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Ontario’s Wine and Grape Sustainability Programs are Evolving

The Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified Program evolution ensures the complete grape-to-glass cycle is sustainable

Ontario Craft Wineries (OCW) along with the Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) are excited to announce that Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified, which launched in 2007, has now been transitioned to Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified (SWO Certified) to encompass vineyards and wineries, including winemaking facilities. Evolving the program to merge both the vineyard certification and the winery certification ensures that the complete grape-to-glass cycle follows a sustainable path.

“As the Chair of the SWO Certified program, I am thrilled to be able to work so closely with the like-minded wineries and vineyards who are committed to showing leadership in producing certified sustainable wines. I am also very excited about the launch of our new website which will provide consumers the information they need to make the most sustainable choice when they are purchasing Ontario VQA wines” said Andrea Kaiser of Reif Estate Winery, a SWO Certified Winegrower and SWO Certified Chair.

SWO Certified is a recognized and independent third-party audit program available to all Ontario vineyards and wineries that produce Ontario VQA wines. It was developed with the three tiers of sustainability at the forefront of the program: Environment, Economy and Community. Grape growers and winemakers are stewards of the land, they operate viable businesses, support jobs, and are a cornerstone of tourism to our local rural communities.

“As a second-generation grape grower, it is extremely important to me that I manage my vineyards in a sustainable way that will allow me to pass them onto my children the same way they have been passed onto me. Certifying my vineyards through the Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified program, which includes an independent audit, benchmarks our progress and success growing certified sustainable grapes” said Kevin Watson, K.J. Watson Farms Limited, SWO Certified Winegrower

Beginning with the 2021 vintage, eco-conscious consumers should look for the SWO Certified logo on Ontario VQA wines, as this ensures that both the grapes and the winery in which the wine is made are SWO Certified. The wines are verified as 100% VQA Ontario by the Ontario Wine Appellation Authority.

TO explore the full list of SWO Certified wineries and vineyards, visit