Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 20, 2010 17:55 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Grape and Wine Innovation in British Columbia

OKANAGAN CENTRE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 20, 2010) -  The Government of Canada is investing in British Columbia wine and grape innovation to strengthen crops and improve growers' economic viability and sustainability. Today, Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced that the B.C. Wine Grape Council will receive up to $2.1 million to address challenges facing grape producers in B.C. by improving pest and disease measures and enhancing grape quality.

"The Government of Canada recognizes that investments in agricultural research help Canadian farmers become more competitive and profitable," said Mr. Lemieux. "Improved quality of grapes and a sustainable production cycle will help our farmers boost their bottom line."

Research will focus on enhancing the sensory and aroma qualities of grapes, and identifying new methods for the control of the two most prevalent grape pests, as well as disease management and water conservation techniques. Strong crops and a sustainable production cycle will help producers compete in the marketplace.

"This support from the Government of Canada is very important in helping us to reach our goals of enhancing our sustainable practices and the overall quality of our grapes and wines," said Hans Buchler, Chair of the B.C. Wine Grape Council. "We are very grateful for this funding which will help us to continue to adapt to a changing climate and changing pest and disease complexes, as well as responding to changing demands by the consuming public. Ongoing support for research in these areas by the federal government is critical for the success of our sector."

The grape and wine sector in B.C. has experienced tremendous growth in the last 20 years. In 2009, grape acreage measured close to 10,000 acres, with approximately 160 wineries in operation. In order to remain competitive, producers are focusing on high quality products with low environmental impact.

This project is being funded under the Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative, which supports industry-led science and technology projects. The initiative is part of the larger Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program, a $158 million five-year program that promotes industry-led innovation initiatives that help get new agricultural products into the marketplace and improve agricultural processes.

In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan supports agriculture as a core economic driver in this country. The Government of Canada is focused on strengthening the economy today, while preparing to pay down the deficit when the time is right, and to create and protect jobs in the future.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary