By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Cheers to Ontario’s grape growers for a record harvest!
The province’s grape industry announced its record breaking harvest numbers on Wednesday with Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food. “I want to congratulate Ontario’s grape growers on a record harvest for 2013,” said Wynne.
According to Grape Growers of Ontario, 79,756 tonnes of grapes were yielded in 2013, valued at $99.7 million. To put that in perspective, that’s enough wine to create 1,134 Olympic ice rink surfaces, a fitting comparison given that the 2014 Winter Games begin next month.
Bill George, Chair of Grape Growers of Ontario calls the harvest numbers promising, making note of the quality of the grapes. “Ontario’s grape growers know that great wine starts with quality grapes,” he said in a news release.
George was joined by Premier Wynne and Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Consumer Services at the Queen’s Quay LCBO store in Toronto today, where they tasted this winter’s Icewine. This winter season has been ideal for Icewine making. Grape Growers of Ontario explains that Icewine grapes are frozen on a vine at minus 8 degrees Celsius or lower; the grapes are then pressed while still frozen.
Last month, Wynne’s government pledged a $75 million, five-year wine strategy aimed at helping grape growers and wineries thrive in the province. The announcement was made ahead of today’s statement, where she called two byelections in Thornhill and Niagara Falls for Feb. 13 to fill two vacant seats left by the retirement of PC Peter Shurman and Liberal Kim Craitor.