Niagara region’s wine sector has billions in untapped potential, report finds

Niagara region’s wine sector has billions in untapped potential, report finds

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The wine sector in Ontario’s Niagara region is lagging behind other world leaders, but is primed for growth under the right circumstances, a new report found.

The report from Deloitte, commissioned by Ontario Craft Wineries, Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Wine Growers Ontario, found the Niagara “cluster,” a network of industries poised for growth, has the potential of adding another $8 billion to the national GDP over the next 25 years, with the wine industry leading the way.

The report also found that Ontario’s wine industry – and specifically the Niagara region – has fallen behind the British Columbia wine sector. Between 2009 and 2019, Kelowna’s GDP grew by more than 41 per cent, but Niagara’s only grew by 9.7 per cent despite having a larger population and proximity to a major tourist destination: Niagara Falls.

Additionally, a growing wine sector in the region would also have a ripple effect on the local tourism, hospitality and farming industries, to name a few.

The report suggests the tax burden on Ontario wineries is higher than most other regional leaders in the space, while other jurisdictions have policies in place to allow local wines to dominate the local market.

“Ontario wines already compete and win on the global stage, so working together to turn Niagara into a world-class wine and tourism region to drive significant economic growth is within reach,” John Peller, president of Andrew Peller Ltd., said in a news release.

“What’s required are supporting policies and best practices that both B.C. and leading global wine regions adhere to and where Ontario needs to catch-up.”

The report found if Ontario wines had the same domestic market share as B.C. wines have in its province, the Ontario sector would grow by $70 million.

“Canada, Ontario and even the region of Niagara, should consider borrowing policies from leading jurisdictions to cultivate the wine sector and foster its premium reputational capital in its home market,” the report states.

“With the right preconditions for a flourishing premium wine sector in Ontario, the Niagara region, Ontario, and Canada can realize the full economic benefits of this sector.”

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