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Ontario wineries invest in the future

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Wineries in Ontario are researching new grape varieties and adding capacity to move beyond the domestic market

Late harvest red wine grapes on the vineyard photographed with fall colours, Niagara on the Lake, Canada

Vineland, Ont. – Ontario wineries have been hard at work, making investments, growing capacity and improving the quality of their grapes.

In a statement, the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario, says the projects wineries have undertaken have been “vital not only to the communities that host wineries but to the province as a whole. The wine industry is worth $4.4 billion to the provincial economy, and it has been estimated that every $10 spent on Ontario VQA wines generates $40 in economic activity.”

Murray Souter, president and chief executive of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits, says in the statement that the industry has invested in such things as cool climate vininfera grapes.

“We have proven we can craft world class wines in this region,” says Souter. “Now we have to grow our industry not just for the domestic market, but for export as well.”


The Alliance explains in the statement that it has not been an easy “climb” for the industry in Ontario, which is only about 35 years old.

Some of the other projects wineries have undertaken – as listed in the statement – include:

Chateau des Charmes recently completed a $2-million expansion of its cellar, which included adding 16 French Oak casks, each 5,000 litres, adding 80,000 litres to the winery’s capacity.

• Colio Estates Winery invested $1.5 million to add 12 new tanks — adding 935,000 litres of capacity, enough to bring in an additional 1,000 tonnes — and purchasing pressing equipment to bring the entire winemaking process in-house.

Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits earlier this year opened its flagship wine boutique under the Lakeview Wine Co. banner, the first of a four-phase expansion that will see the winery add 3.6 million litres to its capacity, along with new warehouse space, a new bottling line, staging space and barrel room. By the end of it all, Diamond’s Niagara-on-the-Lake complex will be home to tanks holding more than eight million litres of wine.

 Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards, located in Essex County and the Lake Erie North Shore Appellation, has grown from producing 600 cases annually to 8,000 — and it is continuing to grow. Every year, investments are made to plant more vines and purchase more tanks to meet growing demand for its wines.

 Megalomaniac Winery has recently completed an 18-month project that has added 30,000 sq. ft. to its production and retail facilities to accommodate its growth from 2,000 cases to 45,000 cases of wine over the past seven years.

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