The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Andrea Laciok of Coyotes Run Estate Winery pours a glass of the new 2007 Red. Laciok is a graduate of Niagara Colleges Public Relations Graduate Certificate program. Photo by Andrew Towle P
By ANDREW TOWLE Staff Writer The wineries in Ontario have seen steady growth in production and sales on a yearly basis. Employing over 5,000 employees with millions of dollars in revenue, the industry is dealing with the negative economic situation. “Sales have dropped,” says Andrea Laciok of Coyote’s Run, “but we’re very hopeful 2009 sales will increase.” Wine sales of Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines have increased steadily over the past five years. Forty per cent of these sales come from the sale of wines at the individual wineries and from wine tours. Tourism is big business in Niagara. The Ontario Ministry of Tourism lists the wine business as one of Niagara’s economic cores in the region. Seventy-one of the 107 VQA wineries are in Niagara. The ministry has created two projects to enhance winery tourism: the wine route enhancement initiative and the wine and culinary tourism steering committee. “We are hoping people will be doing ‘staycations,’” says Laciok. Day trips to Niagara by residents living in driving range are the core target and take up the highest percentage of the estimated one million tourists to the region. The Icewine Festival and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine and Chocolate Festival were quite successful, with high attendance. Wineries are hoping this trend will continue into the tourism season. There are numerous festivals in the upcoming season, such as the Wine and Herb Festival and the New Vintage Festival. The Ontario Wine Council has worked with the wineries to make a calendar full of events for tourists to enjoy this coming season. “Pretty positive,” says Laciok about 2009. “There has been a decline in sales. We know that but we’re going to ride it out. We’re hopeful.”