by BETTER FARMING STAFF
While other fruit growers have had weather challenges this year, the Grape Growers of Ontario is reporting their growers have experienced a good season.
“We harvested very early,” said Grape Growers CEO Debbie Zimmerman, adding, “We are at a great quality level.”
Ontario grape growers are also enjoying success in the marketplace for which Zimmerman credits the Ontario government’s 2009 grape and wine strategy.
“We used to have a content of 70 per cent imported and 30 per cent domestic (in a bottle of Cellared in Canada wine) prior to 2009,” Zimmerman says. “After 2009, they’ve gone to 25 per cent (domestic) in a bottle, but 40 per cent of their purchases must be domestic grapes.” That 40 per cent purchase requirement has made a dramatic difference. Wine grape purchases in Ontario have increased from 44,356 tonnes in 2009 to 62,028 tonnes in 2012. The requirement to buy 40 per cent when only 25 per cent is required in a cellared blend is balanced by wines that contain more than 40 per cent. VQA wines, for example, contain 100 per cent Ontario grapes.
Grape Growers of Ontario, celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, represents more than 500 grape growers in the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, Pelee Island, Lake Erie north shore and Norfolk County. BF