Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Vegetables
Growers want more consumer access to Ont. wine


April 6, 2011
By Grape Growers of Ontario

Topics

zimmermangeorgeApril 6, 2011, St.
Catharines, Ont – Over the past year, the Ontario government has made changes
that have put Ontario wines on a good foundation moving forward, but now the
industry must embark on the next steps to ensure the domestic grape and wine
industry will enjoy robust growth in the future, says the Grape Growers of
Ontario.

April 6, 2011, St.
Catharines, Ont – Over the past year, the Ontario government has made changes
that have put Ontario wines on a good foundation moving forward, but now the
industry must embark on the next steps to ensure the domestic grape and wine
industry will enjoy robust growth in the future, says the Grape Growers of
Ontario
.

“Ontario wine consumers
need more access to Ontario wines,” says Grape Growers of Ontario chair Bill
George Jr. “We have put in place a varietal plan. We have made prices
affordable. But there is only so much we can do if consumers can’t get access
to the wines Ontario grape growers and wineries are producing.”

Advertisment
zimmermangeorge 
Grape Growers of Ontario chair Bill George Jr. and Debbie Zimmerman, Grape Growers of Ontario CEO. 

The Grape Growers of
Ontario
propose key stakeholders in the grape and wine industry meet with the
provincial government to begin discussions on the existing wine distribution
network in Ontario and how it can be improved to boost the sales of domestic
wines.

“We’re going into this
with an open mind,” says George Jr. “We would like the government to work with
us to review the various options available to reshape the distribution of and
access to Ontario wines.”

For the industry to reach
its maximum potential in wine sales and Ontario wine market share, it needs
better access to the marketplace, says Grape Growers of Ontario CEO Debbie
Zimmerman.

“We need to shift our
focus to the future so we can be sure the excellent products we are growing
today have a place to be sold tomorrow,” Zimmerman says. “Increasing the access
Ontario wines have to the market will help Ontario catch up to the rest of the
wine-making world where domestic wines have a significant share of their own
market.”

Ontario wines have 44 per
cent share of their domestic market, whereas most other wine-producing regions
have a much larger domestic share:

  • Australia – 90 per cent
  • California – 63 per cent
    of the entire U.S. market
  • New Zealand – 57 per cent
    (New Zealand does not import grapes for wine, whereas Ontario includes blended
    wines as Ontario wines)

Ontario’s grape growers
are coming off a strong 2010 when a hot, dry summer and fall led to a 13 per
cent increase in tonnage harvested. Growers also agreed to a new pricing model,
introduced a new wine label designating 100 per cent Ontario-grown wine grapes,
are anticipating the beginning of a four-year, $12-million Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
transition program and, as part of that
transition program, developed a Varietal Plan to determine which grapes grow
best in this cool climate, making the quality grapes grown in Ontario even
better and improving the market for those grapes.

“We have completed the
first phase of a Varietal Plan that will identify the cool climate varietals
the industry grows best and have good market potential,” says George Jr. “This
will help us best align the Ontario grape supply with the demand.”

At its Media Day April 1,
the GGO also launched a redesigned website that will help it stay in better
touch with not only its members, but also Ontario wine consumers.

“In our ongoing effort to
remain in touch with the people who matter most to us, our new website will
provide industry statistics, tourist information about our Ontario appellations
and other reports for the general public,” Zimmerman says.