Ontario Investing $2.25 Million in World-Class VQA Wines

May 2, 2016 2:15 P.M. | Government of Ontario

Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was onhand to announce that Ontario is investing $2.25 million to help boost sales of Ontario's world-class Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines and expand tourism opportunities for the province's wine regions.

The province is launching the annual 2016 Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide to encourage tourists from across Ontario to experience and enjoy the great wines and wine regions Ontario has to offer. The guide will be available at wineries and in the summer issue of LCBO's Food & Drink magazine on May 4th.

The 2016 Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide provides information about 200 wineries in Prince Edward County, Lake Erie's North Shore, the Niagara Peninsula, and emerging wine producing regions. It  also highlights new trends in Ontario wine, offers touring and tasting tips and showcases Ontario's four signature wine varieties, for which the province has become renowned on the international wine scene: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.

Additionally, the province will be undertaking a re-design of the VQA Support Program to ensure it continues to provide targeted support that encourages wineries to scale-up, create jobs and grow Ontario's wine sector.

Since 2009, VQA wine sales in Ontario have increased by $103 million, from $170 million to $273 million, the number of wineries has increased from 133 to 200 and 2,000 direct jobs have been created in the industry.

Investing in Ontario's wine and grape sector is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.










Quick Facts

  • Ontario is home to the largest wine region in Canada and its wines are internationally recognized for their quality and taste.
  • The province is investing a total of $28 million through the Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program and the VQA Wine Support Program as part of the $75 million Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy.
  • This builds on previous commitment by the province to invest a total of $5.25 million to support wine industry promotions in 2016-2017 led by the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario.
  • As announced earlier this year, Ontario's wine and grape sector will also benefit from the introduction of wine sales in up to 300 grocery stores, starting with 70 this fall.













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“Ontario’s wine sector is one of our provinces greatest success stories, supporting a total of 7,000 direct jobs, providing exciting tourism opportunities and making an important contribution to our economy. With delicious VQA wines recognized around the world for their quality, our government’s investments are helping boost sales and increase tourism to the wine regions where they are produced. I invite Ontarians to check out the new guide and plan their trips to one of Ontario’s wine regions to experience the world-class wines right in their own backyard.” Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“Investing in branding and tourism are one of our top priorities. We are pleased to know that the government is supporting the promotion and marketing of Ontario VQA wines and encouraging greater sales of our wines.”
Seaton McLean, Proprietor, Closson Chase Vineyards

“The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario thanks the Government of Ontario for its support of Ontario VQA wines with the newly announced increase in marketing support. It will enable us to develop a high profile consumer campaign that will contribute to a significant increase in both the profile and sales of VQA wines. We are proud to introduce Wine Country Ontario’s new 2016 Travel Guide, which attracts visitors to Ontario wineries, driving record levels for wine country tourism, totaling almost 3 million visitors last year.”
Sylvia Augaitus, Executive Director of Marketing, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario

“The Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario is extremely pleased by the decision of the Minister and government to allocate the additional funding to VQA Marketing through the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario. There is great potential for growing Ontario VQA wine sales in the province and this will allow our industry more opportunities to reach out to consumers and have them experience our world-class wines.”
Patrick Gedge, President & CEO, Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario

“Today’s announcement recognizes the ongoing importance of investing in 100 per cent Ontario grown wines and as we all know all great Ontario wines start in the vineyard. The Grape Growers of Ontario welcomes the Government of Ontario’s commitment to growing our industry both today and into the future.”
Matthias Oppenlaender, Chair, Grape Growers of Ontario

“We welcome the government’s continued support to market Ontario VQA wines, which will help increase consumer recognition as the new wine in grocery channels begin to rollout. We also applaud the commitment to develop a new targeted VQA Support Program, focused on assisting small and medium sized wineries. This will help create jobs and drive growth in our sector.”
Richard Linley, President, Wine Council of Ontario