Ontario ponies up $12 million to help grape growers improve their vineyards

Note: The Ontario government announced today a $12 million Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program. Here is the press release as it was send from the Grape Growers of Ontario

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 (Niagara on the Lake): Today, the Honourable Carol Mitchell, Minister of Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced the 12 million dollar Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program for wine grape growers in Ontario.

This program provides four years of funding support for vine removal, vineyard preparation, vine trellis systems, bird netting, frost prevention, improved irrigation and other viticulture improvements.

This investment is the next step in strengthening Ontario’s grape and wine industry by focusing support on VQA wine, improving clarity for consumers and supporting the long-term viability of the industry.

“Our growers welcome the Government of Ontario’s investment in our industry”, said Bill George, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. “Collectively Ontario has over 15,000 acres of wine grapes, and each acre contributes $30,945 to the Ontario economy. Investing in and providing funding support to our growers just makes good business sense.”

“As growers, we are doing our part ‘growing the wines you love’ in Ontario, and today’s announcement provides the necessary vineyard investment support that will have a direct impact on growers remaining competitive both at home and internationally, “commented, Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario.

The Grape Growers of Ontario represents over 500 active growers on 15,000 acres in four viticulture areas (Niagara, Pelee Island, Lake Erie North Shore, and Prince Edward County). We are the advocate of all processing grape growers in the province working to ensure the market for Ontario grapes and wines expands domestically and internationally.