Throughout 2011, the GGO, along with industry partners (Wine Council of Ontario and Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario) completed nine research projects under the Industry Support Component (ISC). These projects showcase the work that is being completed within the industry to improve production and efficiency. Each completed project from Year 1 is outlined below.
Effects of Abscisic Acid (ABA) Application on Grapevine Cold Hardiness
Funding was provided to the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOV) at Brock University to research the effect of Abscisic Acid applications on grapevine cold hardiness. Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that is involved in many plant processes. One of the key roles of ABA is mediating the adaptation of plants to stress (drought, salinity). Some of its key functions include leaf abscission, induction and maintenance of dormancy, growth control, as well as regulation of water loss in the plant.
Organic & Biodynamic Viticulture Workshop
Funding was provided to an organic & biodynamic viticulture workshop held at Southbrook Winery and Niagara College. This workshop’s objective was to have participants understand organic and biodynamic viticulture from conversion of vineyards to winemaking through the entire year.
Quality Improvement – Vitis Data Transfer to Grape Tracker
Computer programming has been developed to automatically transfer the growers’ GPS/GIS mapping data from Agricorp to the GGO’s Grape Tracker spray record keeping system. The GPS/GIS data transfer maintains the integrity and security of grower information. The Grape Tracker database allows growers to manage their spray records through a secure online database. This record keeping system will allow growers to track chemicals, spray dates and blocks sprayed in a simple intuitive system.
Deloitte was contracted to develop a tool that can be utilized to assess the relative health and progress of the grape and wine industry, specifically to assess the impact of the Ontario government’s 2009 industry strategy and complementary programs to develop new strategies for the industry. One criteria of the assessment tool is that it can be easily updated by the industry, uses publically available information, and is transparent to all stakeholders in the industry. The industry assessment tool provides key performance indicators to measure quality, market performance, financial performance, and investment and innovation.
A study done by Klimaat Consulting was completed to determine the effects of a wind farm on the local micro-climate and the effects within a vineyard. Phase 1 was a literature review of likely meteorological effects from wind farms on the Niagara microclimate. The results showed very little damage can occur due to wind direction and temperature inversions. As a result phase 2 of the Klimaat Consulting proposal will not be pursued.
Quality Improvement – Third Party Testing
Funding was provided through OVIP to third party testing at Brock University during the 2011 harvest. Traditionally, grapes are sampled and tested by wineries on delivery. This project provided an opportunity to create an alternative and technological third party, or independent test of quality parameters of grapes to improve the validity of test results for industry participants and build grape quality standards.
Phase two of the varietal plan has produced a handbook that easily explains the key points and strategies of the phase one report. The handbook can be viewed online which allows almost unlimited access to the information gathered in the varietal plan report.
The vine certification program has been in development for 4 years now. This program was initiated when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency planned to close the Canadian borders to imported grapevines from France in 2006. The program is now focusing on creating a system and protocols in Canada that will allow grapevines to be grown without the risk of carrying potentially devastating disease.
The Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN), which includes representatives from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia grape grower organizations has been in on-going discussions with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) over the past year to advance the Vine Certification program. These discussions have been critical in providing the basis for developing a go-forward plan.
Weather Information Project
Funding was provided to Weather Innovation Network (WIN) for analysis and data collection of climatic information that assesses the unique soil and topographic conditions of each appellation and sub-appellation. as well as provide real time weather data throughout Ontario that can be accessed by growers and assist them in monitoring their vineyards and crucial decision making with respect to wind machine use.