Niagara’s wine industry is just starting to make itself known on the global scale. At just 35-years-old, the industry is still a “baby,” according to Amélie Boury, winemaker Chateau des Charmes winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake — but the vines of Niagara viticulture are spreading further as the roots of the industry grow.
“We have to go so much further than we are … We have to help it grow, make it more refined, find out what grows best here, discover the best techniques and understand more about the soil and the climate,” said Boury.
And Niagara’s wineries are doing just that, according to the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario.
Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Chateau des Charmes recently completed a $2 million expansion of their cellar, which included adding 16 French oak casks, each 5,000 litres, adding 80,000 litres to the winery’s capacity.
Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits, also in NOTL, opened its flagship wine boutique under the Lakeview Wine Co. banner earlier this year, as the first part of a four-phase expansion that will see 3.6 million litres added to the winery’s capacity, along with a new warehouse, new bottling line, additional staging space and a new barrel room. Diamond’s Niagara-on-the-Lake complex is expected be home to tanks holding more than eight million litres of wine when it is completed.
This year, Megalomaniac Winery in Vineland completed an 18-month project that has added 30,000 square feet to its production and retail facilities. The winery has gone from producing 2,000 cases of wine annually to 45,000 cases in the past seven years.
Currently, the wine industry is worth $4.4 billion to the provincial economy. It has been estimated that every $10 spent on Ontario VQA wines generates $40 in economic activity, according to the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario.
Murray Souter, president and chief executive of Diamond Estates, said, in a November media release, that the industry has invested heavily in advancing wine production, including investments in cool climate vinifera grapes.
“We have proven we can craft world class wines in this region. Now we have to grow our industry not just for the domestic market, but for export as well.”