Posted by Abe Sauer on April 2, 2010 08:15 AM
"Canadian wine country" may sound absurd to those not in the know but the land of the maple leaf also boasts a robust fermented grape industry in Ontario. One challenge for local vintners though is that many Canadians might not know this.
Even worse, many Canadians who do know this are having trouble figuring out just which wines are home-stomped and which are imports. Consumers looking to buy local can identify 100-percent Ontario-made wines by noting the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance of Ontario) symbol. The problem? Grape Growers chairman Bill George Jr. explains, "Several studies have shown a lot of customers don't know what VQA means." However, the alliance has a solution. Too bad it is more of the same.
In the interest of helping consumers better identify the Ontario-made brand, the organization's marketing board introduced a new, very characteristic logo: A clutch of purple grapes surrounded by a trillium flower. The logo is more colorful and noticeable than the old black VQA version.
However, the new logo does not advance the winemakers beyond their existing quandary. While a more colorful, attractive logo may be an improvement in theory, the fundamental problem remains; if a lot of customers did not know what VQA means, why are they going to know what the new (prettier) logo means?
What the alliance really needs is a strong, extensive outreach and education program for its brand. This is especially true since the alliance's marketing board says the new logo is intended only to compliment the existing VQA symbol, not replace it.