Sustainable winegrowing

Many winemakers, here in Ontario and around the world, believe that the large-scale use of synthetic chemicals, such as fertilizers, prevents the grapes from offering their truest expression (remember the bit about “terroir”?). Similarly, pesticides and herbicides can interfere with the composition of the soil.

Ontario wine-grape growers and wine producers are stewards of our land. To ensure the quality of our wines and the sustainability of Ontario vineyards and wineries, our industry has adopted many environmental practices. The Wine Council of Ontario has developed a program called Sustainable Winemaking Ontario: An Environmental Charter for the Wine Industry, which lays out best-practice guidelines, drawing on the breadth of knowledge and experience within the industry. This all-encompassing program—which received recognition from the Minister of the Environment’s Award of Environmental Excellence—is the first of its kind in Canada, and it focuses on all aspects of wine production, from vineyard water usage to energy conservation, pesticide use and community relations. The program goal is to encourage wineries to look at the impact of their day-to-day operations, in terms of environmental, economic and social responsibility.

We believe that this “from soil to shelf” program will sustain Ontario’s success on the world stage. In addition, many of our vineyards and wineries are exploring other innovative options, such as earning biodynamic and organic certification, constructing LEED-certified buildings, using geothermal or solar heating, and participating in Local Food Plus and other environmental programs.

For more information on Sustainable Winemaking Ontario, please email us at

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