By Kirk Starratt
For every dollar invested in the winery industry in Kings County, there are benefits to the wider community.
That’s the message sent by an economic impact study commissioned by Canadian Vintners Association and the wine industry associations of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. The study indicates that the wine industry now contributes $196 million annually to Nova Scotia’s economy.
Wolfville Business Development Corporation executive director David Hovell said the report demonstrates to government and others that the winery industry is growing and has great future potential. The more the wine industry grows, the more associated industry will spring up around it, he added.
“There’s huge potential,” Hovell said. “Our challenge is to find the right opportunities and invest strategically.”
Wolfville is located centrally to an increasing cluster of celebrated wineries, and Hovell said it’s fair to say Kings County is becoming the centre of the wine industry in the province.
“We’re naturally positioned and we’re trying to strategically position the area as the centre of wine country in Nova Scotia.”
One example is the Magic Winery Bus initiative that began last year. The Wolfville Business Development Corporation, the Town of Wolfville and industry stakeholders partnered to bring 2,700 new visitors to experience the local wine industry and the town. The local wine industry has become a tourism attraction, Hovell adds.
One objective of Wolfville’s economic action plan is to make the town the centre for food and wine in Atlantic Canada, both in terms of investment and tourism. Agriculture is very much woven into the fabric of the community and Hovell said the people of Wolfville seem to have a great appreciation of food and where it comes from.
Hovell said there are great chefs locating to Wolfville and the wider community, which makes for a great pairing with the flourishing wine industry.
The report indicates that every bottle of Nova Scotia wine produces 15 times the economic impact as a bottle of imported wine. The report also details the economic impact of the wine industry for a catalyst for tourism, with approximately 100,000 tourists visiting Nova Scotia wineries in 2011.
Between 2007 and 2011, wine consumption in Canada increased 14 per cent. There was one winery in Nova Scotia in 1980, and now there are 12 grape wineries and six fruit-based wineries. Included in the total of $196 million in economic activity was $25 million in tax revenue and $30 million in wages, which equates into an economic impact of $375,000 per acre of grapes farmed.
The success means that wineries will have to expand the acreage of grapes currently being grown, and there is plenty of room in Nova Scotia, including Kings County, to expand.
The study was written by Frank, Rimerman and Company, a United States-based management consulting firm with expertise in the wine industry.