BACKGROUNDER: LCBO SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO WINE
June 13, 2016
The LCBO’s Three-Year Strategic Plan (2016/17 – 2018/19) includes growing the sales of local Ontario products as one of its objectives. The following LCBO initiatives help build a sustainable and competitive local wine industry:
Sales performance: Sales of Ontario wine through LCBO and VINTAGES were $456 million in fiscal 2015-16, almost 8 per cent higher than the year before. Of that, $139 million was VQA sales, up 7.4 per cent over 2014-15. VQA growth continues to outpace imports, with red and white wines growing by 7.9 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively. VQA sparkling achieved $3.74 million, up 10.7 per cent and Ontario Icewine sales grew by 3.4 per cent, totaling almost $6.5 million. International Canadian Blends grew 8.5 per cent in fiscal 2015-16, with sales of more than $275 million. LCBO sales of VQA wine have more than doubled since 2006-07.
Large product selection: LCBO stores regularly carry more than 500 Ontario-produced wines, including some 300 VQA wines. VINTAGES offers 27 regularly stocked VQA wines and an additional 320 are available through VINTAGES online and the bi-weekly release catalogue. We proudly sell VQA wines from more than 100 different Ontario wineries and sold more than 1,200 different VQA wines in fiscal 2015-16.
Our Wine Country boutiques: Select LCBO stores are home to distinctive boutiques that have the look and feel of a trip to wine country. To date, LCBO has opened 20 Our Wine Country boutiques which feature a dream assortment of the best Ontario products available, including store-exclusive products, hard-to-find, niche, and ultra-premium items.
Prominent shelf space/location: Prominent shelf space/location: Ontario wines are prominently featured as a focal point on wooden fixtures at the front of most stores. LCBO looks for opportunities to promote VQA to customers in our stores through displays, promotional materials and via staff training.
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 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 160 LCBO stores.
WOW (World of Ontario Wines) leaders: LCBO employees take pride in recommending Ontario wines and approximately 400 LCBO employees are specially-trained through educational programs run in partnership with Wine Country Ontario to promote Ontario wines with customers and colleagues. Store staff are also encouraged to taste up to two VQA wines every period and to create personalized shelf talkers to showcase their recommendations.
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. More information can be found here www.lcboourwinecountry.com.
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, advertising and social media elements and information on LCBO’s website. No other wine-producing country or region is supported with a major annual LCBO promotion.
VINTAGES programs: Local Find features an Ontario wine which is chosen monthly by LCBO’s Ontario wine product manager. The promotion highlights VQA wines that deliver value from a quality and price perspective. 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.
FOOD & DRINK profiles: LCBO’s popular magazine features Ontario wine and winemakers in all issues with the autumn issue showcasing Ontario wines.