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Serving More Local Wine At The Dinner Table

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Serving More Local Wine At The Dinner Table

McGuinty Government Strengthens Vineyards, Supports Ontario's Grape And Wine Industry

Ontarians will soon be able to enjoy more local wine at their dinner tables as Ontario grape growers begin to produce even more high-quality grapes to deliver VQA wines across the province and worldwide.

Through the Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program, growers will receive funding for projects that will grow and build long-term success for their vineyards, such as:

  • transitioning their vineyards to more popular grape varieties
  • irrigation systems, bird-netting, and new equipment
  • measures to mitigate frost and cold damage
  • consultation with a viticulture expert

This investment is the next step in strengthening Ontario's grape and wine industry by focusing support on VQA wine, improving clarity for consumers and supporting the long-term viability of the industry.

A strong grape and wine industry is part of the McGuinty government's plan to create new opportunities for jobs and growth.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is providing $12 million in support to help grape growers transition their vineyards to more popular grape varieties, or invest in vineyard projects such as irrigation, bird-netting, new equipment, and measures to mitigate frost and cold damage.
  • There are over 17 million vines on 15,000 acres in Ontario.
  • There are currently 146 grape wineries supporting over 500 grape growers in the province.
  • Program guidelines and application forms will be available June 30, 2011 at ontario.ca/improvingvineyards.

Additional Resources


“Ontario's grape and wine industry is a great success story. With this new program we're taking that success one step further by helping grape growers improve their vineyards and plant strong roots for the future. This summer I encourage everyone to choose Ontario wine when they shop, ask for it when dining out, take some time to visit their local wineries - and discover even more of the good things that grow in Ontario.”

Carol Mitchell

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“The Niagara region is home to outstanding vineyards and wineries that are important to our agri-tourism and our local economy. With this important transition program, we are helping our local growers produce the quality wines the consumer wants and ensure Ontario grown grapes get sold rather than being dumped on the ground.”

Kim Craitor

MPP for Niagara Falls

“This is another step in our broader strategy to help Ontario's wine and grape industry increase the quality of its vineyards and build demand for our wines, both here at home and on the international stage.”

Jim Bradley

MPP for St. Catharines

“Today's announcement by the Honourable Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, supports the Ontario's Government's strategy for growth in the Ontario wine grape industry. This four-year 12 million dollar vineyard enhancement program will assist growers with vineyard investments that will strengthen our role in producing great Ontario wines. We value and thank the Government of Ontario for their support and commitment to 100% Ontario grown.”

Bill George

Chair, Grape Growers of Ontario

“The Wine Council of Ontario applauds the government's efforts to grow and enhance the quality of Ontario's viticulture. This new program will help wine grape growers make improvements to their vineyards that will directly and positively impact on building and growing our markets for VQA wines. This next step in the government's strategy will continue to allow our grape growers to position themselves for greater sustainability.”

Hillary Dawson

President of the Wine Council of Ontario

“The WGAO, representing both grape grower and winery members, is pleased that the government has created a new transition program to directly support the sustainability of grape growers and wineries in the province. Grape growers and particularly independent growers are absolutely key to the success of Ontario's VQA and blended wines in the market place. High quality, locally grown grapes and processed here in Ontario are the cornerstones of value to our consumers. We are certain that this program will help grape growers improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations which can only enhance our quality and competitiveness as an industry.”

Patrick Gedge

President and CEO, Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario

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