Wine Council of Ontario elects new Chair


Niagara, ON – With over 25 years experience in the Canadian wine industry, the incoming Chairman of the Wine Council of Ontario will be using his winemaking roots, marketing expertise and dedication for quality wines to inspire consumer loyalty for Ontario wines and work to drive an increase in distribution opportunities.

Allan Schmidt, President and Managing Partner of Vineland Estates Winery in Vineland, was elected as the new chair of the Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) at today’s board meeting. He replaces Ed Madronich of Flat Rock Cellars who has spent his four-year term sharing his passion for Ontario wines with a focus towards fostering awareness and dedication to Ontario wines by Ontarians.

“Since moving to Ontario I have seen our industry show an inspiring evolution from just under 25 wineries to over 125, in a span of only 25 years. I am proud to be part of this amazing growth and am committed to championing opportunities to increase distribution for the quality wines we produce in our province,” said Allan Schmidt.

“Allan is leading the Wine Council of Ontario at a very exciting time. Our 87 members from across the province have a shared vision of growth and I know that Allan’s leadership is focused on getting them there,” said Hillary Dawson, President of the Wine Council of Ontario.

Schmidt’s background in the world of grape growing and winemaking began in the wine region of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in addition to working in California and Germany. In 1987, he moved to Ontario to take up the position of Winemaker and General Manager of Vineland Estates Winery for founder Herman Weis. Today, Allan holds the position of President and Managing Partner where he has used his many skills to develop this winery into one of Niagara’s premiere wine and culinary experiences. He also serves on numerous industry boards including the Canadian Vintner’s Association (CVA), the Niagara Wine Festival and the Ontario Grape and Wine Research Inc (OGWRI).

As a new chair, Allan’s efforts will be supported by a strong Board of Directors that elected Len Pennachetti of Cave Spring Cellars as Vice-chair, Jeff Aubry of Coyote’s Run Estate Winery as Secretary, Norm Beal of Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery as Treasurer, Caroline Granger of The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery as Governance Officer. Newman Smith of Strewn Winery also joins the team as a new member of the board.


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: info@ontariocraftwineries.ca | 905 562 8070 ext. 225


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