What is the Market Matcher?

Market Matcher is a service that helps wineries and producers looking for new export markets to get their wines professionally reviewed. The wines are then showcased to agencies and importers looking for new wines to import into their respective markets. Samples are sent to our service, the wines are added to our database, scored and reviewed and then presented to agencies and importers.

How much does this cost?

A sample review and listing fee for one market costs CDN$250/wine. A sample for two markets costs C$400/wine.

For example, if you want your wine reviewed by only Ontario writers for the Ontario market it will cost C$250/wine. Alternatively, if you want your wine reviewed by only Quebec writers for the Quebec market the cost is C$250/wine.  If you want your wine reviewed and showcased in both the Quebec and Ontario market by two separate sets of wine reviewers the cost would be C$400/wine.

In addition to the review and listing fees there are importation fees charged by Canada customs that you will need to pay for. We have provided a spreadsheet for you to estimate what these fees will be.

To get 4 wines reviewed and listed, you want to send 12 bottles (3 bottles of each). Assuming the average cost of the 4 wines is C$5 then your estimated costs to get the wine imported, reviewed and listing would be.

Ontario Only:
4 x C$250/wine = C$1,000
Estimated Import Costs = C$160
Total for Ontario = C$1,160

For Ontario & Quebec:
4 x C$400/wine = C$1,600
Estimated Import Costs = C$160
Total for Ontario & Quebec = C$1,760


Are you associated with the LCBO or SAQ?

We are in no way associated with the LCBO or SAQ. This is a service designed for wine agents/importers through whom all wine must pass through to get into the Quebec or Ontario marketplaces. Our writers and their opinions are generally well respected by wine agents/importers. In addition, our reviews are accredited with LCBO and SAQ and can be used when submitting wines for approval.

What happens if my wine gets a poor review?

If your wine gets a poor review (i.e. below 85 points and is not recommended (NR)) that score will not be listed in our database.

Does this guarantee importation?

Absolutely not. Submitting a wine to the Market Matcher does not guarantee importation. However, it greatly increases the probability that an importing agent in your target market will become aware of your winery and wines.

What happens if samples get broken in transit?

You should buy insurance on all wine shipments and package them carefully. We are not responsible for broken samples.

How do I contact and agency/importer?

The agency/importer will reach out to you.

How do I submit samples?

Follow this link for all details on how to submit samples.

How long to get samples reviewed?

Once the wines have cleared Canadian customs, are in our hands and all outstanding importation/custom fees have been paid, our goal is to have the wines reviewed and on our site within 3 weeks. This of course will depend on the volumes we are dealing with at the time.

What are the expected importation/custom fees?

There is a complex formula used by Canada customs and the LCBO to calculate the importation fees and levies on samples. We have provided a spreadsheet for you to estimate what these fees will be.

For example, to import 12 bottles (one case) with an average value of €3.00/bottle would cost about €100 in import/custom/LCBO fees.

Average Cost Per Bottle Estimated Import Fees (per case)
€3.00 €100
€4.00 €115
€5.00 €130
€10.00 €200

Why should we trust WineAlign?

WineAlign is Canada’s largest and most respected wine review site. In 2020 we added over 13,000 new wine reviews to our database of over 150,000 wine reviews. Our highly respected critics help consumers make informed wine purchasing decisions at the LCBO in Ontario and the SAQ in Québec. Established in 2008, WineAlign has close to one million unique visitors annually.

WineAlign also organizes and conducts the prestigious National Wine Awards of Canada (now 20 years old). WineAlign has a trade database of close to 7,000 Canadian wine importers, agents and wineries.

WineAlign’s wine reviewers are the most respected in Canada and have international profiles. Their reviews are accredited with the LCBO and SAQ. If you are looking to get your wine listed at the LCBO or SAQ, a review on WineAlign will help.

How do I change agents/importers?

We cannot help you with that.

Who negotiates prices?

Once you establish a business relationship with an agency/importer you can discuss pricing for your wines.

What is NISS?

It’s an acronym the LCBO uses for it’s NISS (New Item Submission System). According to the LCBO, it is an easy-to-use, web-based tool that allows agents and suppliers to:

  • submit products for review
  • review LCBO Product Needs letters online
  • track your product submission online
  • track and reply to the Letter of Commitment

The following documents are from the LCBO website. They include a document with details on the process and a spreadsheet listing the types of wines they are currently looking for for Fall/Winter 2021.



Can different brands be associated with different agents?

This is possible but not common.

Can I use different agents for different markets?

Yes, but many agents have national coverage with operations in multiple provinces.

Where do I sign up and add my wines?