Year 2 ISC Projects

In 2012, there were twenty three projects initiated or continued from Year 1. Below you will  find a description and report for each.

Third Party Testing

Funding was again provided through OVIP to third party testing at Brock University during the 2012 harvest. Using this alternative and technological third party, growers were able to receive grape quality samples at any time during harvest.  This testing has been used to improve the validity of test results through the entire industry.

Equipment has been purchased to further increase the capacity of third party testing in more remote appellations such as Prince Edward County and southwestern Ontario. This new equipment will allow for testing to occur immediately following the harvest of grapes.

Inversion Towers

This project builds upon the existing weather-monitoring infrastructure in place throughout Niagara, Prince Edward County and Erie North Shore and will provide direct value to growers who have invested in wind machine protection, as well as those who are considering an investment in cold hardiness protection.

WIN installed 10, ten-meter inversion towers throughout the province’s viticultural areas along with 2, 20-meter towers that were refurbished from previous studies. These towers will allow growers to monitor temperature inversions through the colder months of the year so that they can operate their wind machines in an efficient and responsible way. Inversion data can be obtained through

Sustainability Module

Currently, we do not have a “certified sustainable” wine program in Ontario and this project is being developed so that those growers and wineries who wish to become certified may do so to meet a specific niche in the marketplace.  In order to have a recognized certification system, practices from the vineyard through to the wine need to be part of the program. 

The intent is to incorporate existing best management practices without being overly restrictive, while at the same time providing a certification system that is comparable to the other grape growing regions around the world.

The module will be available to growers through the GGO's e-grape system once complete.

Vine Certification

The vine certification program has been in development for 6 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.  

Weather Information

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. This project was completed within the original budget allocation. Weather data can be obtained through

International Speaker Program

Partnering with OMAFRA and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, the Grape Growers of Ontario sponsored Professor Dr. Joachim Schmid of the Geisenheim Research Centre Department of Grapevine Breeding and Grafting from Germany, whose specialty is grapevine rootstock breeding, to speak at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in February 2013. His focus was on pinot noir clones and Riesling clones. The information provided understanding into the ability of newly developed varietal clones in Europe that are advantageous in reducing input costs of grape growers. During his presentations there was a lot in interest from Ontario grape growers in these specific clones.

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 initially in Year 1 to research the effect of Abscisic Acid applications on grapevine cold hardiness.  This project finished up in the spring of 2012 and the findings show great potential for grape growers to acclimate their vines to winter temperatures quicker. The one drawback is border restrictions between Canada and the US which caused some problems for the researchers and will certainly cause problems for growers trying to access the product.

Geotextiles Research

Funding was provided to the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOV) at Brock University to research the potential of using a geotextile material to combat winter injury as a cost effective alternative to wind machines. Currently, researchers are starting to remove the material from the vines and recording the data. Later in the spring a final report will be available. The initial results seem positive in that they can combat winter hardiness but take a lot of manual effort to apply before winter and remove after winter and occasional maintenance during winter. This method might be more suited to growers in Prince Edward County where they currently bury their grapevines during winter.



Winter Injury Bud Sampling

Winter Injury Bud Sampling samples various vineyards from Niagara and Southwestern Ontario to assess the level of damage grapevines sustained over the winter months. Ker Crop Management Systems was contracted to conduct the sampling.






Information Resource Development

The Grape Growers of Ontario had the opportunity to attend a 2-day viticulture conference in July 2012. This conference had presentations from across the grape growing sector that gave insight and updates on the direction of the industry. The conference also allowed the Grape Growers of Ontario to gain perspective with current and future ISC projects.

Presentations included a cold hardiness prevention method from Oregon where they can predict the level of winter damage daily. There was a demo of the BC sustainability program that allowed the Grape Growers of Ontario to what growers were looking from a working sustainability model. An integrated pest management presentation updated the industry on new products, current methods of pest management and new research available to growers.

2012 GPS Mapping

The Grape Growers of Ontario contract Agricorp to GPS map vineyard blocks on a yearly basis. The information collected allows growers to use the vitis database as a mapping tool from work assignments to vineyard planning. The GPS information collected also flows into the Grape Tracker database nightly which growers can then record their spray records online in an easy to use tool.

Soil Moisture Factsheet

Through the 2012 growing season, growers were challenged with hot dry weather causing draught conditions. Those growers who had access to water used it on a regular basis. The objective of this project was to assist growers’ water management strategy to be more efficient with their water use while maintaining proper hydration levels in their vineyards.

The project required the assimilation and distillation of various studies and the production of a user-friendly information guide to efficient water usage.

Online Grower Training-Grape Tracker

The Grape Growers of Ontario held training sessions for grape growers on how to use the grape tracker database to record sprays. These demonstrations were held online and growers were able to grasp the concepts and the benefits of the database. Uptake and usage increased substantially after these training sessions.





Spray Drift Workshops

These workshops were held throughout Ontario in late spring 2012. The objective of these workshops was to calibrate their sprayers, optimize their sprayer settings to reflect the size, shape and density of their crop for the best performance and confirm sprayer performance using water- and oil-sensitive paper. The growers attended were astonished that they could have a 30% savings in pesticide costs with proper maintenance and calibration of their sprayers.




International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration

The international Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration had an amazing turnout for the education sessions and industry events were sold out well before the events took place. Over the course of the 3 days there were roughly 2000 people who attended these events and sessions. There were growers, wineries and industry representatives in addition to the public that attended the events. The sessions provided insight into the challenges of growing grapes in such a cool climate as well as other regions around the world and promoted the successes of Ontario cool climate chardonnay to growers and the public. Building on the success, the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration is looking to increase capacity so that even more people can attend.

Insight Conference

The Grape Growers of Ontario had the opportunity to attend an industry conference in March 2013. The Summit has an impressive roster of speakers from North America to examine and identify how the grape and wine industry can move forward by working together. This Summit provided all who attended, the chance to be heard and listen about the challenges of competing in the international marketplace.

Varietal Plan Handbook Update

The Varietal Plan was amended to reflect industry changes. This revision was re-printed and sent to all growers and industry representatives.





South Coast New Grower Workshop

Norfolk County has a surge of interest in grape growing. Working with the Ontario South Coast Wineries & Growers Association, the Grape Growers of Ontario organized a new grower workshop that provided presentations and information binders on growing grapes in Ontario. The objective was to consolidate pertinent information into a one day workshop with a take home binder for reference.

Riesling Experience

The purpose of the Riesling Experience is to bring together producers, trade, media and wine enthusiasts from Canada, the US and around the world to share and learn more about the diversity, beauty and versatility of Riesling. This 2-day conference explores the age-ability of Riesling from the vineyard to the consumer. 

Information Stands

Information stands have been developed for use at education sessions and other industry events. These two tripod stands show the history of the Grape Growers of Ontario which educate the growers and the public. The stands have been used at multiple events held by the Grape Growers of Ontario and industry since being developed.

Bird Control Workshops

Through the 2012 season due to drought and other factors bird pressure for grape growers was extremely high. As a result the bird control workshops were held across in Niagara, Essex County and Prince Edward County as a way to educate growers on the regulations, proper use, cost benefits of bird control and non-conventional bird control equipment. These workshops were well attended in all three locations for a total of about 65 growers.

Succession Planning Workshops

The GGO heldsuccession planning workshops for growers who are considering a succession planning strategy for their business. The average age of a farmer is roughly 54 years old and the goal of the workshop was to assist in implementing the steps required for a succession plan. By using KPMG, local lawyers and a speaker who specializes in family business communication we were able to provide a well-rounded set of presentations that covered communication with family and role reversal, tax and accounting obligations as well as legal advice around wills and estates.