Ontario wineries are in line for $10 million to offset losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is certainly a welcome relief to many, many wineries that have been shuttered,” said Debbie Zimmerman, chief executive officer for Grape Growers of Ontario.
The loss of agri-tourism, hospitality and wedding sales left some teetering on the edge, she said. On-line sales have been only a minor help.
“We’re an agri-tourism business. People don’t want to come to a bottling plant – they come to see and taste the wine,” said Zimmerman. “Have the experience of a winery, look at the vineyards, or understand the varietals and what makes up a bottle of wine that is grown in Ontario.”
The Ontario budget also included a $1.2 million extension for the small distillery support program, $7.5 million for the VQA (Vintners Quality Assurance) wine support program and $5.3 million for marketing and tourism, for export development, for performance measurement and for research and innovation development initiatives.