Cover Story

Sidebar 3: The Big Wineries

Andrew Peller Ltd is located in Grimsby.

Labels include Schloss Laderheim, Royal, Sommet, Domaine D’Or and Hochtaler. Premium and ultra-premium brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Hillebrand, Thirty Bench, Sandhill, Copper Moon, Calona Vineyards Artist Series VQA wines and Red Rooster.

Andrew Peller owns and operates Vineyards Estate Wines and WineCountry Vintners, independent wine retailers in Ontario with more than 100 well-positioned retail locations. Andrew Peller Limited common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbols ADW..A and ADW.B)
Source: Andrew Peller Ltd.

Sidebar 2: Would end to LCBO monopoly help?

The LCBO has a near monopoly on the sale of liquor and wine in the province of Ontario. Grape grower and wine maker Steve Kocsis argues that monopoly should be taken away. “There are huge issues of unfairness in the marketplace and that goes right down to the viability of the grape growing industry,” he says.

Kocsis suggests that retail wine licenses be issued on the basis of land holdings; one retail store license for every 20, 30 or even 40 acres of orchard. Growers who don’t want to make wine could grant their licenses to someone who buys their grapes.

Sidebar 1: Fruit wineries left out

Fruit wineries could be part of the solution to the grape surplus, says Jim Warren of Hamilton, president of the Ontario Viniculture Association, which expanded from its central Ontario base last April. Warren says fruit wineries are restricted as to the amount of grapes they can use for winemaking. If wine makers could use more, some of the surplus would be used up. But the organization doesn’t have a seat at the table as grape growers and the Ontario Wine Council follow the Premier of Ontario’s directive and work out their differences this winter.

Cover Story: Sour grapes in wine country

Straighten out the industry or we’ll do it for you, says the province. Some growers say government policies make marketing wine harder than it needs to be


Thirty five years into his grape farming career, John Neufeld faces a triple challenge this year at Palatine Hills Estate Winery, established with his wife Barbara 10 years ago in Niagara on-the-Lake.

The Neufelds’ 80-plus acres of vineyards produce the equivalent of 100,000 cases of wines of all kinds, but not nearly all of that goes into their own bottles. Some grapes are sold to other wine makers and that’s a rub. Other wineries cite a surplus last fall and aren’t buying grapes like they used to.

Cover Story: IS THERE A MARKET for Ontario-grown hops and malt barley?

Industry experts and growers themselves express caution. But demand from local craft breweries is growing and replacing malt barley coming in from Western Canada may offer opportunities

Brian Besley cheerfully admits enjoying the occasional beer.

“I haven’t yet found a really bad one,” jokes the Shelburne-area dairy farmer and cash cropper, who has grown malt barley on and off for the past 10 years.
He favours a local brew. For him, local means a 20-minute drive south to Orangeville or a slightly longer trip to Creemore, both of which are home to craft breweries.

Cover Story: RURAL CONNECTIONS: A way to bring broadband to rural Ontario – or corporate welfare?

The Ontario government has launched an ambitious plan to bring high-speed Internet to rural southern Ontario. But its critics say that it favours large companies and involves too much paperwork


The province is putting $30 million into broadband Internet in rural Ontario. Companies operating outside of the cities say high-speed Internet is expanding both because of the government injection, and in spite of it.

Some new and expanded coverage is being offered by private companies operating entirely on their own. Andreas Wiatowski in Brant County is an example.

Cover Story: Paragon Farms: A cross-border partnership that is beating the odds

Who would make a substantial investment in Ontario's troubled pork industry when so many producers were hanging on by their fingernails or getting out? This Ontario-Michigan group thinks it has the answers

by Don Stoneman

Paragon: “A model of excellence or perfection.”
Source: Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.

When Ontario pork producers first heard about the creation of Paragon Farms last winter, few likely bothered to look up Paragon in the dictionary.  Instead, they focused upon a paradox and more than a few shook their heads in amazement.

Cover Story: The quest for answers – and compensation – for electrical pollution on the farm

Both animal and human health is suffering from stray voltage that can cause catastrophic problems in the barn. But nailing down the precise causes and where the responsibility lies has proved a long and difficult struggle


Driven out of business as a result of a raft of health and behaviour problems suffered by their herd, beef producers Ross and Darlene Brindley are suing Hydro One Networks Inc. and Edmonton Power Corporation (EPCOR) for a hefty $5 million. They claim that stray voltage from EPCOR’s wind turbines not only destroyed their herd, but has also had a severe impact on their own health as well. And they are not alone.


Strong demand, good growth potential, but is the leadership there?
‘The number of consumers of sheep and lamb is growing like gangbusters,’
says the chair of the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency. But tensions are
building over how to grow the market and producers are questioning
whether the OSMA leadership can take the industry to the next level


• Vince Stutzki was working in the seed industry when he and his wife Heather acquired a neighbour’s flock of sheep as a part-time enterprise in the late 1980s. It didn’t take long for the Paisley-area couple to recognize that there was money to be had by expanding their operation.

Cover Story: NEW FARMING ENTERPRISES: A history of hard struggles, some successes and occasional complete disasters


This past summer, Pigeon King International, a Waterloo-based pigeon breeding business that was the subject of a special investigative report in Better Farming’s December 2007 issue, closed its doors abruptly, casting hundreds of farmers on both sides of the border into financial turmoil. So how do you avoid the pitfalls so often associated with new agricultural endeavours or exotic products?

Though the craze to raise flightless birds is long over, a handful of ostrich breeders, such as Don and Deborah Simmonds of Rockwood, east of Guelph, remain in business on a large scale, serving well-heeled customers who want to put a new kind of meat on their table.