Food / Love Month / Ontario / The Wedge

Ontario Wine Growers Get Boost & Valentine’s Day Choice

Beautiful Karlo Estates, PEC, Ontario, CANADA Painting by Sherry Karlo PHOTO BY Maggie M

By Phil Anders for theWedge.LIVE

On this Valentine’s Day 2020 much wine will be poured. It is the lovers’ elixir.

Ontario has an important role in its production. We have watched the Niagara and Prince Edward County regions grow into mature destinations for wine growers and wineries.

Surprisingly, there are many isolated vineyards dotted throughout Southern Ontario. If the soil has the right conditions for certain grape varieties why buy land in France or Italy when your dream can be realized in your own backyard so-to-speak.

Our wines are pushing international brands over on LCBO shelves. Some wines are distributed directly to restaurants and special events before they can reach the production demands of the chain stores.

Investing in projects to enhance wine grape production is a good investment of taxpayer’s money. It’s a small investment but a push in the right direction.

The governments of Canada and Ontario are committing up to $2 million for grape growers to support projects that will help grow the province’s wine grape industry.

The announcement was made by Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines along with Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Sam Oosterhoff, Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West at Henry of Pelham Estate Winery that seeks to support the 500 Ontario grape producers grow their businesses.

By the way Henry of Pelham’s Baco Noir is excellent. A beautiful choice for lovers’ night.

So here is the deal in the offing.

The new Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Programming (MVIP) will assist grape growers by providing cost-share funding for projects to help vineyards across the province adapt to ongoing and emerging growing challenges. The program will also contribute to vineyard investments that implement new technologies to supply high-quality grapes to Ontario wine producers.

Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the MVIP application intake will open on March 5, 2020.

Eligible activities for funding include:

  • Equipment to help improve grape growing practices
  • Infrastructure to enhance vineyards irrigation
  • Projects to acquire environmental monitoring equipment
  • Consultation with a viticulture (vine growing) expert for new technology and innovation
  • Implementation of testing for pest management, including viral diseases
    Installation of non acoustical pest management systems (bird netting, night guard retrofit, electric fencing)

“Canada’s vineyards are a source of pride and have become an important part of our national economy”

“Canada’s vineyards are a source of pride and have become an important part of our national economy and local grape growers are major contributors to the economy here in our region,” said MP Chris Bittle on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “These investments will help ensure our local growers have access to resources and technology they need to continue to produce high quality grapes.”

“As Ontario winemakers continue to see worldwide demand increase for their high-quality products, our government is investing in the grape growers that provide them the grapes they need to supply that demand,” said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This investment will help expand opportunities for the sector and sustain its success while helping agri-food businesses grow and create jobs.”

“The Grape Growers of Ontario thank both the Federal and Provincial Governments for their continued support of the 500 farm families producing 100 per cent grown-in-Ontario grapes,” said Matthias Oppenlaender, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. “Today’s announcement of $2 million, fifth year of the Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program (MVIP) highlights the importance of research and new technologies to enhance the sustainability of Ontario’s 18,000 acres of vineyards and recognizes that local grapes matter.”

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.


  • Grape production from almost 500 Ontario growers is used to make award-winning Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA wines), made from 100 per cent Ontario grapes. Ontario’s VQA wines have gained international reputation for quality and had $374 million in sales in Ontario in 2018-19.
  • Up to 35 per cent of eligible costs will be reimbursed to eligible vineyard activity up to $100,000 per vineyard.
  • The application form and guidelines are now available on and they give grape growers four weeks to prepare their applications when the intake opens at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a first-come first-served basis, while funding is available.
  • The Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Programming will be delivered by Agricorp, an agency of the Ontario government.

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