for importation or sale) is intended
for use in religious ceremonies and may not be sold for use or consumption
at any social events, including social events or occasions associated with
or ancillary to religious ceremonies whether held on or off the premises of
the place of worship. Social events include, without limitation, receptions
outside of religious wedding, baptismal, first communion, bar mitzvah, bat
mitzvah and ordination ceremonies.
Wine, spirits and other beverage alcohol used for social events must be
obtained through a government store. Sacramental wine vendors are not
permitted to advertise, promote or market the purchase, sale, keeping for
sale or delivery of sacramental wine. Also, they are not permitted to sell
sacramental wine that is carried on the LCBO's General List of products.
The business activities of sacramental wine vendors are subject to audit
by the LCBO's General Audit Department and oversight by the Policy and
Government Relations Department. Oversight can include inspections as well
as end-use and spot audits of vendors and their customers to verify that
sales are being made to authorized persons for authorized purposes.
Sacramental wine vendors arrange their own direct beverage alcohol
importations into Ontario. Each month, they are required to pay a fee to the
LCBO equal to 15 per cent of the gross sales of all sacramental wine sold in
the previous calendar month. In addition, vendors in the program must remain
compliant with certain restrictions regarding pricing, marketing and
packaging, for example, ongoing compliance with the LCBO’s minimum price