Record turnout as national lecture series turns 10

The Triggs International Premium Vinifera Lecture Series marked its 10th event of sharing industry insight by bringing together a record crowd to learn between the grape vines.

Grape growers and wine industry professionals rang in the 10th instalment of the series in the heart of Ontario wine country on Aug. 3 and 4, and in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley on Aug. 8 and 9. More than 200 people attended over the four days, making this one of the most successful years for the series since it began in 2004.

Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), this year’s instalment featured Stefano Poni, Professor of Viticulture and Chair of the Instituto of Frutti-Viticoltura of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Piacenza, Italy.

Bringing an international speaker of his calibre to the lecture series is an important part of CCOVI’s mandate to support the grape and wine industry in Canada, said Director Debbie Inglis. “Stefano shared a wealth of knowledge about canopy management strategies taking place at home and abroad,” she said. “Hosting an international viticulture expert in key winemaking regions in Ontario and British Columbia allows our growers and winemakers to collaboratively discuss strategies to further advance and grow the industry on a national level.”

Poni said he was honoured to be selected as the featured speaker, as the event provided a unique opportunity for industry professionals from different regions to learn from each other.

“It was a great opportunity to assess if our research work, carried out on a somewhat different climatic area in Italy, could also be beneficial to Canadian viticulture,” Poni explained. “It was also a learning experience in terms of topics specific to the environment, such as the emphasis on cold winter injury here in Canada.”

He met with more than 100 industry professionals from across the region at four vineyards near Niagara-on-the-Lake on the first day of the series, discussing the impacts of vine spacing, canopy density and leaf removal on overall crop development. The next day, Poni summarized the discussions held during the vineyard tours in a public lecture at Brock’s Pond Inlet.

After his stop in Ontario, Poni headed to British Columbia for the second leg of the series. He met with more than 100 growers and members of the wine industry at four different sites, including a research vineyard and organically grown site. Although his public lecture the next day had similarities to the discussion held in Ontario, Poni catered his talk to the specific climate and growing conditions on the West Coast.

He said it was important to tailor his discussions to the different regions and provide specific solutions to specific cases, instead of following a ‘rule of thumb’ approach.

“Applying sound physiological principles is a winning approach to viticulture issues pertaining to quite different viticulture districts,” he said.

To ensure the national lecture series continues to be held in two key wine-producing regions, BASF Canada, a company that provides crop protection products, again stepped in to sponsor and support the event.

“BASF is pleased to be able to continue our support of the Triggs Lecture Series through its 10th anniversary and to be able to give the series its national scope,” said Scott Hodgins, Crop Manager for Horticulture, Professional and Specialty Solutions at BASF Canada. “As Dr. Poni shared with our grower customers who attended, canopy management is a key factor in producing the high-quality grapes that go into excellent Canadian wines, and I believe he introduced some new ideas that will further develop our industry.”

Donald Triggs, the industry leader who co-founded the lecture series with his wife Elaine Triggs through a generous endowment, is pleased with the event’s continued success.

He credits the hard work of CCOVI and Brock University in providing this valuable learning opportunity and building working partnerships that help advance the industry. “We need support to continue to develop the real potential of our wine industry and the technical resources that these institutions provide are very valuable to achieving that,” he said.

For anyone unable to attend, the Ontario public lecture and presentation slides are now available online.

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