The federal government is injecting $1.45 million into Canada’s grape and wine industry through research done by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and the Grape Growers of Ontario.
Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catharines, announced the funding Dec. 16 at a reception at Pond Inlet. The funding, which comes from the federal Developing Innovative Agri-Products program, will combine with funding from the grape and wine industry to form $1.9 million in research dollars.
“I think we’ll see a return on this investment tenfold,” Dykstra said.
The funding will add two positions to CCOVI’s research team. The scientists will work on priorities identified by the industry itself.
“Not only are we adding research expertise, but also much-needed outreach support for the grape and wine industry,” CCOVI director Debbie Inglis told the audience.
A viticulturist will specialize in winter hardiness of grapes, and an oenologist will specialize in wine flavour chemistry, she said.
After some tough winters in recent years, winter hardiness is a major issue for growers, said Mattias Oppenlaender, chair of the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc. Solutions have implications for all cool-climate growers.
“By improving winter hardiness, we will be an economic driver across this country,” he said.
The announcement, said President Jack Lightstone, is another example of the growing partnership between Brock and the community.
“This is an example of how we strive to take our knowledge and research out of the labs and into the fields and wineries.”