Media releases

  • International Cool Climate Wine Symposium postponed to 2022 

    11 December 2020
    R0185

    The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS) has been postponed to July 17 to 21, 2022.

    The symposium, which will now be referred to as ICCWS 2022, will be hosted at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. It is being organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) alongside its research and industry partners across Canada.  

     Originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, the symposium was postponed to July 2021 earlier this year due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of continued uncertainty and travel restrictions, the symposium’s advisory committee has opted to further postpone to the summer of 2022, ensuring that all delegates can safely enjoy the symposium to its full potential. 

     “While we are disappointed that we have to further postpone, we take everyone’s health, safety and their enjoyment of the symposium very seriously,” said Debbie Inglis, CCOVI Director and ICCWS 2022 Advisory Organizing Committee Chair. “We have opted to delay the conference until we can safely welcome guests from around the world to learn about cool climate grape growing and winemaking together as intended.” 

     ICCWS 2022 will serve as a welcome to Canada to a wide range of international guests, pairing rigorous and diverse scientific content about cool climate grape and wine production with opportunities to network, explore the host city and learn more about Canada’s diverse wine regions.  

     Although many conferences have moved to digital formats in the wake of the pandemic, ICCWS 2022 organizers stressed that the spirit of the symposium relies on the opportunity to come together in-person. 

     “Wine is a highly experiential, cultural and sensory product and we want our delegates to be able to experience all that Canada has to offer together in a physical setting,” said Inglis. “The ICCWS program will deliver cutting-edge academic programming and uniquely Canadian experiences that we cannot wait to share with all of you in 2022.” 

     Brock has developed a five-stage response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to guide occupancy and delivery of services (including the ICCWS) on campus. This plan is informed by public health and government recommendations and guidelines with the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community as the highest priority.  ICCWS organizers are using this response to guide decision-making in regard to all symposium activities. The University is currently in Brock Stage 3 and will need to be in Brock Stage 5 to hold the ICCWS in-person.  

     Please contact iccws2022@brocku.ca with any questions regarding this postponement and how it pertains to sponsorship, registration, speaking commitments and accommodationsIf you have previously registered for ICCWS and currently hold a credit, there is no need to re-register for the conference should you wish to carry over your registration.  

     Please continue to monitor Brock’s ICCWS 2022 andcoronavirus information webpages, subscribe to the ICCWS mailing list and follow ICCWS 2022 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates as they become available.   

    -30- 

     

     

    Categories: Media releases, What's happening at CCOVI

  • Brock’s CCOVI to co-lead $6.2-million national research program supporting clean plant program for grapevines

    Brock University Senior Scientist Sudarsana Poojari is leading the academic team on a $6.2-million national research project.


    28 October 2020
    R0162

    A $6.2-million multi-partner funding commitment will allow Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to support the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV) to fast-track the certification of grapevine planting material as virus-free.

    Under Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP), CLEan plAnt extractioN SEquencing Diagnostics (CLEANSED) is a jointly funded initiative between Brock, CFIA, CGCN-RCCV, University of Victoria, Université de Sherbrooke, Genome Canada, Genome BC, Genome Quebec, Ontario Genomics, Agriculture and Agri Food Canada (AAFC), Compute Canada, Conseil des vins du Quebec and Illumina.

    CLEANSED uses High-Throughput Sequencing technology with improved sensitivity to simultaneously detect multiple viruses in a grapevine. This genomic-based solution would replace more than 30 tests currently being performed on grapevines to look for diseases. This one genomic test can speed up the release of virus-free grapevine material from three years to one year or less, providing rapid access to valuable new varieties. CGCN-RCCV will use this for testing and monitoring domestically propagated vines, ensuring grape growers have faster and more affordable access to clean vines.

    “This funding will allow grape growers to rapidly improve the health of their vineyards and boost the domestic capacity in the supply of much needed virus-free grapevine plant material in Canada,” says CCOVI Senior Scientist Sudarsana Poojari, who is leading the academic team of scientists.

    The end users of the research are CFIA and CGCN-RCCV, which will implement CLEANSED to ensure Canadian grapevines start clean and stay clean. CFIA ensures grapevine imports, exports and new domestic grapevine varieties for commercialization in Canada are free of regulated viruses and all non-regulated viruses of economic concern, while CGCN will approve and commercialize CLEANSED for testing grapevines in a national domestic clean plant program.

    “The CFIA is pleased to co-lead this project that will implement genomic technologies in support of a leading-edge national ‘clean plant’ program and diagnostics at the Sidney Centre for Plant Health,” says Jaspinder Komal, Vice-President, Science Branch, CFIA. “The solid science of the project will help our grape growers to quickly access healthy plants of diverse new varieties, resulting in increased production. Such approaches will be able to facilitate adaptation of Canadian and world agriculture to climate change.”

    The research is a collaborative effort between academia, government and industry to tackle grapevine virus disease management, which has been identified as the top priority for long-term sustainability of the $9-billion Canadian grape and wine industry.

    Grape growers currently lose an estimated $23 million per year due to grapevine virus infections. In order to both replace infected material and maintain routine vine replacement and modest expansion, growers currently need access to an estimated 6.7 million affordable, virus-free vines.

    High cost and convoluted testing methods, however, have been hindering the ability of growers to obtain those vines, says CGCN Vice-Chair and grape grower Bill Schenck.

    “As growers across the country continue to deal with viruses that effect crop quality and vine health, the timing could not be more perfect than now for this project,” he says. “The industry needs to have a Canadian source of clean vines that have been tested for viruses, and a program that can show the vines are true to type.”

    He says this work will standardize and validate high throughput sequence screening protocols, allowing it to be implemented into a clean grapevine program driven by the industry it benefits.

    Mike Rott, Receptor Project Leader and CFIA Scientist, says reducing the time and cost of testing, while at the same time improving sensitivity and accuracy through CLEANSED, is “critical in a highly competitive international market.”

    CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis says this announcement is the culmination of three years of collaborative work to tackle this priority issue, including previously developed Memorandums of Understanding between CCOVI and AAFC, CFIA and CGCN to support a clean plant program for grapevines in Canada.

    “We’re always looking for rapid, sensitive cost-efficient ways to prove that plant material is devoid from disease, and the application of this research is a milestone for Canada,” she says. “Grapevine is leading the way for the first official clean plant program in the country, where we can be assured that the plants we’re propagating and putting into the ground are free from disease.”

    Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon says “CCOVI consistently brings together major stakeholders in the grape and wine sector to produce breakthrough policies, programs and services in the industry, generating major contributions to local and national economies.

    “This significant grant from Genome Canada shows the confidence stakeholders place in CCOVI’s leadership, research and innovation, one example being the leading-edge CLEANSED virus detection tool.”

    – 30 –

    Categories: Media releases

  • International Cool Climate Wine Symposium postponed to 2021


    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant uncertainty and risk to public health around the globe, the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS) 2020 Advisory Organizing Committee has made the decision to postpone its upcoming conference until 2021.The ICCWS 2020, which was slated to take place this July, will now be held at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada from July 25 to 29, 2021. The Symposium is being organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) alongside its research and industry partners across the country.

    This difficult decision was made after careful evaluation of all currently available information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Niagara Region Public Health, and the World Health Organization.

    The province of Ontario, where the conference was scheduled to be held, is currently operating under a state of emergency. That, combined with global travel restrictions and other rapidly evolving COVID-19 response measures, led the committee to determine that postponing the ICCWS is in the best interest of all attendees, partners, sponsors and organizers.

    “With the great degree of uncertainty that lies ahead, we believe postponing the conference is the best option to ensure a safe and successful event for all involved,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis, Chair of the ICCWS 2020 Advisory Organizing Committee. “While we are disappointed we will not be able to come together to celebrate innovations and advances in cool climate grape, wine and business research this year, we place everyone’s health, safety and well-being above all else. We look forward to showcasing our Canadian grape and wine industry to the world when we host ICCWS in July 2021.”

    All registered delegates, invited speakers, sponsors and trade show exhibitors will be contacted directly in the coming days with more information. All payments made for conference registration, sponsorships and trade show booths will be honoured and applied to the 2021 date. Refunds will be issued to those who do not want payments used for the rescheduled date.

    “We appreciate your ongoing support in this extremely difficult time and wish you all the very best in the weeks and months to come,” said Inglis.

    For further updates as they become available, please visit the ICCWS website.

    Categories: Media releases, What's happening at CCOVI

  • Cuvée 2020 to celebrate the best in Ontario VQA wine

    1 Nov. 2019
    R00171

    Mark your calendars for the most sought-after wine event of the year – the annual Cuvée Grand Tasting has been set for Saturday, April 25, 2020.

    The event, which serves as the largest celebration of VQA wine of its kind, will be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls and will feature more than 100 wine selections from Ontario’s top winemakers.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Cuvée is a weekend-long celebration of Ontario VQA wine and local cuisine from chefs from across the region.

    “Cuvée not only celebrates excellence in our industry, it also supports the next generation of winemakers and grape growers by funding valuable research and providing scholarships to students through the Cuvée Legacy Fund,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis.

    Cuvée 2020 will see the return of the popular “Winemakers’ Favourite Wines” feature, along with gourmet food delicacies prepared by celebrated chefs at live cooking stations. At the Après Cuvée party, guests can look forward to live music and selections from micro-breweries, cideries and VQA wineries.

    Cuvée Manager Barb Tatarnic said the 2019 event drew a record crowd to the Grand Tasting event, with nearly 900 guests in attendance.

    “This is the largest event of its kind,” said Tatarnic. “The strong turnout of guests year after year truly showcases the importance of our grape and wine industry and the strong level of support it garners from our local community and beyond.”

    During the weekend-long event, the Cuvée en Route passport program allows ticket holders access to exclusive tasting flights at more than 30 Niagara wineries from April 24 to 26.

    Passports are included with the Grand Tasting or can also be purchased individually for $30. Tickets are on sale now, with early-bird prices available.

    For more information or to purchase tickets to the Cuvée Grand Tasting or en Route passports, visit cuvee.ca

     

    Categories: Media releases

  • Registration now open for International Cool Climate Wine Symposium

    22 October 2019
    R00165

    With more than 50 confirmed speakers, registration is now open for the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS), which takes place in Canada from July 12 to 16, 2020 and is being planned by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) alongside its research and industry partners across the country.

    Confirmed speakers include acclaimed international wine academics and experts from around the world. The 10th installment of the symposium will focus on how climate change is driving innovation in the grape and wine industry, with conference sessions including viticulture, oenology, wine business and science communication.

    Nobel prize-winning physicist Brian Schmidt has been named as the opening keynote speaker. Schmidt is an expert in issues of climate change and has his own cool climate vineyard and winery.

    This is the first time the conference has come to Canada. The federal government is supporting ICCWS with $250,000 in funding through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

    In addition to the conference sessions at Brock, those attending will also have the opportunity to participate in pre- and post-conference programming that will showcase Canada’s wine regions and be introduced to Canadian wines and local culinary offerings through a number of special events.

    Early bird pricing is now available at $800, which gives delegates the chance to save $350 off the total conference fee and includes access to research seminars, masterclasses, wine tastings and workshops.

    There are also a number of sponsorship and tradeshow opportunities throughout the conference listed on the sponsorship page.

    QUOTES:

    “The ICCWS committees are thrilled to provide a world-class conference that attracts delegates who are influential in the global wine market and will advance our knowledge base forward. This symposium will give the foremost experts in viticulture, oenology, wine business, sustainability and science communications the chance to share their cutting-edge research findings.” – Debbie Inglis, Director, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI)

    “Ontario’s wine industry is thrilled that Canada is hosting the 2020 International Cool Climate Wine Symposium. We are especially proud that Niagara’s gorgeous wine country will provide the backdrop for this important gathering of local and international wine communities. VQA Wines of Ontario are truly on the cutting edge of cool, embracing our cool climate wine region and rising status as an internationally acclaimed New World wine destination. We look forward to showcasing Ontario VQA wines alongside wines from across Canada.” – Sylvia Augaitis, Executive Director, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario

    “The Wines of British Columbia is thrilled to be working together with industry colleagues and wine and grape growers from across Canada to bring the ICCWS 2020 to Wine Country Ontario. At a time when our region is gaining major recognition from our international peers, this is an opportunity for us to showcase our diverse wine regions, quality wines and research to the world.” – Laura Kittmer, Communications Director, British Columbia Wine Institute

    “The Wine Council of Quebec (Conseil des Vins du Québec) is proud to be a partner of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium 2020. Innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement are at the heart of our values and we are proud to be involved in the growth of the Canadian grape and wine industry. The ICCWS is a unique chance to join the international wine community and to meet the best scientists to discuss innovative opportunities regarding the wine production.” – Yvan Quirion, President, Wine Council of Quebec (Conseil des Vins du Québec)

    Register and learn more about the conference at iccws2020.ca

    Categories: Media releases

  • New Brock institute to support economic growth in Niagara

    3 September 2019
    R00140

    A $5-million investment by the federal government will allow Brock University to create a landmark facility aimed at making Niagara a research and innovation leader in bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors.

    The FedDev funding through the Community Economic Development and Diversification stream was announced Tuesday, Sept. 3 by Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle.

    The funding means Brock can now launch the Brock-Niagara Validating, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI) which will enable area businesses to access the University’s researchers, expertise and advanced technology. The new centre will be housed in a $6.1- million expansion of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex, which is expected to open in 2021.

    Brock University President Gervan Fearon said the visionary facility will make the Niagara community a Canadian leader in university-engaged collaborative research and innovation that enhances advances and the competitiveness of the manufacturing and agri-food sectors.

    “We are grateful for the Government of Canada supporting this strategic initiative that helps to build the regional economic cluster of the Niagara region and supports the competitiveness of industry across Canada,” said Fearon. “The VPMI will support applied research and development, innovation and commercialization efforts to help businesses grow and thrive. It will play an important role in Brock University’s strategic priority to partner with business and communities in supporting the prosperity and vitality of the Niagara region and beyond.”

    The VPMI will be comprised of three main components: research and innovation; testing and prototyping; and training. It will expand on existing partnerships created through Brock’s Advanced Biomanufacturing Centre (ABC), Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and the BrockLINC.

    The VPMI will give businesses access to state-of-the-art analytical, prototyping and early-stage manufacturing tools, as well as to expertise and training, to help expand and tackle new markets. It will provide the bioproduct, bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors with a single-site solution to improve or launch products and new processes.

    “This will enhance industrial-academia partnerships by providing businesses with the capacity to fully design, study and characterize both biological and chemical systems while working with the related expertise at Brock University,” said Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research at Brock.

    The VPMI will work with a wide range of companies in Niagara and across southern Ontario in sectors such as wine production, cannabis, food-based products, health care, medicines and nutritional supplements, and chemical companies that produce polymers and resins used in manufacturing.

    Badawey said he was thrilled to see “Brock University taking measures to enhance research, innovation and the economy,” through the new VPMI.

    “This new facility will grow the region’s economy by creating more jobs, strengthen the relationship with various organizations and continue to highlight the importance of industrial- academia partnerships,” he said. “Brock’s initiative presents an innovative way to ensure our region is provided with the opportunity to participate in the competitive market.”

    Bittle agreed, saying the new facility would “ensure we keep pushing the boundaries to benefit the Niagara economy.

    “Our region continues to join forces and collaborate with our post-secondary institutions to keep jobs and opportunities local,” he said. “In particular, the project announced today for Brock University is a perfect example of how this institution brings together expertise in biology and chemistry to uniquely tackle challenges.”

    The federal government has committed $5 million toward Brock University’s new Validating, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute. Pictured at the announcement from left are Niagara Region Chair Jim Bradley, St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, Brock President Gervan Fearon, Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute Director Debbie Inglis, Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon, Brock Chemistry Instructor Paul Zelisko and Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey.

    Categories: Media releases

  • CCOVI tackling climate change challenges with research vineyards

    28 August 2019
    R00136

    Two research vineyards filled with thousands of grapevines are being used by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to help Canada’s grape growers and wineries.

    CCOVI partnered with two commercial grape growers to plant the St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards that are being used for a clone and rootstock evaluation program of the main VQA grapevine varieties in Ontario.

    “We are looking at the best plant material for Ontario’s industry, not only now, but moving forward with climate change uncertainties,” said Jim Willwerth, CCOVI Senior Scientist. “Cold hardiness, fruit composition, wine quality and general vine performance will be examined, so that the industry knows the best combinations to use for our core grape varieties.”

    Since July 2018, more than 4,000 vines have been planted between the two vineyards. One vineyard has a heavier clay soil and the other sandy soil to represent different vineyard conditions found in Ontario. There are five different grapevine varieties and up to 16 clone and rootstock combinations for each grape variety.

    Planting was initially delayed because it was difficult to get certified disease-free and true to type grapevines in Canada. Starting with healthy, clean plant material is critical for this project to evaluate the best performing plant material under Ontario conditions.

    “For the research we are doing there is no sense planting dirty or infected vines. Clean vines are difficult to get, so we had to wait an extra year to make sure we had clean vines to plant,” said Bill Schenck, one of the commercial grape growers involved. “When you are planting a vineyard, the initial cost of grapevines is rather cheap compared to costs to manage the grapevines in the years that follow. Considering the length of time the grapes are in the ground, you want to make sure you are starting off on the right foot.”

    After an exhaustive search, certified clean plant material was sourced three years ago from outside Canada. Half of the certified grapevines were planted in July in collaboration with Huebel Grapes Estates and the support of Schenck and another grape grower, Erwin Wiens, who are each allowing the use of two acres of their land. The other half were planted last July.

    Planting and management of the research vineyards was funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Collaborate Research and Development grant program in partnership with Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.

    “The material is all certified, so we know these vines are true to type and are healthy,” said Willwerth. “The Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN) is now working tirelessly to establish a domestic clean plant program and this is extremely important so that growers can access clean materials from nurseries so they know the vines they are planting are the healthiest and are going to be as productive as possible.”

    Plant performance outputs from this research trial will inform CGCN of the grapevine combinations that should enter the domestic clean plant program.

    Categories: Media releases

  • Record crowd for Triggs Lecture Series

    15 August 2019
    R00130

    It was an opportunity to talk about key issues in the wine industry in two provinces.

    The Triggs International Premium Vinifera Lecture Series, held every two years and organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), took place over two days last week in Ontario’s Niagara region and again on Tuesday, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 14 in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley.

    More than 200 grape growers and wine industry professionals attended over the four days to discuss disease pressures and attend a lecture with Vaughn Bell, Senior Scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.

    “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,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “Vaughn shared a wealth of knowledge about vineyard health and insect vector management strategies taking place at home and abroad.”

    Bell said he was honoured to be selected as the featured speaker and said it was clear the researchers, and the specialized equipment and technology at their disposal, have made many positive advances toward helping the wine sector achieve economic sustainability goals.

    “I was impressed with the spirit of co-operation that exists between CCOVI and the wine sector,” said Bell. “From my experience in New Zealand, positive collaborations inevitably deliver the best results in the shortest possible timelines to those with a financial stake in the wine sector.”

    Bell visited three vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake on the first day of the series, discussing vineyard health and disease pressures. The next day, he summarized the discussions held during the vineyard tours in a public lecture at Brock’s Pond Inlet.

    After his stop in Ontario, he headed to B.C. for the second leg of the series.

    “The level of awareness around the interaction between vineyard disease and the insects that spread it has developed significantly since my last visit in February 2018,” Bell said. “That’s all credit to your sector leaders and those funded by the sector to bring about positive change.”

    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 sponsored the event.

    “BASF is pleased to be able to continue our support of the Triggs Lecture Series and to give it its national scope,” said Tom Clarke, Horticultural Specialist at BASF Canada for the Niagara region. “It is important for all of us to work together and I think the discussions between Dr. Bell and the growers who attended were very productive when it comes to further developing our industry.”

    Launched in 2004, with a generous donation from Donald and Elaine Triggs, the lecture series was created to provide industry stakeholders, researchers and students access to the most current developments in the field of viticulture.

    The lecture series is further supported by the Grape Growers of Ontario, Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, VineTech Canada, British Columbia Wine Grape Council, Summerland Research and Development Innovation Centre, and the following wineries: Henry of Pelham Family Estate, Andrew Peller Ltd., Tinhorn Creek, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate.

    For anyone unable to attend, the Ontario and B.C. public lecture slides, as well as a video of the Ontario public lecture, are available on CCOVI’s website.

    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock’s CCOVI partners with industry to produce certified clean grapevines

    19 June 2019
    R00109

    Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has partnered with the grape and wine industry to produce certified, clean grapevines.

    The Government of Canada recently committed $2.3 million in funding over the next three to support the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN) as it develops certified vines for grape growers. As part of the project, CCOVI will be the national testing provider.

    “This funding will give nurseries a jump start to providing domestically certified clean plant material to the grower community across Canada and allow the industry to be less reliant on imported material,” said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. “Nurseries will have the opportunity for lower-cost virus testing by cost sharing with the CGCN. We’re looking forward to working closely with the industry to make sure growers are starting out with clean plants to assist the long-term viability of the Canadian grape and wine sectors.”

    CCOVI will catalogue and assess vines used for plant propagation from nurseries and grape growers across Canada. This will ensure that only vines testing negative for targeted viruses are used to generate new plants receiving the CGCN certification, which will help keep Canada’s vineyards virus-free.

    “Canada’s vineyards have become an important part of our national economy,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti as he announced the government’s commitment to the project. “With this funding, the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network will help ensure that growers have access to high-quality, locally-sourced grapevine stock to keep their fields healthy and prosperous.”

    CGCN Vice Chair and grape grower Bill Schenck said announcement is the next step in the creation of a clean plant network for grapevines in Canada.

    “We have been working closely with researchers at CCOVI and this funding will expand what we can do as far as testing our grapevines,” he said. “This will allow us to work more closely

    with nurseries as we try to clean up vines in the ground and help growers plant healthy vineyards.”

    The CGCN is also leading national research initiatives for grape and wine, receiving
    funding through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and industry partners of more than $11 million last year to establish the Canadian Grape and Wine Science Cluster. The cluster is a collaborative project which includes researchers at Brock and other universities across the country as well as AAFC scientists, grape growers and industry partners in Ontario, B.C., Quebec and Nova Scotia.

    Categories: Media releases

  • Top VQA wine promoters honoured at Experts Tasting

    18 June 2019
    R00107

    More than 120 wine writers, educators and industry professionals gathered at Brock University on Tuesday, June 18 for the 30th annual Experts Tasting, which promotes Ontario VQA wine and celebrates individuals who have helped grow and promote the grape and wine industry.

    Organized by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the 2019 tasting focused on Riesling, from sparkling to Icewine. Five flights showcased a total of 35 wines with industry experts guiding guests through the tasting.

    “The Experts Tasting has been designed for the trade — primarily media, product consultants, sommeliers and wine educators who promote VQA wines,” said event organizer Barb Tatarnic, Manager of Outreach and Continuing Education at CCOVI. “This event allows guests to taste and learn alongside their peers in the industry. This tasting showcased multiple vintages and styles of Riesling and clearly showed what this variety can bring to the Ontario industry year after year.”

    The event also honours outstanding achievements and contributions by presenting VQA Promoters Awards to individuals who advance the industry through promotion or education.

    The Sparkling Winos — wine bloggers Jeff Graham and Michal Matyjewicz — were recognized for promoting and raising the profile of VQA wines in the promoter-at-large category.

    “This is something that we do purely as a hobby. This isn’t a full-time job,” said Graham. “We invest so much of our time and effort into Sparkling Winos, so it means everything to be recognized for that from our peers and other industry professionals we admire.”

    The social media influencers say they are passionate about educating people about VQA wine.

    “There is so much going on in this area, so many quality wines and such a focus on quality winemaking,” said Matyjewicz. “I think that is what makes it a unique wine region and makes it a really easy sell for us to help spread the word about sparkling and other VQA wines.”

    The lifetime achievement award was presented to Helen Fisher, retired viticulture research scientist at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, who was recognized for her

    groundbreaking work in the vineyard and her research into wine grape selections for cool climate regions.

    The 2019 VQA Promoters Award winners include:

    • Retail: Meg McGrath, Retail Manager, Hidden Bench Winery
    • Hospitality: Maribeth Mckey, Food and Beverage Manager, Inn on the Twenty
    • LCBO: Victor Borja-Sheen, Product Consultant, LCBO
    • Education: Ron Giesbrecht, Professor, Niagara College
    • Promoter-at-Large: Jeff Graham and Michal Matyjewicz, The Sparkling Winos
    • Lifetime Achievement: Helen Fisher, retired researcher, University of Guelph

    Categories: Media releases