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Ontario Grown

"Dear editor, The wine share data used in the Ontario wine growers article is incorrect. The 42 and 32 percent share of Ontario and Canadian respectively wine includes all international blend wine made in the province as well. Actual 100% Ontario grown grape wine is still a small (<10%) piece of Ontario and Canadian wine consumption. In fact there are more Ontario grapes that go into ICB wines (min 25% regulation) than are used in 100% local wines." Carl Sparkes

"Hi, To add to the information from the Grape Growers of Ontario: The vast majority of wine drinkers do not know how to unambiguously identify a wine which is truly local. Several companies produce products which are labelled "International - Canadian blends", which are primarily foreign content. Over the next few years, they will be increasing their foreign content until they have none from Canada at all " Ivan Stephen .

Grape Growers of Ontario unveils plan for 100% grown in Ontario symbol, aims to aggressively boost locally-grown wine market share by 2020

St. Catharines – On the heels of a study indicating a growing consumer preference for Ontario-produced wine, Grape Growers of Ontario has uncorked a vigorous campaign to get more of those wines on tables across the province and grow the domestic wine market.

“More than ever, Ontarians are looking to eat and drink goods that are produced locally, and wines are no exception,” said Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of St. Catharines-based Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO), which represents more than 500 Ontario grape growers who produce grapes for wine-making. “The marketing initiative’s number one goal is to make it easier for consumers to identify and enjoy wines made from Ontario grapes,” she said.

Canada’s largest grape producer, the Ontario grape and wine industry accounts for two-thirds of Canada’s grape production. With an overall economic impact of $3.3 billion, the Ontario industry creates more than 14,000 jobs and in excess of $700 million in retail sales. The net value of grapes leaving Ontario farms each year is more than $62 million.

“Still, there is room for significant growth of the industry, especially when compared to other countries that export wines to Canada,” Zimmerman said, explaining that the majority of the world’s wine-producing countries control their domestic market. “In Australia, for example, domestic wines account for 85 percent of the wine market, whereas Ontario wines make up roughly 42 percent of wines sold in the province, and Canadian wines account for only 32 percent of the total national market.”

According to research conducted on behalf of GGO by Toronto-based Research Management Group in July 2014, 67 percent of Ontario wine drinkers feel there is a strong local advantage to buying Ontario wines, ranging from support for the economy, to support for family farms to creating a sense of community.

The study also shows that 43 percent of Ontario wine purchasers would likely choose a wine that bears the symbol indicating locally grown grapes were used.

“Ontario wines made with local grapes are competing well internationally and earning awards, but there’s still work to be done on our home turf to help consumers clearly identify locally grown wines,” Zimmerman said.

Kicking off with a new consumer website (localgrapes.ca), state-of-the-art social marketing techniques to raise consumer awareness and appreciation of Ontario’s grape and wine industry, and a renewed emphasis on the “100% Grown by Grape Growers of Ontario” symbol, the two-year campaign aims to increase market share of made-in-Ontario wines to 50 percent by 2020.

Key to the campaign is adoption of the symbol by Ontario wineries to help consumers identify at-a-glance those products made exclusively from Ontario grapes. “We’re encouraging Ontario wineries to bear the symbol on their labels as a clear indicator that only Ontario grapes were used in the production process,” Zimmerman explained. “In today’s global economy, having an identifier that a wine is 100 percent locally grown will go a long way in supporting and growing the domestic market.”

“There’s a special feeling that comes with opening a bottle of wine crafted from grapes grown in your own backyard,” she added. “We’re not only strengthening the consumer palate for Ontario wines with our grown-in-Ontario campaign, but we’re also helping to give the local economy a major boost,” Zimmerman said.

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