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Aug. 10, 2020 | Monday
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Niagara College, Canopy partner in joint vineyard venture
From left, toasting their new partnership: Steve Hudson, Niagara College's senior vice-president, academic and learner services, Sydney Neumann, a second-year student in the winery and viticulture technician program, college president Dan Patterson, and Canopy Growth Corp. officials Jeff Ryan and Sean Webster. (Supplied)

A new partnership between Canopy Growth and Niagara College will see the school take over operation of the former Coyote’s Run vineyard for at least the next 10 years.

And the lease arrangement will only cost the college $10 a year.

The Concession 5 vineyard next to Canopy Growth’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Tweed Farms greenhouse will be maintained and operated by the college’s Learning Enterprises Corporation.

Canopy purchased the land from Coyote’s Run Estate Winery in May 2019 for almost $10 million. Two lots of land were purchased at that time — the larger lot of just under 60 acres which was purchased for $9.1 million will be leased to the college. Canopy Growth will retain the smaller five-acre lot which was purchased for just under $900,000.

When the company bought the vineyard officials said they intended to find an “experienced grape grower” to maintain the vineyard sustainably, a statement from the college said.

“(Canopy Growth) found a trusted partner in Niagara College, which has been a leader in wine education for 20 years,” the statement said.

Niagara College boasts the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada and is committed to maintaining an environmentally and socially sustainable vineyard.

The school also operates the first commercial cannabis production program in the country.

Steve Gill, general manager of the college’s learning enterprise, called the partnership a win-win.

“Our wine students gain experience at a second Niagara vineyard, Canopy benefits from our dedication to minimizing impact on its greenhouse operations, and Niagara-on-the-Lake residents gain good neighbours through our commitment to maintaining the vineyards with sustainable farming practices,” Gill said in the statement.

College president Dan Patterson said grape growing and wine production is integral to Niagara’s economy.

“We applaud Canopy Growth’s decision to preserve the vineyards on this Niagara-on-the-Lake property,” Patterson said.

“We are proud to be a part of this historic new partnership that bridges Niagara’s established wine industry with its emerging cannabis production industry, and we’re dedicated to applying our expertise in a manner that will benefit our students and the community.”

The new location will serve as a secondary production space for the teaching winery, where students will be exposed to different terrain and grape varieties than at the college’s on-campus vineyard.

The land at the newly-leased vineyard is situated in the sub-appellation of Four Mile Creek – a variance from the college’s St. Davids Bench location.

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