Grape Growers Of Ontario Welcome Government’s $75 Million Announcement

Release Date: 
Monday, December 16, 2013

The Grape Growers of Ontario alongside Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and Minister of Agriculture and Food, are pleased to announce the renewal of the Grape and Wine Industry Strategy. 

Today’s announcement at Niagara College is a $75 million five-year program with a focus on 100% Ontario grown VQA wines.  “The Grape Growers of Ontario welcome the announcement made today by Premier Wynne, and look forward to building on the government’s strategy to grow the success of Ontario’s grape and wine industry,” said Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, Grape Growers of Ontario.

The program would allow Ontario wines to be sold at farmers’ markets, and establish an Ontario Grape and Wine Fund to support key winery and vineyard investments and enhance marketing for the province’s wines locally and globally.  A Grape and Wine Secretariat will be established and led by Premier and Minister of Agriculture Kathleen Wynne and Jim Bradley, Minister of Environment and MPP for St Catharines to provide the opportunity for government and industry partners to collaborate on future growth within the sector.

“Ontario’s grape growers appreciate the continued support from our Premier and her government.  The renewal of this program speaks volumes about the economic value each grape grower and winery brings to the Province of Ontario.  Over 14,000 Ontario jobs are tied to the continued success of 100% Ontario grown wines and the 15,000 acres of wine grape vineyards that are now in place across the province,” said Bill George, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. 

The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization that represents over 500 grape growers in the province, including the three designated viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County.



About the Grape Growers of Ontario:

The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization representing 500 grape growers located in one of the cool climate viticulture areas in the world — an area that includes the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, Lake Erie North Shore and the emerging Norfolk County. About 90 per cent of the grapes grown in Ontario are used for commercial winemaking, with the remaining 10 per cent used for juice, jams, other grape products and home winemaking.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is the largest wine region in Canada and is on the same latitude as Burgundy in France.
  • As a cool climate region, Ontario excels in the aromatic white varietals of Chardonnay and Riesling, and red varietals such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernets.
  • Ontario’s 2013 grape harvest is 79,401 tonnes of grapes with farm gate value of $99.2 million dollars, up from last year’s 66,014 tonne crop and $88.6 million farm gate value.
  • Ontario’s 2013 grape harvest will produce enough wine to fill 20 Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • The wine made from Ontario’s grapes generates $593 million in wages and $3.3 billion in economic impact.*
  • The grape and wine industry supports more than 14,000* Ontario jobs.
  • VQA wine is made of 100 percent Ontario grown grapes.
  • Ontario VQA wine sales have reached almost 16 million litres and $268 million in sales annually and represent more than 10 per cent of the wine sold in the province.

* Source: 2013 Report, Canada’ Wine Economy – Ripe Robust Remarkable”, by Rimerman.

For information contact:

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