• Grape Grower of the Year 2014-2015

    Kevin Buis
    Glenlake Vineyards
    On behalf of the Grape Growers of Ontario we congratulate Kevin Buis on being chosen Grape King for the year 2014-2015.


  • Annual General Meeting Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at Club Roma


    All grape growers are invited to attend the 67th Annual General Meeting of the Grape Growers of Ontario.

    District meetings will be held prior to the AGM:
    District 5: March 26, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., Pelee Island Winery
    District 6: March 31, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., Ramada Hotel, Trenton


  • Grape Growers of Ontario Welcome You to WineONtour.ca

    Map your route to Ontario wineries with Grape Growers of Ontario's wineONtour.ca.  Customize your tour by winery name, location, wine style or varietal.


  • Growing Forward 2 Capacity Building & Implementation

     Growing Forward 2 (GF2) applications and program guides for Producer Implementation funding assistance are available. Next Intake will open November 10, 2014 and close December 11, 2014. Capacity building applications can be submitted at any time.


Changes to Farm Licence Plate Requirements

Starting January 1, 2015, vehicle owners wishing to purchase or attach farm plates to a new commercial vehicle over 3000 kg will need to provide documentation to demonstrate that they have a farm business.

Only those clients purchasing or attaching new farm plates to a vehicle will be required to show proof of farm business as of January 1, 2015. The new requirements will not affect any current farm plate owners who are renewing their farm plates.

Ontario Establishes Goals to Increase Awareness of Local Food

Learn About the Good Things Growing in Ontario
January 28, 2015 | Government of Ontario

Ontario is spreading the word about local food to help increase consumer awareness of, and demand for, the good things that are grown, harvested and made in Ontario.

Buying and supporting local food creates jobs and economic growth in communities across the province. As part of the Local Food Act, 2013, the Province has established three goals to increase knowledge about local food.

Spirit of Niagara Awards

January 28, 2015 | Niagara this Week

Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce celebrated community members at the Spirit of Niagara Awards this week.

The Celia Liu Award for Excellence in Hospitality went to Del Rollo, director of Eastern Estates and Industry Relations for Constellation Brands Canada.

“This award recognizes his industry leadership, serving on boards such as Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.,” presenter Erica Lepp said.

This year is the first time the Celia Liu Award has been presented in memory of Lepp’s sister, Liu, was who a member of the Chamber of Commerce board and served on a number of committees.

Rollo played an important role in launching the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery in 2001, which has resulted in “tremendous growth and success,” Lepp said.

“I am proud to present the Celia Liu Award for Excellence in Hospitality to such a professional,” she added.

AgriInvest: Investment for Managing Farm Risk

January 22, 2015 | Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

AgriInvest is a self-managed producer–government savings account that allows you to set aside money that you can use later to recover from small income shortfalls or make investments to reduce on-farm risks.

Get Online Access to Your AgriInvest Account

My AAFC Account provides convenient and secure online access to your AgriInvest account information. With online access, you can track the status of your application, check your account transactions, view current and prior-year statements, and communicate securely one-on-one with the AgriInvest administrators.

For more information and to sign up for My AAFC Account, go to www.agr.gc.ca/myaccount.

Changes under Growing Forward 2

A number of changes came into effect with the new Growing Forward 2 framework agreement. You can now contribute up to 100% of your allowable net sales annually and receive matching government contributions on the first 1%, up to a maximum of $15,000. The account balance limit has also increased, allowing you to hold up to 400% of your average allowable net sales in your account so that you can more effectively use AgriInvest as a risk-management tool.

Ontario South Coast Winery Association Year in Review

January 2015 | OSCWA

Here are some of OSCWA's notable achievements from 2014:
• Our Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ALUS, Alternative Land Use Stewardship, program for farm projects and in joint marketing efforts;
• VQA Ontario wines are now being produced by at least 4 of our members;
• We participated once again in Eat and Drink Norfolk, the Norfolk County Fair & Horse Show Harvest Dinner. We are also in force again at the London Food & Wine Show January 16 and 17, 2015;
• We made submissions to support our member, Bonnie Heath Lavender Farm & Winery, to Norfolk County Council about the operation of the Bonnie Heath Pit. A decision is pending in this regard;
• Winery Awards received and included the following:

  • Wooden Bear L received Honours and Best Value Awards for both Gala and Applicious at the Intervin International Wine Awards;
  • Bonnie Heath Winery opened their doors and was selected in the Top 10 of Norfolk’s Amazing Places by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve;
  • Burning Kiln Winery received a Lt Governor Award for Cab Frank (one of the top 12 wines in the Province) and was selected as the 2015 Official Red Wine supplier to the Ontario Legislative Assembly for 2013 Strip Room;

Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association Elects New Board Chair

January 14, 2015 | Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association has a new Board Chair. Vice Chair and fresh vegetable grower Jason Verkaik was elected to the position at the organization’s 156th annual general meeting in Niagara Falls on January 13. He succeeds grape grower Ray Duc, who has led the OFVGA Board for the past two years.

“Building relationships is critical for being able to work successfully on behalf of farmers, both within
horticulture and across the entire agricultural sector,” says Verkaik. “I look forward to working with the
OFVGA board and our member associations, as well as other farm organizations in Ontario and at the
national level.”

Verkaik is president of Carron Farms Ltd. near Bradford in the Holland Marsh, where the Verkaik family has been growing, packing, and shipping farm fresh vegetables since 1934. He first joined the OFVGA
board in 2010, and became the Vice Chair of the organization in 2013. He also serves as an ex-officio to
the Board of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association. In 2011, Verkaik was named a finalist in Ontario’s
Outstanding Young Farmer competition.

Former CEO of Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association Art Smith Receives Industry Award of Merit

January 14, 2015 | Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

The recently retired CEO of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) has been recognized for his long-standing commitment and contributions to the industry. Art Smith, who led the organization from 2003 until mid-2014, was presented with the Industry Award of Merit at the OFVGA annual banquet in Niagara Falls.

“Art has been a tireless advocate on behalf of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers for decades, first as a grower and board member, and then as a senior staff member of several horticultural organizations,” says OFVGA Chair Ray Duc. “It is an honour for me to present this award to such a deserving individual who has been responsible for supporting and enabling so many of our industry’s successes.”

Ray Duc, Chair OFVGA presents Art Smith with Award of Merit

Cold Spell Means Icewine

By Penny Coles, Niagara Advance | Wednesday, January 7, 2015 4:00:32 EST PM

Klaus Reif was out harvesting grapes for icewine Monday, when the temperature dipped to a perfect —10°C.

Klaus Reif couldn’t be happier about this year’s icewine harvest.

At —10°C , the temperature was perfect for picking. Although the harvest can begin at —8°C, Reif prefers it a little colder, but not too cold - the grapes get too hard. At 42 brix, the grapes had the perfect sugar content, and with an early January freeze, the yield was also good, before the birds got too many grapes.

And to make the harvest even better, Reif was out with six other men getting the job done in daylight - they began at 9 a.m. Monday morning, planning on finishing in about 12 hours.

Harvest Time Arrives for Niagara’s Icewine Producers

Cold snap provides days for wineries to haul in grapes
Grimsby Lincoln News|January 7, 2015
By Scott Rosts

ST. CATHARINES — While some hid indoors and huddled under blankets, the team at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery were celebrating the brutal cold this week.

The St. Catharines winery was one of many across Niagara Region that embraced Ontario’s deep freeze, when they were able to start harvesting the 2014 crop of icewine grapes on Monday. Days of cold weather provided the perfect window to harvest and press the wines. Under VQA rules, the temperature must be a sustained minus 8 degrees Celsius or lower before the grapes can be harvested and then they are pressed immediately while still frozen.

Paul Speck collects some of the juice being pressed from icewine grapes Monday at Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery in St. Catharines. Scott Rosts/Staff Photo

“The wind is pretty brutal, but it’s rare we get to do this during the day,” Paul Speck, president of Henry of Pelham, said Monday afternoon just hours after the winery started to haul in its estimated 150 tonnes of reisling, cabernet franc and vidal grapes. “We’re going to go around the clock to get this done.”

2015’s Early Cold Temperatures Ideal for Ontario’s Grape Growers to Harvest Icewine

January 6, 2015

St. Catharines, ON – Plunging temperatures have created ideal conditions to begin picking grapes for this season’s Icewine harvest. Growers will begin picking the grapes "naturally frozen" on the vine and press the juice that produces Ontario's and Canada's premier Icewine.

“Grape growers in Ontario are expecting to begin harvesting Icewine grapes this week as temperatures have dropped well below the required minus 8 degrees Celsius. Approximately 3,600 tonnes have been left hanging in the province for Icewine, which may produce between 540,000 and 576,000 litres of Icewine,” said Bill George, Chair, Grape Growers of Ontario.

Photo by: Mike Pohorly