This past June, a number of disturbing sexual misconduct allegations regarding a well-known Canadian winemaker emerged, prompting the LCBO to stop selling his products (along with multiple well-known Toronto and GTA-area restaurants).
Now, a news release from the once-embattled Norman Hardie Winery indicates that the liquor retailer will resume selling the vino in the not-too-distant future.
“I am pleased with the LCBO’s decision to resume sales of our wines,” said Norman Hardie, founder of the Norman Hardie Winery, in a news release.
“We have taken several steps over the past several months to ensure our winery is a safe and respectful workplace and am grateful for the support of many long-time past and present employees at the winery, friends in the community and loyal customers during this time.”
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A few months ago, the Globe and Mail revealed that multiple women had come forward with complaints about Norman Hardie, a Prince Edward County-based vinter who has quickly become a rockstar in the growing wine region.
The Globe’s report featured allegations from over 20 people. Some of the women who came forward were former employees who called the work environment “hedonistic,” and many claimed they were groped or kissed against their will while working for Hardie.
According to the Globe, 18 other people alleged Hardie asked them for sex and exposed them to pronography at the winery.
On June 20, Hardie addressed the allegations in a statement.
To all those who felt marginalized, demeaned or objectified while working for or alongside me, I am truly very sorry. pic.twitter.com/0wxLqPl4sP
— Norman Hardie Winery (@normhardie) June 20, 2018
In the statement, Hardie said that many of the allegations against him were true.
“Some of the allegations made against me are not true, but many are. Several years ago, I was approached by trusted colleagues who expressed concern about our work environment becoming too familiar and, specifically, with my behaviour and language,” Hardie wrote.
“I was also told that the socializing and overly-familiar bantering with colleagues needed to stop. I took this to heart and have since worked hard to change my behaviour. But I clearly have much more work to do” he wrote.
“Behavior and language I viewed at the time as harmless or good-natured was anything but. This was particularly true given the position of power I was in. That position of power almost certainly explains why it took several years for anyone to confront me over my behavior.”
In the statement, Hardie said he was working to revamp the culture at his winery.
Hardie says that before the Globe broke the story, he directed the winery to hire an independent advisor to conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of the workplace and culture at the Winery.
Hardie says the advisor “did not find any examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.”
The news has been met with mixed reactions, including strong words from acclaimed Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg.
This is profoundly disappointing. There’s just no sense that he’s done anything to deserve the forgiveness and confidence of the restaurant community. Wow @LCBO pretty terrible. https://t.co/HPbYHCHDPz
— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) December 5, 2018
An LCBO spokesperson told insauga.com that the choice of whether or not to purchase the brand’s products will now be in the hands of the consumer.
“After careful review and consideration, we will be reinstating our regular supply of Norman Hardie winery products. We will begin restocking inventory in the coming weeks and leave the choice to purchase Norman Hardie Products in the hands of our customers.”