Over the past 25 years, Canadian vintners have increased their production of high-quality wines. There are over 350 winery production units when estate and farm-gate operations are taken into account. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a community of wineries with distinctive stories that define each one. With a broad selection of large estates, middle-size operations, and small boutique wineries, there is plenty to experience and appreciate.


With the continual growth and expansion of Ontario’s wine industry at both the national and international levels, investments are continuing to help keep up with the demand. Construction projects for improvements to established wineries along with new winery projects are ongoing, here’s a few current projects to look forward to.


Wayne Gretzky Winery and Craft Distillery


Gretzky officially broke ground on this project late October of 2015, with the opening date being set for spring 2017. The facility is located on a tract of land on Niagara Stone Road that touches Line Three and Concession 6 Road, fronting on the newer roundabout. The 15,000 square foot facility includes a winery, a craft distillery, tasting area, retail and hospitality spaces, fermentation facilities, offices and storage areas and high quality landscaping to surround the buildings.


The Gretzky brand was taken over by Andrew Peller more than six years ago, and this project is the next step in cementing the partnership between the Gretzky’s and Peller’s. The development will not result in any land being removed from active agricultural production as the development area is not currently in agriculture production and has not been for well over 30 years.


The facility is designed by Oakville architect Gren Weis, who was also behind Peller Estate Winery on John Street in NOTL. Wayne Gretzky’s Winery and Craft Distillery will have a barn-inspired look to it, made with lots of wood and glass; Weis had the goal of giving the building a rural feel with a contemporary vision. The facility will bring 40 new permanent jobs along with construction jobs during the year-and-a-half project. Gretzky was also sure to throw a lucky loonie under the building to add to the hockey theme that is the Gretzky brand.


The Hare Wine Company


As of April 2015, Ontario exports of wine into China started expanding as two agreements were reached to bring in millions in investments to the province’s wineries. The 2015 Agri-Food Trade Mission to China helped facilitate a $6 million agreement signed by Ontario’s Pillitteri Estate Winery and China-based Hare Wine Company. The agreement has been reached to bring more Ontario Icewine to China to help meet the growing demand. The investment from the Hare Wine Company has helped establish a new vineyard and the construction project of the new winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake along Niagara Stone Road.


Charles Pillitteri, CEO and President of Sales for Pillitteri Estates Winery, has said: “Long-term, I think we can count on an increase in the production of Icewine in the region while Ontario continues to meet an ever-growing demand for authentic Canadian products.” Many of the winery’s details have not yet been publicly announced, but be sure to follow the process of this project on The Hare Wine Company’s Pinterest and get excited about this new winery.


There are many projects going on in the Niagara region that could be of interest to you. Check out my earlier blog in 2015 where I focused on the big investments in Niagara you may have missed