BACKGROUNDER: LCBO SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO WINE
January 10, 2014 14:05 ET
LCBO’s longstanding support for the Ontario wine industry continues to grow in fiscal 2013, with the opening of three new Ontario wine destination boutiques in 2013, increased VQA product selection and ongoing promotions.
These LCBO initiatives help build a sustainable and competitive local wine industry:
Sales performance: In fiscal 2012-13, Ontario wine sales through LCBO and VINTAGES were 5.4 per cent higher than in 2011-12. Reds showed the strongest growth of 7.8 per cent, while sales of VQA white table wine grew by 2.8 per cent. By contrast, imported table wine sales were up 4.2 per cent in the same period. Since 2006-07, LCBO sales of VQA wine have more than doubled. To the end of December 2013, VQA wine sales were more than $101million, showing growth of almost three per cent. VQA red table wines showed the most significant growth of 7.4 per cent and Icewine sales for the same period were strong at just over $5.2 million. International Canadian Blends showed year-to-date growth of 6.3 per cent, with sales of more than $185 million.
Large product selection: LCBO WINES category offers 520 Ontario-produced wines, including 298 VQA wines. In fiscal 2012-13, LCBO WINES category released 60 new VQA wines, including many varietal blends, one of the fastest-growing segments. VINTAGES, LCBO’s fine wine and premium spirits business unit, released more than 200 VQA products, including 23 available year-round through the VINTAGES Essentials program. In fiscal 2012-13, the LCBO sold 1,155 different Ontario VQA wines from 101 wineries in the province.
Our Wine Country boutiques: In December 2012, the government announced that select LCBO stores would become home to distinctive boutiques that have the look and feel of a trip to wine country. In September 2013, these Our Wine Country boutiques opened in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Windsor and feature a dream assortment of the best Ontario products available, including store-exclusive products, hard-to-find, niche, and ultra-premium items. The selection and shopping experience raises the profile of Ontario wine and educates customers about what makes them unique. Additional boutiques are planned to open by the end of 2014.
Prominent shelf space/location: Ontario wines enjoy significantly more shelf space than their share of sales in LCBO stores, and are prominently featured as a focal point on wooden fixtures at the front of most stores. Since fiscal 2007, LCBO has added 35,000 linear feet of Ontario wine shelf space and will add an additional 18,000 linear feet by the end of fiscal 2014.
At the close of fiscal 2012-13, LCBO added 28 new stores to the network bringing the total number of stores to 634. Every time LCBO replaces an older store it significantly expands the VQA sections and, during store renovations, VQA sections are typically doubled in size.
Small winery support: LCBO’s Ontario Wine Direct Delivery program allows smaller Ontario wineries to deliver their products directly to LCBO stores within a selected regional store cluster. This program is an effective way for smaller, quality-focused wineries to sell their product on LCBO shelves, especially those that have small quantities to bring to market. The re-launched Wines to Watch program helps smaller wineries grow their production, distribution and sales through the LCBO. This program is designed to provide incremental depth and breadth of VQA assortment, highlighted in a visually dynamic way in 60 LCBO stores. Thirty-six new products are purchased for the program throughout the year,12 of these turn three times per year.
WOW (World of Ontario Wines) leaders: LCBO employees take pride in recommending Ontario wines and LCBO employees in 338 LCBO stores are specially-trained through educational programs run in partnership with Wine Country Ontario to promote Ontario wines with customers and colleagues.
Ontario Superstars: Every month, three VQA wines (two LCBO wines and one VINTAGES Essentials), dubbed Ontario Superstars, are featured in some 300 LCBO stores with eye-catching displays. They are also featured at no additional cost to suppliers in each issue of LCBO’s FOOD & DRINK magazine.
goLOCAL Program: Every other month, there is a goLOCAL promotion with a seasonal theme featuring up to five VQA wines. Promotional advertising is distributed in major newspapers and the products featured in the promotion are prominently displayed in stores.
Annual promotion: From mid-September to mid-October, LCBO showcases Ontario wines in all LCBO stores. This annual promotion includes: consumer tastings, in-store Ontario wine and food events, a VINTAGES catalogue featuring VQA wines, a major public VQA wine tasting event called Taste Ontario, advertising and social media elements and information on LCBO’s website www.lcboourwinecountry.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 showcases the diverse selection of Canadian-made wines, spirits and beers in a promotion called I Love Canada each July. In fiscal13/14, this promotion boosted sales of featured Canadian wines, most of them from Ontario, by 3.8 per cent.
VINTAGES programs: Local Find features an Ontario wine chosen every four weeks by Ontario wine buyer Astrid Brummer highlighting 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 also showcased in VINTAGES bi-weekly release catalogues and in stores. VINTAGES also showcases Ontario wine regions, sub-regions and varietal wines in stores every four weeks, (offset two weeks from the Local Find selection), through a program called Local Talent. Local Talent features three to four Ontario wines and serves as an opportunity to educate customers about varietals and styles from Ontario, as well as the regions and sub-regions where they are from. VINTAGES 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.
FOOD & DRINK profiles: LCBO’s popular magazine features Ontario wine and winemakers in all issues with the autumn issue showcasing Ontario wines.
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