Ontario winemakers and grape growers see a future where their products will be the leading choice among wine consumers in this province, with more than three million tourists visiting Ontario’s wine regions each year to enjoy world class wines and hospitality.
Ontario’s VQA Wine and Grape Industry’s newly released 2030 Vision anticipates substantial growth in this important sector of the provincial economy, fuelling increases in investment, market share, jobs and related tourism.
“The growing recognition of the quality of Ontario VQA wines, the excellence of our wine country tourism experiences and the opportunities for growth will combine to take our world class industry to another level, with premium wine at the centre of a thriving economy and culture,” said Del Rollo, Chair of Wine Growers Ontario.
Among the projected growth targets within the next seven years, the 2030 Vision foresees:
- More than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ontario’s grape and wine production, tourism and hospitality sectors;
- Annual Ontario VQA wine sales of more than half a billion dollars (up from $385 million per year currently), with all-channel share of Ontario’s wine market growing by 20 per cent (from current 13 per cent);
- Three million annual visitors to Ontario’s wine regions (up from 2.6 million today);
- A 75 per cent increase in capital investment by Ontario wine producers, with 4 million new vines planted over 20,000 acres.
“Are these ambitious goals? They are, but they are absolutely achievable,” said Carolyn Hurst, Chair of Ontario Craft Wineries. “To get there, we need to come together – the grape and wine industry, our culinary and hospitality partners, and government.”
Our wine industry contributes $5.5 billion annually to the province’s economy. In 2019, 22,000 full time equivalent jobs were supported in the agriculture, food and beverage, hospitality, tourism, education and research sectors.
With the increase of the #supportlocal and #drinklocal movements over the last few years, we can see a growing appetite and understanding for the amazing wines that are produced in our own backyard. And, in a lot of cases at a fantastic value compared to equally priced wines from around the world.
Don’t believe it? Haven’t tried enough? Curious consumers will, for now, have to venture beyond the limited selection available on liquor store shelves and engage with wineries or their agents directly.
Husband and wife team, Carl and Mira Boucher of Carl’s Wine Club, based in British Columbia, have done exactly that and made it their mission to bring wines from across Canada to more Canadian consumers. For the past three years they have tasted thousands of Canadian wines, and are offering their top scoring selections to winelovers across the country. Their journey into the depth of the Canadian wine industry is a testament to how many world class wines are being produced across the country and specifically right here in Niagara. Most of these products might never by discovered by the casual wine drinker as access to market is still very limited for Canadian wineries. If you are curious about what you have been missing out on, make sure to follow them on social media and join their live Wine Wednesday broadcasts. Carl & Mira engage with winery owners and winemakers from across Niagara and the rest of Canada and give you an opportunity to get involved in the conversation.
Exciting times are ahead for the wine, food, and wine tourism industry in Niagara and we are excited to connect you with all of it through our website www.WhenInNiagara.com, directory, and blog.