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Grape Growers of Ontario applaud Ontario government’s plan to allow wine sold at farmers’ markets


Note: The Grape Growers of Ontario issued this press release in regards to the government’s plan to allow VQA wines to be sold at farmers’ markets.

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 of the 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 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 500 grape growers in the province, including the three designated viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County.


Note: This is the Ontario government’s news release on the Ontario wine announcement today.

Ontario Government Supporting Industry Growth

The province is making it easier for consumers to choose Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) Ontario wine by expanding the LCBO’s new “Our Wine Country” destination boutiques and allowing VQA wines to be sold at farmers’ markets through the renewed Wine and Grape Strategy.  

The $75 million Wine and Grape Strategy will support local wineries and help the sector grow by:

  • Creating a program that would allow VQA wines to be sold at farmers’ markets.
  • Establishing an Ontario Wine Fund to support key winery and vineyard investments, such as specialized equipment and machinery, and enhanced marketing for the province’s wines locally and globally.
  • Creating a Wine Secretariat to be a one window point for discussions between the province and industry and identifying ways to reduce red tape to help make grape growers and wineries more competitive.

Launched in 2009, the strategy has supported significant growth in the sector, including doubling the number of VQA wineries, creating 2,000 direct jobs, record grape production, and the development of prime tourist destinations, from the Niagara Peninsula to Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore.

Strengthening the grape and wine industry is part of the Ontario government’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Quick Facts

  • The province is investing $75 million over five years through the Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy.
  • Located inside selected full-sized LCBO stores, Our Wine Country boutiques offer an expanded selection of VQA wines, helping elevate the profile of products from smaller local wineries, with more than 500 wines from across the province available.
  • VQA wines are crafted entirely from Ontario grown grapes and must adhere to rigorous winemaking standards.
  • Ontario’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 in 2008 to $268 million in 2013.
  • The Wine Secretariat will be led by Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food Kathleen Wynne and Jim Bradley, MPP, St. Catharines.


Kathleen Wynne

“I’m committed to supporting this innovative industry and I encourage consumers to choose Ontario wines first as they share them with family and friends this holiday season and throughout the year. They’re local, they’re good for our economy, and they support good jobs.”


Kathleen Wynne

Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food

Jim Bradley

“Niagara is home to outstanding vineyards and wineries that attract visitors and boost our economy. With this renewed strategy, we are helping the province’s wine and grape industry to grow, strengthening our economy and building Ontario’s reputation for quality wines.”

Jim Bradley

MPP, St. Catharines