hardie wine

LCBO is selling wine again from winemaker accused of sexual misconduct

It's been roughly six months since the famous Canadian vintner Norman Hardie admitted to allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace — enough time, apparently, for the LCBO to be cool with stocking his products again.

The provincially-owned alcohol distributor will soon resume selling Norman Hardie wines, according to an email obtained by the Globe and Mail.

Further to that, employees are being told to keep their mouths shut if they don't like it.

"A reminder that while sharing product knowledge is an important part of your job, adding individual opinions or speculating on matters outside of the LCBO is not appropriate," reads a portion of the internal email addressed to those who "do not feel comfortable selling or recommending his wines."

Hardie, who founded his award-winning Prince Edward County winery in 2003, was accused over the summer of perpetrating "a wide-ranging pattern of alleged sexual advances and sexual harassment" both on and off the job.

Some 20 different people had come forward to the Globe, which broke the story of Hardie's behaviour back in in June, with allegations of unwanted sexual contact, requests for sex, and deliberately exposing employees to pornography at work, among other lewd acts.

Hardie issued a public apology on June 20, but it wasn't enough to stop hundreds of restaurants from taking his wines off the menu.

As news swirled that companies such as the Drake Hotel, the JOEY restaurant chain and Chase Hospitality Group were dropping Norman Hardie wines, the LCBO surprised many by saying it would continue to stock the brand.

Soon afterwards, as consumer backlash mounted, the crown corporation announced that it "would not be placing new orders at this time" with the winery.

This has clearly changed, according to the Globe and Mail, as new shipments are scheduled to begin arriving in stores next week.

Ontario government officials have yet to respond to a request for comment on the matter, but Hardie himself said in a statement that he is "pleased with the LCBO's decision to resume sales of our wines."

Lead photo by

Jef Combdon

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