Ministry of Agriculture and Food, January 15, 2014: Ontario Government Supports Industry Growth – Ontario consumers can look forward to a wide selection of homegrown wine due to a record-breaking grape harvest for 2013.
The province’s grape growers harvested a record 79,756 tonnes of grapes valued at nearly $100 million. These grapes will produce enough wine to fill the equivalent of 1,134 Olympic-sized hockey rinks.
Follow these tips to reap the benefits of last year’s harvest:
- Look and ask for Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines when you shop or dine out. They are crafted entirely from Ontario-grown grapes and must adhere to rigorous winemaking standards.
- As a cool climate region, Ontario’s growers excel in producing high quality white wines such as Chardonnay and Riesling, red wines such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet, and icewine.
- Visit one of the many wine tour destinations from the Niagara Peninsula to Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore.
- Celebrate the Niagara Icewine Festival (Jan. 10 to 26) with wine and food pairings, discovery passes and family-friendly outdoor Ice Street Villages.
- Expand your menu with delicious Ontario fruit wines, ciders and craft beers and distillers.
Through the recently renewed Wine and Grape Strategy, the province is also making it easier for consumers to choose VQA wine by expanding the LCBO’s new Our Wine Country destination boutiques and developing a program that will allow VQA wines to be sold at farmers’ markets. The Wine and Grape Strategy has created 2,000 direct jobs since its original launch in 2009.
Strengthening the grape and wine industry and growing the province’s agri-food sector is part of the Ontario government’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.
- Ontario is the largest wine region in Canada and shares the same latitude as the Burgundy Region in France. The province’s wine and grape industry contributed an estimated $3.3 billion to the province’s economy in 2011.
- VQA wine sales in Ontario have increased by $100 million since 2008 — from $168 million to $268 million.
- Launched in 2009, Ontario’s Wine and Grape Strategy has supported significant growth in the sector, including doubling the number of VQA wineries, record grape production and the development of prime tourist destinations.