Wine Council of Ontario elects new Chair, President of Vineland Estates Winery to promote Ontario Wines

NIAGARA, ON, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ - With over 25 years experience in the Canadian wine industry, the incoming Chairman of the Wine Council of Ontario will be using his winemaking roots, marketing expertise and dedication for quality wines to inspire consumer loyalty for Ontario wines and work to drive an increase in distribution opportunities.

Allan Schmidt, President and Managing Partner of Vineland Estates Winery in Vineland, was elected as the new chair of the Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) at today's board meeting. He replaces Ed Madronich of Flat Rock Cellars who has spent his four-year term sharing his passion for Ontario wines with a focus towards fostering awareness and dedication to Ontario wines by Ontarians.

"Since moving to Ontario I have seen our industry show an inspiring evolution from just under 25 wineries to over 125, in a span of only 25 years.  I am proud to be part of this amazing growth and am committed to championing opportunities to increase distribution for the quality wines we produce in our province," said Allan Schmidt.

"Allan is leading the Wine Council of Ontario at a very exciting time. Our 87 members from across the province have a shared vision of growth and I know that Allan's leadership is focused on getting them there," said Hillary Dawson, President of the Wine Council of Ontario.

Schmidt's background in the world of grape growing and winemaking began in the wine region of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in addition to working in California and Germany. In 1987, he moved to Ontario to take up the position of Winemaker and General Manager of Vineland Estates Winery for founder Herman Weis. Today, Allan holds the position of President and Managing Partner where he has used his many skills to develop this winery into one of Niagara's premiere wine and culinary experiences. He also serves on numerous industry boards including the Canadian Vintner's Association (CVA), the Niagara Wine Festival and the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc (OGWRI).

As a new chair, Allan's efforts will be supported by a strong Board of Directors that elected Len Pennachetti of Cave Spring Cellars as Vice-chair, Jeff Aubry of Coyote's Run Estate Winery as Secretary, Norm Beal of Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery as Treasurer, Caroline Granger of The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery as Governance Officer. Newman Smith of Strewn Winery also joins the team as a new member to the Board.

The Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) is the champion of Ontario's high quality, authentically local Vintner's Quality Alliance (VQA) wines and of promoting wine country as a destination. As a non-profit trade association, WCO represents 87 wineries from across the designated viticulture areas of the province: Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore. Our members are grape growers, manufacturers and leaders in tourism in their communities. We are the future of Ontario's wine industry, which is a source of new investment, jobs and award-winning wines.

Image with caption: "Allan Schmidt, President and Managing Partner of Vineland Estates Winery in Vineland - New Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario. (CNW Group/Wine Council of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130619_C9716_PHOTO_EN_28285.jpg

SOURCE: Wine Council of Ontario

For further information:

Media contact:
Magdalena Kaiser-Smit, Director of Public Relations - Marketing & Tourism
Wine Council of Ontario for "Wine Country Ontario"
www.winecouncilofontario.ca
Twitter @winecouncilont
Cell: 905-246-1922
magdalena@winesofontario.org

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