Jeff Leal Minister Responsible for Small Business and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has said that “Our partnerships with Diamond Estates and Andrew Peller are just some of the ways we are helping grow the economy in the Niagara region. Our investments through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund are helping these two leading wineries create good jobs, improve their production and grow Ontario’s thriving wine and grape sector.”

Jim Bradley MPP for St. Catharines has said that “Strategic investments through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund help spur innovation and strengthen our regional economy. Our support for these major local employers will help bring even more highly-skilled jobs to the region and strengthen Ontario’s economy.”

Ontario is partnering with Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Limited and Andrew Peller Limited to help the companies create 45 new jobs and retain 133 existing positions in Niagara region.

Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Inc. is one of the largest wine producers in the province. The brands include top-selling VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) Ontario wines such as Lakeview Cellars, 20 Bees and Dan Aykroyd Wines.

With support from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the company is investing in a 43,300 square feet facility expansion. The expansion will accommodate new fermenters, humidity and temperature-controlled storage and bottling areas, and the company is also investing in state-of-the-art wine canning equipment. It will be one of the few wineries in North America to offer canned still wine to take advantage of a growing trend for single-serve drinks and the market for light-weight packaging for alcoholic drinks.

Andrew Peller Limited is a leading wine producer and seller in Ontario and Canada. The company’s VQA brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Hillebrand and Wayne Gretzky. Andrew Peller also produces whisky, wine-based liqueurs, cocktails and spritzers, as well as premium personal winemaking products.

With support from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the company has invested in the construction of a Wayne Gretzky Winery and Distillery facility. This new facility will increase tourism revenue in the region and increase the profile of the company’s existing and new distillery products. The project has allowed the company to expand into craft distilling and increase its production capacity with new equipment. The company will also increase barrel and fermentation capacity at the Grimsby winery facility.

Supporting business investment in southwest Ontario is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.