Celebrating Ontario VQA Wine

- Award Recognizes LCBO, Wine Council of Ontario, and Grape Growers of Ontario for Contributions to the Greenbelt -

TORONTO, June 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation announced the 2012 winners of the Friend of the Greenbelt Award. Recognizing the significant economic contributions the Ontario wine industry brings to the Greenbelt, this year's award was shared among three organizations: the Wine Council of Ontario, the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).

"The economic benefits of the Greenbelt are vast and Ontario's wine industry is a significant contributor," said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "This year we want to recognize the growers, vintners and major retailer that together have significantly increased the amount of Ontario wine sold in and outside of the province."

According to a recent KPMG report, the Ontario VQA wine industry has experienced significant gains in the recent years. The LCBO sells more Ontario wine than any other region and VQA wine has the fastest growing sales. In fact, VQA wine sales at the LCBO have more than doubled over the past five years to over $110 million annually and now make up about 40 per cent of total Ontario wine sales.

The gains and successes can be attributed to three major players in the Ontario wine industry - the LCBO, Grape Growers of Ontario and Wine Council of Ontario. The VQA wine industry contributes significantly to the economy of Ontario and has created over 1,300 additional jobs in the last four years.

"The Greenbelt is fortunate to have a unique climate that provides farmers with the opportunity to grow grapes," said Mausberg. "With the province's leadership, we can continue to foster the growth of Ontario's flourishing wine industry."

Since 2006, recipients of the Friend of the Greenbelt Award have included Sarah Harmer, The Hon. Bill Davis and Plan B Organic Farm. Recipients have all contributed to the success, protection and growth of Ontario's Greenbelt.

About Ontario's Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Ontario's Greenbelt is over 1.8 million acres of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds - all permanently protected by world-leading legislation. In return the Greenbelt gives back $9.1 billion in economic benefits and $2.6 billion in ecosystem services annually to Ontario.

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is working to help farmers in the Greenbelt be more successful; to protect and enhance natural features; and to strengthen local economies. To learn more about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, please visit www.greenbelt.ca.

SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

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For more information, photography or an interview please contact: 

Julienne Spence
Acting Communications Director
(416) 960-0001, ext. 311

Carla Balabanowicz
Communications Coordinator
(416) 960-0001, ext. 306

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