Note: This is a news release from the Grape Growers of Ontario released today.
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Ontario’s grape and wine industry has been building a solid
foundation for a robust, strong future under a government policy that supports and
promotes this important industry, says the Grape Growers of Ontario.
The Ontario government plan to Strengthen the Ontario Grape and Wine Industry has
enhanced promotion for VQA wines, increased consumer access to VQA wines at the
LCBO, improved signage and labeling for all Ontario wines and established a minimum
domestic grape requirement at 40% of winery purchases and 25% in the bottle — but
that minimum standard is set to expire in 2014.
“When the provincial government introduced new policy and regulations for the Ontario
grape and wine industry in 2009, it also introduced more stability to an important
economic driver in the province,” says Debbie Zimmerman, Chief Executive Officer of
the Grape Growers of Ontario. “Good government policy works, and is welcome in times
of austerity when it has minimal impact on the bottom line. The government’s policy
directive is a self-supporting initiative that has made Ontario’s grape and wine industry
At a recent conference, Thomas Homer-Dixon from the Balsillie School of International
Affairs noted that the Ontario grape and wine industry contributes $10,000 to the
provincial economy for every tonne of grapes grown and sold. In comparison, a tonne of
oil produced from the oil sands contributes only $700 to the Canadian economy.
“We live in an Ontario where imported wines still dominate our market, commanding
three-quarters of the market share in the LCBO, yet each litre of imported wine
contributes less than a loonie of added value to the economy,” says Bill George, Chair of
the Grape Growers of Ontario. “We need the province to maintain its content regulations
in Ontario wines until we have realized sufficient growth in VQA wines to sustain the
Simply put, there has been solid growth in the Ontario grape and wine industry and the
changes of 2009 have given it a strong foundation, but content regulation needs to be
maintained to allow the industry to continue to be a significant contributor to the
“We can see that this good government policy is working,” says Zimmerman. “We need
more time to fully realize its benefits.”