First of its Kind Industry Conference and Trade Show for Ontario’s Craft Wine Industry


(Vineland, Ontario) March 21, 2018 – The Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) is pleased to announce the first annual Ontario Craft Wine Conference & Trade Show (OCWC) to be held on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto (Exhibition Place).

“This is the first event of its kind for Ontario’s independently-owned small and medium-sized wineries, and it will be an important addition to our industry’s annual calendar,” says Len Pennachetti, Chair, Wine Council of Ontario. “This Conference and trade show brings our industry together in a new and collaborative way, leading to better business opportunities for everyone.”


Planned under the banner theme of “Growing Success and Profit”, the full-day conference will kick off with a keynote address by Erica Crawford of Loveblock Wines (formerly of Kim Crawford Wines) and features concurrent speaker/panel presentations from wine industry professionals and experts on a variety of topics, including:

Direct to Consumer Sales: Sandra Hess, DTC Wine Workshops

Selling VQA Wines on the Local Market; Trade Insights:  Astrid Brummer, LCBO; Justyn Szymczyk, kwäf; Mark Cuff, The Living Vine

Unlock the Value of Your Appellation: Laurie Macdonald, VQAO, Bruce Wallner, Master Sommelier; Greg Berti, Andrew Peller Limited

Are you ready to export? Panel moderator: Magdalena Kaiser, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario and Janet Dorozynski, Trade Commissioner, Canadian Wine, Beer and Spirits and Tourism

Branding and Intellectual Property Law for Canadian Wineries: Shelagh Carnegie, Gowling WLG

Bank Lending: Preparation & Criteria for Success: Steve Cosby, Scotiabank

How to apply for & write a successful grant application and access to right funding programs: Joe Turner, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Charlene Gordon, Edmonds & Gordon Inc., John Laidlaw, Ontario Soil Crop Improvement Association

Appassimento: Research & Applied Practice: Dr. Debbie Inglis, Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI); Andrzej Lipinski, Big Head Wines; Barclay Robinson, Foreign Affair Winery; Alex Kolundzic, Pillitteri Estates Winery

New Technologies for Ontario Wineries: Panel moderator: Dr. Wendy McFadden-Smith, Panelists: Joe Pillitteri, Lakeview Vineyard Equipment; Mark Bassel, Prospero Equipment

Wine Trends: Sparkling, Rosé & Skin Contact: Paul Pender, Winemaker, Tawse; Lori O’Sullivan, sommelier, Ritz Carleton

Sustainable Winemaking in Ontario: Challenges & Opportunities: Hugh Fraser, OTB Farm Solutions and Dave Hooper, Cave Spring Cellars


OCWC’s 9500 sq. ft. Trade Show exhibition will highlight products, services and offerings from the industry’s top suppliers, providing a unique opportunity for winery owners and staff to network and do business with multiple companies and contacts in a single location. Companies interested in exhibiting can find more information on the OCWC website.

The event is being planned by a special committee of wine industry representatives, including: Richard Linley, Wine Council of Ontario, Stephen Gash, Malivoire Wine Co., Ed Madronich, Flat Rock Cellars, Jamie Slingerland, Pillitteri Estates Winery and Sue-Ann Staff, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery.

“Our conference planning committee has put a great deal of time and effort into creating a beneficial offering for our industry,” says Richard Linley, President of the Wine Council of Ontario. “We are thrilled by the industry support we have received to date and the enthusiasm from all of our winery members and stakeholders. It promises to be a great day of education, business and networking that will support our industry in creating new investment opportunities, jobs and award-winning wines, as well, this conference will demonstrate the economic importance, growth and professionalism of the craft winery sector in Ontario.”


For more information, visit

A limited number of accredited media spaces are available. Please email contacts below to request media accreditation:

Media contacts:

Alison Oppenlaender
Wine Council of Ontario
905.562.8070 x 230

Christine Mulkins

Jenny Mulkins


The OCW leads the growth and profitability of Ontario’s respected VQA wine sector – through strategic partnership and authoritative trusted advocacy. As a non-profit trade association, the OCW represents over 100 wineries from across the three designated viticultural areas of the province (Niagara, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore – including Pelee Island) as well as emerging wine producing regions such as Ontario’s South Coast and Georgian Bay/Grey County. OCW members are independently owned small and medium sized businesses – grape growers, manufacturers and leaders in tourism in their communities. Our members are the future of Ontario’s wine industry which is a source of new investment, jobs and award-winning wines.

For more information, please contact: | 905 562 8070 ext. 225

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