As noted above, in West Fraser the Supreme Court of
Canada recently confirmed that reasonableness is the standard of
review when considering a challenge asserting that the regulation
or rule in question was beyond the scope of the regulator’s delegated authority under its enabling statute. Based on this standard, the taste testing rule can only be set aside by this court if it
“is one no reasonable body informed by [the relevant] factors
could have [enacted]” (Green v. Law Society of Manitoba,  1
S.C.R. 360,  S.C.J. No. 20, 2017 SCC 20, at para. 20 (
 The Applicant relies on the evidence of John Szabo in sup-
port of its argument that the taste test or sensory evaluation is
incapable of furthering the objectives of the Act. Mr. Szabo was
the first Canadian to pass the final examination of the Court
of Master Sommeliers. He is also a wine writer, author, wine
industry consultant, wine educator, speaker and professional
wine judge. According to the Applicant, Mr. Szabo’s evidence
establishes the following:
(1) A sensory evaluation is not required to meet the standards
set out in the Quality Rules.
(2) There is no universally accepted, standard analytical definition of winemaking flaws.
(3) Minimal quality standards can be assessed more reliably and
accurately by chemical analysis than by sensory evaluation.
There cannot yet be any defined characteristics “typically
associated” with a young wine region like Ontario, especially
one that permits such a wide variety of grapes.
(4) Tasting panels are not capable of measuring the potentially
noxious and harmful substances that occasionally find their
way into wine, which are a sub-threshold of sensory perception.
(5) Tasters who are trained to screen for quality or character are
still operating from a subjective platform as sensory evaluation hinges on interpretation of an expected type or
character. There are no published definitions of what is the
appropriate “character” of a permitted grape and wine type
in each of the growing regions and sub-regions and it is
unreasonable to expect a wine producer to aim for a standard
that does not exist.
(6) The term “quality” is impossible to define and is necessarily
subjective. Even wine judges do not always agree on quality,
even when trained to evaluate the same quality standards.
“Quality is in the eye of the beholder.”