Brock's grape and wine research centre giving Ontario's economy a boost

21 January 2016 | Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

A new study shows that Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) contributed more than $91-million and the equivalent of 307 jobs to Ontario’s economy in 2014-15.

Conducted by the management consulting firm MDB Insight, the economic impact study found that investments in CCOVI’s industry-driven research and education are translating into job and business growth across Ontario.

CCOVI is an internationally recognized research unit focused on addressing the needs of Canada’s grape and wine industry. The only research centre of its kind in Canada, CCOVI’s activities range from complex laboratory research to in-the-field programs that alert grape growers to imminent threats from severe weather.   

Its director, Debbie Inglis, says the economic impact is a culmination of the programs and services that CCOVI has developed and transferred to the industry over the past decade.

“The size of CCOVI’s impact on the industry demonstrates that the institute’s combination of research, outreach and education activities are not only being used, but also embraced by the industry they were designed for,” she says.

Of the $91-million overall impact, CCOVI’s research programs and services contributed an annual economic impact of more than $86 million in 2014-15.

To gauge its impact, the consultants evaluated CCOVI programs and services in seven categories: grapevine cold hardiness, ladybugs, new wine styles, Icewine, CCOVI services, workshops and seminars, and conferences. These programs provide both knowledge and hands-on tools or processes that the industry can use.

The study also directly attributed more than $4.7 million worth of economic impact to Brock’s investment in CCOVI and government-and-industry supported research and development.

For Brock’s senior administration, the results illustrate the importance of partnerships between universities and communities around them. 

"This report highlights CCOVI’s significant impact on Ontario's grape and wine industry,” says Brock President Jack Lightstone. “It shows how Brock’s commitment to partnership is transforming the university’s innovative research into real-life solutions that benefit communities across Ontario and Canada."   

“At the heart of Brock’s culture of research leadership is our commitment to co-creating new knowledge with our community partners,” says Vice-President of Research Gary Libben. “Together, we mobilize our knowledge, skills and creativity for the betterment of Niagara and beyond.”

Local industry organizations have welcomed the report:

Patrick Gedge, president and CEO of the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario: “The new economic impact study carried out by a well-recognized consulting company demonstrates the short and long term importance of CCOVI to the wine and grape industry and community at large.” 

Bill George, chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario: “Cool climate viticulture has its own unique advantages as well as challenges. This economic impact study validates the importance of CCOVI to Ontario’s economy and the grape and wine industry.”

Allan Schmidt, chair of the Wine Council of Ontario: “CCOVI’s newly published Economic Impact Report demonstrates the important role research contributes to Ontario’s grape and wine sectors. This informative report will aid wineries and growers in future business decision-making, which benefits the entire industry.”

The full report can be found here: http://brocku.ca/flipbook/ccovi/2014-2015/eia/

About CCOVI

Located at Brock University in St. Catharines, an hour from the Toronto area, CCOVI is an internationally recognized research institute that advances the interests of the grape and wine industry by investing time and resources on its research priorities. Established in 1996, CCOVI works in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario, the Wine Council of Ontario and the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario. Its network extends to external academic communities, federal and provincial research organizations, regional grape and wine industry groups across Canada and cool climate wine regions around the world.

For more information: 
Kaitlyn Little, Marketing and Communications Officer, Brock University klittle@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x4471