Growing Grape Production for Ontario's World-class Wines in Niagara

Published on August 27, 2019

NIAGARA - The Governments of Canada and Ontario are supporting investments that will help Ontario grape growers increase productivity and grow their businesses.

Today, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, on behalf of Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced more than $75,000 in funding for key investments to advance the production of locally grown grapes.

As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments are providing this support to develop and implement new products and technologies that will help grape growers increase productivity, access markets, be more competitive in world markets and contribute even more to the economy.

Projects include:

  • $67,600 to develop a modern weather network with real-time information incorporated into eGrape, an existing industry database, which will assist growers and researchers to improve efficiency and productivity.
  • $8,700 to quantify and analyze wash water used to clean grape harvesters and conduct a survey to better understand water use practices among 500 grape growers.

"The beverage alcohol sector, including the province's grape growers, is an economic driver for our province. Our government is pleased to support projects that are helping growers to innovate and improve grape production while creating jobs and contributing to our local economy," said MPP Oosterhoff.

"Ontario's world-class wines are a success story for our province's agricultural sector. We produce some of the best wines in the world with high quality Ontario grapes, and the industry plays a key role in supporting important agri-food jobs across the province," said Minister Hardeman. "Our government is expanding retail opportunities for our wine makers and grape growers to help them grow their businesses, which will help grow our economy and result in more jobs for Ontarians. I applaud the hard work and passion our producers put into their products for us to enjoy."

"Ontario grape growers pride themselves in ensuring inside every single grape is their passion and connection to Ontario's soil and climate," said Matthias Oppenlaender, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. "We thank Minister Hardeman and welcome this investment in our industry. Our 100 per cent Ontario-grown grapes for Ontario-grown wines contribute over $4 billion annually to the Ontario economy, and employ over 18,000 people."

Ontario is home to the largest wine region in Canada, with more than 200 wineries in Niagara, Prince Edward County, the Lake Erie North Shore and other regions.

Grape production from almost 500 Ontario growers is used to make award-winning Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA wines), made from 100 per cent Ontario grapes. Ontario's VQA wines have gained international reputation for quality and had $374 million in sales in Ontario in 2018-19.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is internationally renowned for four signature wine varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.
  • The wine and grape sector contributed $515 million to Ontario’s GDP and supports more than 9,000 direct jobs in 2017.
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
  • Since June 2018, the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support for more than 2,000 projects to help eligible Ontario farmers, businesses, and the agri-food and agri-products sector innovate and grow.
  • The 2019 Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide is available at wineries and Ontario Travel Information Centres.

Additional Resources