Monday , January 18 2021

LCN's move to restock Norman Hardie wines lacks transparency, says vintner

If you are picking up a bottle at the LCBO for the holiday season, you may notice that Norman Hardie wines are back on the shelves.

Last June, the LCBO decided to stop stocking the wines with the well-known Prince Edward County vintner's name after the Globe and Mail reported allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

"We may make further determinations as more information becomes available," the Ontario liquor retailer said in a news release at the time.

In Quebec, the SAQ also pulled the winery's products, and many restaurants followed suit.

Now, less than six months later, LCBO has decided to put Norman Hardie wines back on its shelves.

In a statement, the LCBO said it will "start restocking inventory in coming weeks and leave the choices to buy Norman Hardie products in the hands of customers."

'A lack of transparency'

Richard Johnston, owner of Chadsey's Cairns Winery and Vineyard, minutes from Norman Hardie's winery in Prince Edward County, told CBC Radio's Ontario Morning on Friday that he was "a little stunned" by the LCBO's decision.

"It's a public institution, and it's a very interesting statement that they should decide that it's time to just leave this up that consumers will decide at the store shelf itself, "Johnston said.

"There's a lack of transparency here, which is quite disturbing, more than the decision itself in some ways." Who was taking this decision? [in Prince Edward County] surely was contacted about it. It's all quite strange, "he said.

"I find it strange that a public institution would be taking the lead on this, and private owners are still feeling very sensitive about it."

The LCBO declined an interview with Ontario Morning.

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