The Ontario Grape and Wine Research Cluster – Yes, it exists!

Ontario is considered a New World wine producer, with focus on premium winemaking. The unique terrior , skilled viticulturaists, educational and research institutions and talented winemakers combine to create some of the best wines anywhere.
Vineyard located in Peelee Island Ontario,
Vineyard located in Peelee Island Ontario,

Ontario is the most ideal place for research and innovation, as it is home to four worldwide known viticultural areas such as the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie, North Shore Peelee Island and Prince Edward County. Ontario’s grape and wine country is classified as a cool climate viticulture region. However grape-growing areas in Niagara South western Ontario experiences hot summers, which enable excellent vintage production.

With growth in wine development, Ontario is striving to gain world recognition by increasing and enhancing overall production of wine processing here in Ontario. In doing so, the Ontario Wine Strategy Steering Committee was developed.

What is the O.W.S.S.C?

The Ontario Wine Strategy Steering Committee is a committee which was developed in 1999, when the Ontario Government initiated a strategic process to focus on securing a strong, prosperous future for the Ontario grape and wine industry. The Committee is lead by the Minisrty of Consumer and Business Services, and also involved senior representatives from the Wine Council of Ontario, VQA, Grape Growers of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.  The end result was “Poised for Greatness“, a strategic plan that reflects an agreement amongst all stakeholders, and provides a strategic framework for further action for the next 20 years of wine in Ontario.

A Common Desitination

Everyone involved in the OWSSC is aware that the wine industry is not only “poised for greatness”, but they all have come together to develop and adopt a focused strategy with the concerted, corporative action needed to win a “prosperous future” future. All the members in the committee have developed 6 key objetcives that will provide a common ground for the industry to move forward:

  • Targeting those varietal in which Ontario excels
  • Pursuring premium quality
  • Investing in the VQA brand
  • Nurturing wine tourism
  • Making Ontario wine broadly available
  • Forging partnership within the industry

For more information click HERE for a pdf, created by the OWSSC.

few members of the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Cluster are:

  1. The Wine Council of Ontario (WCO)
    The WCO is a non-profit trade association with a leadership role in marketing and establishing policy and future directions for the wine industry in Ontario. It acts as a liaison and coordinating body between Ontario wineries, Grape growers and government groups.
  2. Grape Growers of Ontario
    This association plays as an advocate for al processing grape growers in Ontario ensuring their grape growing needs are met. Their mission is to work with industry partners to achieve sustainable growth and profitability by creating an improved environment for Ontario-grown grape products.
  3. The Vineland Innovation Research Centre
    The objective of this organization is to become the world-class researcg institution and international hub for horticulture and floriculture research,  innovation and commercial activity.


Adelaide, Australia: Home of the Australian Wine Innovation Cluster

Australian Wine Regions (green)
Australian Wine Regions (green)

With South Australia producing such a large proportion of Australia’s wine output, Adelaides centrality to all Australian wine regions and the wine innovation cluster is ideally located to service industry needs at only 6km from the city.  As you can see in the photo to the right, Adelaide is surrounded by many wine regions which are scattered predominately throughout Southern Australia.

The cluster itself brings together five leading research agencies that address the needs of the grape and wine sector in Australia. These firms and institutions are major contributors behind the Australian wine sector and have constantly contributed research and innovation. Although these firms, agencies and institutions are inependent, they have a unique “synergy” which brings them together:

it is in the cluster mode that the synergies appear: the boundaries can quickly disappear and focus the combined capabilities of the partners on any problem in any part of the industry value chain”

The 5 major partners in the Australian Wine Innovation Cluster are:

1) The Australian Wine Institute:
AWRI has contributed development and research and integrated solutions for the wine sector in Australia for more then 50 years. Studies include biochemistry, organix and analytical chemistry, chemical engineering and fermentation management.

2) CSRIO  Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Organization:
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization located in Adelaide. CSRIO contributes to improving the production, processing and marketing of grapes and grape production. Research includes: improving wine, dried rootstock and grape varieties and improving characteristics such as disease control.

3) Provisor Property Incorporated
Provisor is a resource provider for research and development, technical consulting and contract research and  development. The company specializes in area of product development, efficient manufacturing, pilot scale winemaking services and environmental management. The company’s major clients include research  agencies, wine companies, grape growers and grape suppliers.

4) SARDI: South Australia Research and Development Institute
Delivers the innovation to enhance the food, fibre and bioscience industries and living environmental systems. Their mission is to meet specific industry priorities, increase productivity and economic de- velopment performance, pursue innovation in environmental industries, attract investment and develop  infrastructure.

5) The University of Adelaide
Established in 1874, the University is ranked in the top 1% in the world in 11 research fields. The schools is world renown for its studies in agriculture, food and wine. Major research is on topics such as viticulture, horticulture, wine science, biometrics, grapevine physiology and microbial biotechnology.

Niagara’s Need for Business & Marketing.

Although the creation of wine is solely the artwork of the Oenology and Viticulture (the science of wine production) the business and marketing aspect behind the finished product plays a huge role in the success of the wine; much like any other product in today’s markets. With the rapidly growing wine industry in Niagara, there is a growing demand for business and marketing.

How does Niagara plan on fulfilling this need?  The answer is quite simple:

Over-view of Brock University located in St. Catherines, ON.

Over-view of Brock University located in St. Catherines, ON.

There are plans to expand Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture institute, which was opened back in 1997. The expansion will include a deeper focus on Business and Marketing, although Science studies will also be of major focus as it is the institute’s known reputation. Debbie Inglis, the newly appointed director of the institute states that it’s time to go “go beyond science and take a closer look at the business and marketing side of wine”

This idea will be vital for the emergence of the Ontario Grape and wine research cluster while includes a range of partners including: grape growers, wineries, the Vineland Research and Innovations centre, Niagara College, The University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of  Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs. The groups’ aim is to coordinate grape and wine research.

To read the article in the newspaper article, please click HERE

Wine clusters? Why?

This blog has been created in effort to share stories, news and insights on the events and social benchmarks which are paving the way for innovation and technology for within the wine industry here in Canada. The question is, why wine? Well before we get to this answer,  must clarify what a cluster exactly is. Here is a definition:

Clusters are networks of compatible or competitive inter-related
companies working together to strengthen the industry market. Each
cluster creates a commercial magnet that attracts customers,
investment and innovation”

321px-red_wine_glasYou may not believe this, but there are wine clusters throughout the world. Here are 3 examples, that will be discussed in this blog on further dates:

> Okanagan Wine Cluster
    Britsh Columbia
> Ausralian Wine Innovation Cluster
    South Australia
> Ontario Wine Research Cluster

What classifies these as wine clusters, is the fact that they have several research agencies and affiliations which connects each firm to one another with a single goal in mind: in collaboration, to achieve results that would not be possible working as a standalone agencies.

Why wine?

The rich history of wine dates back to 6000 BC. In its origin, wine was strictly consumed for religious purposes only. Through evolution, wine has become a huge business and has been the center for economic growth in certain countries (eg. France). Not only has it become a necessity for social gatherings and special occasions, but it has also driven tourism to certain locations (such as Niagara Falls).

As a soon-to-be graduate from marketing, my future aspirations are to find a career in the field of marketing related to the food beverage industry here in Toronto. More particularly, a marketing firm, or a large company specializing in food and beverage or entertainment. Because of my interest in wine, entertainment and the food and beverage industry, I have chosen to research on wine clusters.  I officially welcome you to my blog, and encourage you to visit it on a regular bases to find out more on wine and the innovation behind it.

For information on the three wine clusters, follow these links.