Celebrating Our History


The Grape Growers of Ontario Marketing Board was formed.


Do you love Welch's brand grape products? The Niagara Grape Growers Co-operative was selling it out of the largest modern processing plant back in 48'.


What's better than a year of the highest quality grapes? Not much. Everyone from wineries, juice processors and home wine-makers wanted a taste. We exported over 4,000 tons to the U.S. Here trucks are waiting to unload grapes at Bright's Winery.


This is Ralph Crowther, research scientist in the wine production sector, testing the sugar content of a sample with a Brix Hydrometer.


Grape grower Howard Staff demonstrates a prototype of a mechanical harvester built by Cal Plummer of Hastings, Michigan. The harvester shakes off bunches of grapes into the boxes below.  It was pulled behind a regular farm tractor. A second vehicle followed the harvester with a supply of boxes, and a third would be needed to haul the full containers away.




Being named a "mammoth tank" wasn't enough. Here, it is completing an expansion of 750,000 gallons to increase storage capacity at Jordan Wine Ltd. Due to the "mammoth" size of the tank, railway officials were needed for special routing and handling. By the end, the winery’s storage was brought to 6,000,000 gallons in total.


Powell food was the largest purchaser of grapes and producer of grape juice. On the Powell Foods Ltd grape juice line, typically, 185 bottles were packaged per minute.




Harvesting around 100 tonnes of grapes per day and one and a half acres per hour and being the only one in Canada able to do it, it could only be the first Mechanized Grape Harvester.


Students from Golden Ave School in South Porcupine restrain themselves as they gaze at the grape jam line at Powell Foods Ltd.  At right, their principal, Don Critchley, listens as plant manager John Collard explains the operation.


Today, we plant 1210 vines per acre. Here the grape growers are planting around 700-750 plants per acre. The tractor drops the vine roots which are put into place by the people following.


Wine tastings, fashion shows, sports events, an air show, not one, but TWO parades, and royalty! This is what goes on during the ten day festival and 19th season of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.






No more pulling a harvester behind the tractor. Introducing the first Chisolm Ryder - self propelled and the ability to harvest six to eight tons of grapes per hour.


Who's the man that was greeted by swarming Niagara citizens for an autograph whenever he visited? That would be Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He always responded to the autograph requests with enthusiasm and friendliness.



While on her Royal Tour, Her Majesty, at a civic dinner with Kingston Mayor George Speal, enjoyed Canadian sparkling wine with her meal. That calls for a toast.



The Month: November. The place: Toronto. The Event: The Royal Winter Tour. With a guest list including Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips, plus a menu of spring lamb chops, tomatoes Dubary with Canadian red wine and Canadian sparkling wine; Sounds like a great night.


This was a year of proving the predictions made in the late 40s to be wrong. It was said that the French Hybrids would not be able to grow or produce grapes. In turn, due to research, breeding and testing, 77' marked the year that French hybrids and Vinifera varieties exceeded sales of the traditional Labrusca variety. Success tastes good.


Harvesting the ability of technology for Niagara's grape crop.


Our grapes are so good, why not put them in desserts? In 83' that’s exactly what we did exclusively for the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival's first annual Celebrity Luncheon held in St. Catharine’s. Brock MPP and Ontario Deputy Premier Bob Welch served up the first pieces of the dessert.





The year the Ontario Wine Content Act had banned Labrusca grapes for table wine as of September 1st. The Concord, which is one of the oldest grape varieties in Niagara, got the squeeze as well. Though it was banned for table wine, it could still be found in grape juice and jams.