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BACKGROUNDER: LCBO SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO WINES

As a strong supporter of the Ontario wine industry, LCBO has introduced many initiatives, consistent with international trade obligations, to promote Ontario wines. These initiatives include:

Large product selection: LCBO WINES category offers 530 Ontario-produced wines, including 300 VQA wines. In fiscal 2010-11, LCBO WINES category released 64 new VQA wines, including many varietal blends, one of the fastest-growing segments. VINTAGES, LCBO’s fine wine and premium spirits business unit, offered another 252 Ontario VQA wines, including 22 available year-round through the VINTAGES Essentials program. In fiscal 2010-11, the LCBO sold more than 900 different Ontario VQA wines from over 80 different wineries.

Prominent shelf space/location: Ontario wines are allocated almost seven per cent more shelf space than their share of sales in LCBO stores. They are prominently located at the front of most stores and there are specially-designed VQA wine displays in the 250 largest LCBO outlets. In 2009, LCBO expanded VQA shelving by 20 per cent (4,000 linear feet more) in these stores.

Every time LCBO replaces older stores it significantly expands the VQA sections. It also doubles the size of Ontario wine sections during store renovations. LCBO has introduced a “Best of Ontario” section in select stores where almost the full range of LCBO’s VQA wines is displayed with striking visuals and information on Ontario wine country. Currently, four stores have “Best of Ontario” sections with three more planned for fiscal 2011-12. LCBO will be rolling out these unique sections in areas with high potential for VQA sales.

WOW (World of Ontario Wines) Leaders: LCBO employees in 300 LCBO stores are specially-trained to promote Ontario wines with customers.

Ontario Superstars: Every month, two VQA wines, dubbed Ontario Superstars, are featured in some 300 LCBO stores with eye-catching displays. They are also featured in each issue of LCBO’s FOOD & DRINK magazine.

Annual promotion: From mid-September to mid-October, Ontario wines are showcased in all 619 LCBO stores. This annual promotion includes:1,800 consumer tastings; large in-store Ontario wine and food events; a VINTAGES catalogue dedicated to VQA wines; a major public VQA wine tasting event in Toronto called Taste Ontario; advertising and social media elements; and information on LCBO’s year-round website www.lcbogolocal.com. No other wine-producing country or region is supported with a major annual LCBO promotion.

I Love Canada promotion: In addition to its annual fall promotion, LCBO presented a new promotion in summer 2011 called I Love Canada. The promotion showcased Canadian wines, spirits and beers in all LCBO stores across Ontario. It boosted sales of featured Canadian wines, many of them from Ontario, by 8.5 per cent during the promotional period.

VINTAGES programs: Alanna’s Pick features an Ontario wine chosen very four weeks by VINTAGES’ Ontario wine buyer Alanna Bailey to highlight VQA wines that deliver value from a quality and price perspective. Drawing on the expertise of the person who actually buys VQA wines, it is a reliable source for wine recommendations. It is showcased in VINTAGES bi-weekly release catalogue and in stores.

VINTAGES also showcases Ontario wine regions, wines and producers in-store every four-weeks, (offset two weeks from Alanna’s Pick), through a program called Local Talent. Bi-weekly VINTAGES release catalogues also highlight this program and it is showcased in LCBO stores. Another VINTAGES program, VQA Flagship In-store Discovery, offers customers premium-priced, smaller production Ontario wines by releasing limited quantities to select stores.

Small winery support: LCBO’s Go-to-Market program allows smaller Ontario wineries to direct deliver products to a small number of LCBO stores and the Wines to Watch program provides in-store presence for smaller Ontario wineries, helping them build sales for wider distribution. The VINTAGES’ Go-to-Market program also gives access to VQA wines from smaller, quality-focused Ontario wineries. This program has been expanded in the last year to include more participating wineries and LCBO store locations.

FOOD & DRINK profiles: LCBO’s popular magazine features Ontario wine and winemakers in all issues with the autumn issue being a showcase for Ontario wines.

Sales performance: VQA wine sales growth outpaces all other major wine categories at LCBO. In fiscal 2010-11, VQA table wine sales were almost 15 per cent higher than in 2009-10. This is the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth for VQA table wines at LCBO. By contrast, imported wine sales were up 6.6 per cent.

LCBO sales of all Ontario-produced wines in 2010-11 totalled almost $320 million, almost seven per cent higher than the previous year.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Chris Layton, LCBO Media Relations Co-ordinator
Tel. 416 864-6772; Cell: 416 587-3729; E-mail:
chris.layton@lcbo.com

Karen Mortfield, LCBO Senior Communications Consultant
Tel. 416 864-6875; Cell: 647 339-5428; E-mail:
karen.mortfield@lcbo.com


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