Ontario’s Grape Growers Call on Government to Keep Moving Forward Together
As the Grape Growers of Ontario celebrate their 65th anniversary, their CEO Debbie Zimmerman used the kick-off of this year’s Grape and Wine Festival to acknowledge the importance of another anniversary they say has been integral to the industry’s recent success.
“Next month will mark the third anniversary of the implementation of Ontario’s Grape and Wine Strategy,” Zimmerman noted. “The success of this policy has fuelled our industry’s success.”
A key component of the Strategy introduced by then Consumer Minister Ted McMeekin was an increase in wineries’ overall Cellared in Canada content to 40 per cent Ontario grapes, together with a 25 per cent per bottle minimum (down from 30 per cent).
“This year has been a banner year for Ontario’s grape and wine industry, but it hasn’t always been this way. Three years ago, Ontario farmers were faced with no market for their grapes and dropped over 6,500 tonnes on the ground. The actions of Minister McMeekin and the McGuinty government have helped turn our industry around, but the job is not done,” Zimmerman said.
As those policies reach their time for review Zimmerman looked positively to the future. “Our message to the government is clear: we can’t turn the clocks back, we need to continue moving forward together. The continuation of the minimum content standard will allow us to build on recent gains and create even more jobs in rural communities across the province.”
Debbie Zimmerman, CEO
Grape Growers of Ontario, 905-401-2471
BACKGROUNDER ON THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF ONTARIO’S GRAPE AND WINE STRATEGY
The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization representing 500 grape growers in one of the cool climate viticulture areas in the world — an area that includes the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, Lake Erie North Shore and the emerging Norfolk County.