Matthias Oppenlaender Elected Chair of Grape Growers of Ontario

Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, is pleased to announce that Matthias Oppenlaender was elected Chair of the Board of Directors on Monday, April 11, 2016.

“It is a privilege to be elected Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario’s Board of Directors, and I look forward to continuing to serve and represent my fellow growers in this new role. The Board is focused on working with our industry partners and government to continue strengthening Ontario’s grape and wine industry,” said Matthias Oppenlaender.

Matthias was born in Germany where he studied agriculture and viticulture before emigrating to Canada in 1984. Matthias, his wife Monica and their five children live in Niagara-on-the-Lake where they farm over 400 acres of vineyards, and own Country Tyme Vineyards and Huebel Grape Estates. Matthias was elected Grape King by his fellow grape growers in 2006, and the following year was elected to the Grape Growers of Ontario’s Growers’ Committee and to the Board of Directors. In 2009 Matthias was elected Vice Chair of the Board, a position he held until being elected Chair on April 11, 2016.

Bill Schenck, a fourth generation grape grower in St. Catharines, has been elected Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Bill has served on the GGO Growers’ Committee and Board since 2009, the same year he was Grape King, and represents the Grape Growers of Ontario on a number of industry committees including the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, Niagara Region's Agricultural Policy and Action Committee, and Brock University’s CCOVI Advisory Committee.

The Board of Directors includes representation from across Ontario including Steve Pohorly and Erwin Wiens of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Jim Morrison of Lincoln, Brock Puddicombe of Winona, Debra Marshall of Prince Edward County and Scott Wilkins of Amherstburg, who are all part way through their terms as Directors. Kevin Watson of Niagara-on-the-Lake has been re-elected and Doug Funk Jr. is newly elected to represent growers from the Town of Lincoln.