St. Catharines, ON — The Grape Growers of Ontario extend our thanks to John Fedorkow, who has accepted the Board of Director’s request to extend his tenure as Grape King for the year 2020/2021. COVID-19 has required us to rethink all of our related events this fall including the cancellation of the Grape Growers 2020 Luncheon, and Grape King selection and installation.
“We thank John for his dedication in his role as Grape King and grower Ambassador. With restrictions in place since March 2020, John has had very limited opportunity to fully experience the role he was selected for, “said Grape Growers of Ontario Board Chair, Matthias Oppenlaender. “We look forward to a great year ahead and thank John for his ongoing commitment to promoting our world-class 100% Ontario-grown wines.”
“I appreciate the opportunity offered by the Board of Directors to extend my term as Grape King for an additional year due to the pause in activities caused by the pandemic. I am looking forward to an exciting year and can’t wait to represent my peers in the grape growing industry at events in 2021,” says John Fedorkow, pictured with wife Debbie, son Michael and daughter Camille.
The selection of a Grape King is part of Ontario’s grape growing history and up until this year has been an annual tradition that dates back to 1956. The title of Grape King carries the distinction of being chosen based on vineyard management and knowledge of the industry, and serves as a representative for Ontario’s grape and wine industry at events across the country.
John was born and raised on a mixed tender fruit farm in St. David’s, and graduated from the University of Guelph in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He briefly left the area to sell pesticide for four years, two in Alberta and two back in Ontario, but following his desire to return to Niagara he purchased Fruithaven Farms in 1984 not far from where he grew up. The farm was planted with Labrusca grapes which were removed and replaced with tender fruit and berries, including strawberries, raspberries, apples, cling peaches, pears and plums. A Pick-Your-Own operation that gave school tours in the fall was developed.
After removing the apples in 1999 John began planting wine grapes, and underwent a major expansion into grapes in 2008 after the canning factory closure. John is currently growing 75 acres of vinifera grapes for Peller Estates and Creekside Estate Winery including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Semillon.
A current member of the Grape Growers of Ontario’s Growers’ Committee and the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Agricultural Sub Committee, John is also the past president of the Niagara Peninsula Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (NPF&VGA), past Vineland Growers director, and past member of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Irrigation Committee.Source : Grape Growers of Ontario