Celebrating Ontario’s Grape Growers and the 2015 Grape Harvest

Release Date: 
Friday, December 4, 2015

 

BEAMSVILLE, ON–Despite last year’s challenging winter and spring, Ontario’s grape growers have successfully managed their vineyards through the 2015 growing season to produce 52,888 tonnes of quality grapes with a farm gate value of over $62.38 million.  Included in the tonnage are juice grapes, and over 4,000 tonnes left hanging on the vine for Ontario’s premium Icewine.

Extreme cold temperatures last winter and spring frost in some areas made for a challenging growing season for Ontario’s grape growers.  “There was considerable variability depending on location and varieties of grapes”, says Bill George, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. “This summer’s warm temperatures that carried into the fall harvest season made for great quality grapes and we are looking forward to this year’s vintage of Ontario VQA wine.”

Through hard work and investment in technologies like wind machines, the 2015 harvest is slightly higher than 2014 although down from the 2013 record harvest of 80,548 tonnes. Ontario’s grape growers account for 69% of the tonnes of grapes grown in Canada in a normal year. The overall economic impact of the grape and wine industry in Ontario is $3.3 billion.

“The grape growers’ economic contribution goes beyond the farm gate revenue in providing jobs, supporting local retailers, and volunteering in their communities, says Debbie Zimmerman, CEO Grape Growers of Ontario. “We believe this is an important story to share with consumers.”  

According to a report prepared by Queen’s University last year called The Growers and the Vines: people and places behind Ontario wines, Ontario’s grape growers donate 79,000 hours every year volunteering in our communities. Additionally, their collective legacy of investment in the land of $684 million enhances Ontario’s landscapes and lifestyle.

The Grape Growers of Ontario’s marketing initiative, with funding from the Ontario Local Food Fund, celebrates our grape growers who are stewards of the land and whose legacy of investment enhances Ontario landscapes and lifestyle. With the majority of vineyards located in Ontario’s Greenbelt area, growers are in a unique position to message consumers about the soil, the land, the grapes, and their social economic impact on their communities, and to influence consumers to buy Ontario VQA wines which are made of 100% Ontario-grown grapes. Meet our growers at www.localgrapes.ca.

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For information contact:

 Grape Growers of Ontario
Debbie Zimmerman, CEO
905 401-2471

Grape Growers of Ontario 2015 Grape Harvest

Backgrounder        

  • Ontario’s grape growers have successfully managed their vineyards through the 2015 growing season to harvest 52,888 tonnes of quality grapes with farm gate value of $62.38 million. (as of December 1, 2015)
  • Grapes naturally frozen on the vine produce Ontario’s premier Icewine. Of the 2015 grape production 4,317 tonnes have been left hanging on the vine for Icewine production, which has the potential to produce 647,000 litres of Icewine.
  • VQA wine is made of 100% Ontario-grown grapes.
  • Ontario is the largest producing wine region in Canada growing 69% of Canada’s grapes, and 92% of Ontario’s grapes are grown in Niagara.
  • 1,509 full-time equivalent jobs and $40 million in wages and salaries are attributed to Ontario grape production1.
  • The industry has high levels of volunteerism and civic engagement, volunteering 79,000 hours annually to benefit local communities1.
  • The collective legacy of grape growers’ investments in the land of $684 million enhances Ontario’s landscapes and lifestyle1.
  • The total economic impact of the grape and wine industry in Ontario is $3.3 billion (Source: 2013 Report, Canada’s Wine Economy-Ripe Robust Remarkable)
  • Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization that represents 500 active grape growers in the three designated viticulture areas in Ontario (Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County) and emerging areas.

1 The Growers and the Vines: people and places behind Ontario Wines, Dr. Betsy Donald, Queen’s University & Donald-Morrow Research, March 2014