March 27, 2013 By Marg Land
March 27, 2013, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont – In setting a realistic new target for growth of 50 per cent market share by 2020, Grape Growers of Ontario used their Annual Media Day to say that it doesn’t matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty – as long as the wine in it is made in Ontario.
“We think it is important that we set and achieve a goal to have half of the wine purchased in Ontario be Ontario wine,” said Bill George, chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO). “Ontario produces so many great and award winning wines, there is no reason 62 per cent of wine sales in the province should still be imported from other countries.”
Today VQA wine sales, which include 100 per cent Ontario grapes, account for 9.5 per cent of all wine sold in Ontario. When these sales are combined with the International Canadian Blends (ICB), which include at least 25 per cent Ontario grapes, Ontario wines make up just 38.3 per cent market share. Ontario’s grape growers are calling on their industry partners, the LCBO, and the provincial government, to set a firm target to capture 50 per cent of the Ontario wine market by 2020 and then to back that goal up with a real plan to achieve its success.
“We are local growers, so it’s only natural that local growth be our priority,” said George.
Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the GGO, reported that Ontario’s wine industry has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead.
“We are coming off a record harvest both in size and quality; 2012 is a stellar vintage for Ontario wines,” she said. “We will also see the LCBO come forward with its plans for new VQA Boutique and Express stores. All this, at the same time as there is a global wine shortage should help ensure Ontario wines are front and centre.”
Last year Ontario grape growers produced a record harvest of 66,014 tonnes. Growers continue to build momentum with exceptional grape quality.
“The only way our industry will maintain its momentum and continue to be a strong economic driver is for Ontario wines to replace French, Californian, Australian, Chilean and Italian wines in the shopping carts of Ontario consumers,” said Zimmerman. “Ontario grape growers are committed to working with our partners to make that a reality.”
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