Harvesting Knowledge: Brock celebrates 10 years of Inniskillin Hall and grape and wine research

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Harvesting Knowledge: Brock celebrates 10 years of Inniskillin Hall and grape and wine research

Aug. 19, 2009

Today, Brock University celebrated the 10th anniversary of Inniskillin Hall — the research facility that houses the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).

The construction of Inniskillin Hall cemented the formal creation of the wine institute — a partnership between Brock University, the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Wine Council of Ontario — that was established to serve Canada’s grape-growing and winemaking enterprises.

“When we tell the world that Brock is a place that develops Both Sides of the Brain, we have programs like CCOVI in mind,” said President Jack Lightstone, Brock University. “CCOVI ignores the conventional limits of a university. Yes, it passionately develops knowledge and spurs innovation in the fullest sense. But CCOVI reaches beyond that, engaging and supporting a community and an industry in ways that tangibly benefit the livelihoods of families across our region and our country.”

The Hall officially opened in June 1999 and was a major outcome of Brock’s “Harvesting Knowledge” campaign that raised more than $3.7 million towards the construction of the $6.1-million facility and the establishment of CCOVI.

The successful campaign was co-chaired by Dr. Donald Ziraldo, Co-Founder, Inniskillin Wines, and John Howard, Proprietor, John Howard Cellars of Distinction.

Inniskillin Hall contains biotech and viticulture labs, a sensory evaluation facility, a teaching and research winery and a 43,000-bottle wine cellar, which houses the Canadian Wine Library. Since its inception, CCOVI has undertaken various industry-specific research initiatives, and has trained 24 master’s and PhD students, 8 post-doctoral fellows and more than 75 graduates from the oenology and viticulture program — the next generation of winemakers and wine industry leaders.

“When it was formed in 1996, CCOVI wrote a chapter of Canadian history, giving us the first class of expert vintners, biotechnologists, wine business managers and vineyard management professionals that this country had ever produced,” said Liette Vasseur, Vice-President, Research, Brock University. “CCOVI was created to help meet the research and development needs of cool climate grape growing and wine producing industries in this region, Canada and around the world. Its mission is to be the world’s leading centre of excellence in cool climate grape and wine research.”

CCOVI is actively involved in looking at all aspects of grape and wine production, including wine business, marketing and tourism; providing outreach activities, hands-on workshops, and research-based consulting and analytical services; as well as wine-related education and certification opportunities like the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) program.

“With our institute’s mandate rooted in science — and now expanded to include business, agri-tourism and wine culture — CCOVI will further collaborate with industry on initiatives across the entire value chain of the industry,” said Debra Inglis, Director, CCOVI.

Since 2004, CCOVI has secured more than $4 million in research funding to address critical issues facing the Canadian grape and wine industry. Some of the Institute’s research “success stories” from the past 10 years include:

  • Icewine research to overcome production problems, determine quality standards and identify the chemical and sensory markers of Canadian Icewine;
  • terroir-based wine production research to facilitate precision grape growing that produces high-quality wines through extensive data analysis and terroir mapping of vineyards;
  • MALB and juice/wine quality research to identify the MALB taint compound and develop effective bait traps and an agent to eliminate the effects of the taint;
  • Sour Rot research to identify the causal organisms and develop management strategies, and
  • wine consumer behaviour research to uncover external cues affecting consumer preferences.