Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
From left: President Jack Lightstone; Debbie Inglis, director of CCOVI; MP Rick Dykstra; Matthias Oppenlaender, chair of the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc.; Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario; and Michael Metson, Science and Innovation Co-ordinator, Ontario Regional Office, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Brock University is extremely thankful for the Federal Government’s investment in research that will directly enhance and support Canada’s grape and wine industry.
On Dec. 19, 2009, Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catharines, on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz, announced $1.9 million in funding for the Grape Growers of Ontario and Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to support industry-led science and technology projects that will help make the country’s agriculture sector more innovative and competitive.
Of the total funding, $1.45 million — or 75 per cent of the money — will come from the Federal Government’s Developing Innovative Agri-Products program. The remaining money will come from industry.
This strategic investment between the Federal Government, Ontario grape growers and Brock University will provide a platform from which Brock’s world-class research can be further extended into the country’s grape-growing and wine-making communities.
“This is a great day for Brock and a great step forward for Canada’s grape and wine industry,” said Dykstra.
Brock acknowledges that the federal government funding to this industry not only ensures the long-term benefits to the community but also ensures it remains sustainable and competitive on a global basis.
CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis said the funding will add two key positions to its research team. These scientists will focus on research priorities identified by the industry.
It is also a turning point for Brock and for Niagara’s grape and wine industry.
Working with wineries and growers, CCOVI will develop outreach programs based on concerns identified by industry. If sudden issues occur, CCOVI will now have the resources to work with industry as soon as they arise, and work toward solutions at an accelerated pace.
Brock President Jack Lightstone called the news another sign of the growing partnership between the University and the community.
“This is an example of how we strive to take our knowledge and research out of the labs and into the fields and wineries,” said Lightstone.
Learn more about the Developing Innovative Agri-Products program at www.agr.gc.ca  (under Growing Forward, Science).