Category Archives: grapes

The discovery that could transform Canada’s wine industry

End of Season growth - Sharifi - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough, Ontario – Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. The solution is one that has never been tried with wine grapes before until now: moving production indoors.

That’s what Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, a Canada Research Chair in sustainable agriculture and professor at Trent University’s School of the Environment, has been working on.

And it could change the entire future of Canada’s wine industry, including dramatically expanding organic wine production. Continue reading

Creating a cancer-fighting ice syrup

Jeff Stuart Biologist at Brock University - web
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

St Catharines – Researchers at Brock University have teamed up with a local firm to add potential cancer-fighting health benefits to their sweet ice syrup.

Biologist Jeff Stuart is working to extract antioxidants from the grape skins left behind after ice wine and ice syrup are made in order to put them back into to the ice syrup as an additive.

“Ice syrup is a sweet and very fruity syrup that is produced from ice wine grapes, but without fermentation. It’s non-alcoholic and sold as a high end food flavour enhancer,” says Stuart of the product made by Sweet and Sticky, the syrup’s Niagara Falls manufacturer that received a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence for its innovation. Continue reading

Keeping an invasive new fruit pest under control

Spotted Wing Drosophila under the microscope - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Click here to watch video

Simcoe, Ontario – A new invasive vinegar fly is threatening Ontario’s soft-skinned berry and tender fruit crops. But thanks to the Ontario Farm Innovation Program (OFIP), researchers and farmers are learning more about Spotted Wing Drosophila and how they can keep the pest from destroying their fruit.

Unlike common vinegar flies that are attracted to spoiled fruit, Spotted Wing Drosophila goes after healthy fruit just before harvest. It lays eggs underneath the skin of intact fruit, and as the larvae feed, the fruit tissue breaks down and becomes soft and leaky, resulting in decreased fruit quality and yield.

“Spotted Wing Drosophila has been on the radar in North America since 2010 and it was first identified in Ontario late that year following identification in other provinces and in the United States,” explains Hannah Fraser, Horticulture Entomology Program Lead with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Continue reading

The 10 most popular innovation stories of 2015

2991-AgInnovation-Logo-avatarBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – As we get ready to bid 2015 good-bye, we thought we would take a look back at the many stories we’ve covered this year. All are focused on food and farming, on Ontario, and on innovation.

We’ve met some fascinating people over the last 12 months and covered some great innovations. Of course we loved them all, but here are the ones that resonated with you the most – our top 10 most popular agricultural innovation stories of 2015.

(By the way, our French-speaking readers have slightly different preferences – click here for our most popular French language stories). Continue reading

Fresh Ontario grapes at Christmas could soon be a reality, research shows

grapes - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – Postharvest specialists at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) have found a way to extend the shelf life of fresh Ontario table grapes so they can be available to consumers longer.

Sovereign Coronation is the most popular table grape variety grown in Ontario and it is ripe and ready for market in late summer and early fall – the same time as many other local fruits, as well as table grapes from other jurisdictions.

This means Ontario table grapes are often overlooked by fruit buyers and farmers face losses if they are unable to find a market for their crop. Continue reading