Celebrating Our Industry

September 23, 2015| Grimsby Lincoln News

With the Ontario grape harvest in full swing, there are lots of reasons to celebrate the Ontario grape and wine industry.  Check out this editorial found in the Grimsby Lincoln News:

It’s harvest time, so it should come as no surprise that grape and wine is featured prominently. We have the Grape Growers of Ontario’s celebrity luncheon with local country crooner Tim Hicks, the Grape King being crowned, and Tawse Winery winemaker Paul Pender explaining how it could be a banner year in the vineyards.

You’re not a grape grower or wine lover, you say? Why should you care?

Well, whether you enjoy a glass of vino or not, Ontario’s wine industry is a big deal, especially here in Niagara.

In fact, according to a 2013 report by the Canadian Vintners Association, which pegged the national economic impact of the wine business at $7 billion ($3.3 million of that coming from Ontario), an Ontario wine bottle brings with it $40 of economic spinoff.

Considering Niagara is home to about 85 per cent of the provincial total of grape producing areas, it’s something that we should take pride in, and a story that needs to be told. The industry as a whole draws in about 1.9 million visitors to the province annually, and that brings a huge spinoff, estimated at about $644 million, through tourism and tourism-related jobs.

It’s big for the economy. It’s a big employer beyond the wineries themselves. And it’s a big deal for us to have that right here in our own backyard. While there are still challenges and many barriers Ontario’s wine producers face (like growing the market share here at home — choose VQA on the label), the industry is something that should be celebrated in Niagara.

If you enjoy a glass of white or red wine, why not take the time to explore the many wineries here in West Niagara, but also beyond. Within a short drive, you can experience many different styles of wines, along with wineries that offer a different atmosphere and experience. Plan a route, grab some friends, choose a designated driver and check out the many different wineries Niagara has to offer.

Even if you aren’t a big wine drinker, take your camera and enjoy the settings, or some of the culinary offerings that are available at some of the spots.

Better yet, head down to Montebello Park and enjoy the final weekend of the Niagara Wine Festival. Wine lover or not, there’s food, entertainment, kids’ activities, and much more. This Saturday there’s also Meridian Grande Parade — an event filled with community spirit.

Explore your own backyard. Raise a glass to Niagara and all it has to offer. It’s a chance to enjoy a homegrown success story, but also support Niagara’s economy at the same time.