CCOVI hosts successful instalment of acclaimed international wine symposium

It was well worth the wait.

After a two-year delay, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) welcomed 350 delegates from across the globe to Niagara last week for the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS) 2022.

The symposium’s 10th instalment, which took place July 17 to 21, marked the first time the prestigious conference was held in Canada.

The event’s rich history dates back to 1984, when the ICCWS was established by David Heatherbell, then a Professor of Enology at Oregon State University.

A group of five people posing for a photo in front of a projector screen.

During the closing ceremony of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium at Brock University, Helen Morrison (centre) of Villa Maria Estate spoke on behalf of New Zealand and invited delegates to attend the ICCWS 2026 hosted by the nation. Pictured from the left are Narongsak (Tek) Thongpapanl, Professor of Marketing and Product Innovation, Marketing, International Business and Strategy, Goodman School of Business, Brock University; Debbie Inglis, CCOVI Director and Professor of Biological Sciences, Brock University; Morrison; Belinda Kemp, CCOVI Senior Scientist, Brock University; and Jim Willwerth CCOVI Researcher and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Brock University.

Heatherbell, who gave a virtual welcome at last week’s opening ceremony, said he could not think of a more appropriate time and place for the symposium to address the new problems and challenges facing the industry.

“It is pleasing to see the symposium showcasing Canada and all aspects of its wine industry yet having a wonderful range of international speakers from an expanding range of regions and countries, combined with local Canadian talent,” he said. “The symposium has retained the special character of the original symposium and continues to include conviviality and camaraderie and fosters exchange and collaboration.”

The ICCWS covered all aspects of cool climate winemaking, from vine to glass to consumer. The dynamic programming lineup served to examine how adversity drives innovation to achieve success across the entire value chain of the grape and wine industry.

The theme throughout the programming was climate change adaptation and innovation. Within this framework, sessions were classified under four pillars:

  • Innovations and Adaptations in Viticulture
  • Oenological Challenges and Solutions
  • The Business of Winery Sustainability: People, Place and Finance
  • Science Communication

CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis is grateful to have had the chance to work with academic, industry and stakeholder partners across Canada to develop and host the ICCWS 2022 at Brock.

“The ICCWS 2022 was made possible thanks to the dedication and support of the numerous committee members, including academic partners, industry partners and stakeholders from across Canada,” she said. “A special congratulations to our Scientific Program Committee Co-Chairs Belinda Kemp and Jim Willwerth for their outstanding efforts in organizing an engaging scientific program, amidst unprecedented challenges no less.”

Kemp, Senior Scientist in Oenology for CCOVI, and Willwerth, CCOVI Researcher and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Brock, were pleased to have had the opportunity to work alongside session theme subcommittee members to develop the symposium’s programming.

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with industry and academic colleagues to bring the foremost experts in the fields of cool climate grape growing, winemaking, wine business and communications together in Canada,” Kemp said. “We hope delegates left us with new perspectives and ideas that can be applied in their own research or businesses.”

Along with participating in keynote sessions, presentations, workshops and panel discussions, delegates were invited by CCOVI and industry partners from across Canada to experience Canadian hospitality at networking events throughout the symposium, featuring cool climate wines from more than 60 wineries from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

During the event’s closing ceremony on Thursday, July 21, New Zealand was revealed as the ICCWS 2026 host country.

The full conference proceedings are available at

Speaker presentations and videos will also be posted to the website in the coming weeks.

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