TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - A record 2012 grape harvest and a global wine shortage have Ontario grape growers optimistic that 2013 will see more wine lovers than ever from Ontario and around the world enjoying award-winning Ontario wines.
"Ontario's harvest has set records, not just in terms of yield but also quality. The fact that this has taken place at a time of global wine shortages and increasing international grape prices provides an unprecedented opportunity for Ontario's grape and wine industry," said Grape Growers of Ontario Chair Bill George.
Mr. George's comments came as the Grape Growers of Ontario released the results from this year's harvest at the Queen's Quay LCBO store in Toronto today.
While the year started with one of the earliest springs in memory with risk from severe spring frost damage, the near-perfect hot, dry summer produced some of the highest-quality grapes ever seen. The 2012 harvest is an outstanding one at 65,800 tonnes of grapes, valued at more than $88.3 million, with fruit quality that continues to exceed all industry standards.
"At 65,800 tonnes, this year's harvest is more than half of the weight of the CN Tower," said Curtis Fielding of Fielding Estate Winery in Beamsville and 2012 Grape King. "Our expectations for the coming year are high, as we expect a stellar 2012 vintage."
Ontario's grape and wine industry contributes 6,900 jobs and $529 million in economic value-add to the province.
The International Organization of Vine and Wine recently reported that global wine production will fall to its lowest level in 37 years after weather damage in the world's largest wine regions. They say the wine shortage will be the equivalent of 1.3 billion bottles next year.
France, Italy, Argentina, Spain, New Zealand and Hungary have all seen production slide significantly, impacting both the supply and ultimately the price of those products.
While growers around the world suffered from poor weather, Ontario grower innovations helped to both protect and improve the quality of this year's harvest. Working in partnership with the Ontario Government through its Ontario Vineyard Improvement Program, Ontario's Grape Growers were able to employ early warning systems and wind machines to protect Ontario's vineyards from a killer late spring frost, and undertake numerous other steps to improve the quality of harvest.
"Success in this industry is so much more than the weather. Grape growers can thank their ongoing success in large part to our partnership with the LCBO, provincial government foresight in maintaining its per bottle content regulation, the strength in numbers needed to negotiate fair minimum prices with multinational global buyers, as well as the establishment and promotion of Ontario VQA wines," Grape Growers of Ontario CEO Debbie Zimmerman added.
About the Grape Growers of Ontario:
The Grape Growers of Ontario is the official organization representing more than 500 grape growers of 17,000 acres of vineyards located in one of the cool climate viticulture areas in the world — an area that includes the Niagara Region, Prince Edward County, Pelee Island, Lake Erie North Shore and the emerging Norfolk County. About 90 per cent of the grapes grown in Ontario are used for commercial winemaking, with the remaining 10 per cent used for juice, jams, other grape products and home winemaking.
Did you know?
- Ontario is the largest wine region in Canada and is on the same latitude as Burgundy in France.
- As a cool climate region, Ontario excels in the aromatic white varietals of Chardonnay and Riesling, and red varietals such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernets.
- Ontario's 2012 grape harvest is 65,800 tonnes of grapes with farm gate value of $88.3 million dollars, up from last year's 64,500 tonne crop and $78.7 million farm gate value.
- Ontario's 2012 grape harvest is one of the highest-valued crops in the industry's 65-year history, and is more than half the weight of the CN Tower.
- The wine sold from each acre of grapes generates $16,940 in provincial taxes and levies. Beyond the government revenue, the industry generates $529* million or $32,000 per acre in economic value-add.
- Each tonne of grapes sold contributes $10,000 to the economy, compared to a tonne of oil produced and sold from the oil sands which contributes only about $700 to the Canadian economy.
- The grape and wine industry supports more than 6,900* Ontario jobs.
- VQA wine is made of 100 percent Ontario grown grapes.
- Every litre of Ontario VQA wine sold generates $12.29* of economic activity while a litre of imported wine contributes less than a loonie to the economy.
- Since 2009, Ontario VQA wine sales have increased in the LCBO by 1.4 million litres, the equivalent of 2,000 tonnes of grapes.
- Ontario VQA wine sales have reached 15.9 million litres and $261 million in sales annually and represent 10.7 per cent of the wine sold in the province.
* Source: KPMG -Study of the Ontario Economic Impact of Ontario VQA Wines, Prepared for the Wine Council of Ontario, November 14, 2011.
SOURCE: Grape Growers of Ontario
For further information:
Grape Growers of Ontario
Debbie Zimmerman, CEO
Bill George, Chair