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Ag Minister cheers success of wineries with further funding

Jeff Leal

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs visited Sandbaks Estate Winery Tuesday afternoon to kick off Ontario Wine Week and announce measures to help wineries and grape growers.

Over the next three years, the province will invest $45 million to support wine and grape producers through the VQA Wine Support Program and the Marketing and Vineyard Improvement Program which promotes Ontario wines locally, and in export markets, as well as wine-related tourism, viticulture improvements, research and innovation.

Leal said the strategy will support producers to continue to grow, create jobs and meet increasing consumer demand for world-class Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines.

“I am confident that today’s announcement will support the continued growth and prosperity of Ontario’s wine industry,” said Leal. “Through the renewed Wine and Grape Strategy, our wine and grape producers have benefitted from sales increases upwards of 60 per cent since 2009.”

The province, in consultation with wineries, grape growers and other industry partners, is enhancing programs to help small and medium-sized wineries scale-up and access new retail sales opportunities in the LCBO and grocery stores through the VQA Wine Support Program.

The new funding builds on $28 million already invested over the first two years of the strategy.

VQA wine sales in Ontario have grown from $196 million in 2009 to $318 million in 2016 – an increase of 60 per cent. Ontario VQA wines are now also available in some grocery stores and farmers’ markets across the province.

There are more than 40 wineries in Prince Edward County and more than 200 in the province, along with about 500 grape growers.

Filed Under: Local News

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