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Boosting Competitiveness and Innovation for Ontario's VQA Wineries

News Release

Boosting Competitiveness and Innovation for Ontario's VQA Wineries

Province Supporting Growth and Job Creation in Ontario Wine Industry

Ontario is helping the province's wineries and grape growers enhance their productivity and competitiveness through increasing supports for activities like marketing, business scaling and innovation.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal was at Sandbanks Estate Winery today to kick off Ontario Wine Week and announce updates to Ontario's Wine and Grape Strategy. These changes will better support Ontario's wine and grape producers so that they can continue to grow, create jobs and meet increasing consumer demand for world-class Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines.

The province, in consultation with wineries, grape growers and other industry partners, is enhancing programs that help producers to increase their productivity and growth, including:

  • Helping small and medium-sized wineries scale up and access new retail sales opportunities in the LCBO and grocery stores through the VQA Wine Support Program
  • Continuing support for the Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program, which promotes Ontario wines locally and in export markets, as well as wine-related tourism, viticulture improvements, research and innovation and better information on industry performance.

Helping the wine and grape sector grow is part of Ontario's plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy is designed to support Ontario wineries and grape growers to grow the industry with a focus on strengthening and promoting our world-class Ontario VQA wines.
  • Over the next three years, the province will invest a total of $45 million to support wine and grape producers through the VQA Wine Support Program and the Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program.
  • This investment builds on the $28 million already invested over the first two years of the strategy.
  • VQA wine sales in Ontario have grown from $196 million in 2009 to $318 million in 2016 - an increase of 60 per cent.
  • Since 2009, the number of VQA wineries in Ontario has increased from 106 to 161.
  • Ontario VQA wines are now available in some grocery stores and farmers’ markets across the province.

Additional Resources

Quotes

Jeff Leal

“I am confident that today’s announcement will support the continued growth and prosperity of Ontario’s wine industry. Through the renewed Wine and Grape Strategy, our wine and grape producers have benefitted from sales increases upwards of 60 per cent since 2009. Our government’s investments in the productivity and innovation of this sector ensures our grape growers and wine businesses are able to meet the demand for Ontario’s world-class wines.”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“The government's support for marketing allows our industry to make more people aware of the excellent wines that Ontario's wine and grape sector is producing. We appreciate this support and look forward to continuing to work with all partners to grow our industry, create jobs and create a climate that supports capital investment and increases tourism.”

Del Rollo

Chair of the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario

“The Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy has been critical to supporting the growth and success of VQA wine sales. This will help wineries better market their products, prepare for future changes in wine retailing in the province and meet the demand for high quality Ontario VQA wines.”

Len Pennachetti

Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario

“This program ensures the continuation of innovation in Ontario's vineyards that recognizes the importance of new technology and research, which keeps Ontario's grape and wine industry sustainable. The renewal of this program speaks volumes about the economic value each grape grower and winery brings to the province. Thousands of jobs are tied to the continued success of wines made with 100 per cent Ontario-grown grapes and the 17,000 acres of vineyards across the province. The Grape Growers of Ontario thank the government for this investment in our vineyards and wineries.”

Matthias Oppenlaender

Chair, Grape Growers of Ontario

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