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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Niagara Wine and Government Kerfuffel

 From Steve Kocsis -- February 15, 2008  The Grimsby Lincoln News

Niagara this Week

Mr. Mike Williscraft

Letter to the Editor


                 Your editorial support for local farmers is much appreciated.  I grow pears for processing and the fresh market in orchards started by my parents in 1958.  I grow grapes for juice and wine in vineyards that I planted in 1983, the year my second child was born, 25 years ago.  We started a farm based winery in 1999 hoping to remain economically viable by further processing the products of our family farm.

               We have seen Minister after Minister showboating through Niagara during icewine harvest posing for mock harvest pictures.    We have seen them engaged in heart wrenching displays of public hand wringing over the demise on Niagara's economy.

          Imagine a government whose monopoly agency (LCBO) scours the remotest corners of the world for foreign subsidized wines to dump into our Ontario marketplace. Imagine a bloated and arrogant bureaucracy  whose prime mandate is self-preservation and who effectively blocks from their shelves the 100% Ontario wine from more than three quarters of all Ontario wineries.

          Imagine an American conglomerate that has veto power over decisions made by the Wine Council of Ontario and together collaborate to dump their foreign subsidized 99% import blended and misleadingly labeled wine into our market.

          Imagine a greedy and gutless government who with quaking knees in fear of the unions shelved their own study that recommended the elimination of the LCBO and foreign controlled wine retailing monopoly in Ontario.

          I do not have great expectations of our government; do not expect the government to sell my wine in the markets that the LCBO sources subsidized imports from to dump into my market.  I am not asking permission from the Greenbelt Government to sell my now useless pear orchards and juice grape vineyards for residential development. 

          All I am asking for is some honesty in labeling ( a federal issue ), access to the marketplace without a bloated LCBO blocking every move and bleeding off all hope of profit for a small winery ( a provincial issue ) and the continued support of our local media and consumers to pick 100% Ontario when given a choice.

          Perhaps as we see opportunistic and hypocritical governments come and go the integrity of our land and vineyards and wine will outlast them to survive for another generation.



                                                                   Steve Kocsis

                                                        Steve Kocsis

                                                        4016 Mountain Street



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