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Friday February 8th, 2013

Posted at 10:00am

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EPIC website screenshot

EPIC — the acronym for the Essex Pelee Island Coast Winegrowers Association — and the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation have been awarded a 2012 Economic Development Council of Ontario Marketing Award for excellence in product and research development in a report.

“In early 2011, our winegrowers association approached WEEDC about assisting us in helping to build capacity in our wine industry,” explains Tom O’Brien, President of the EPIC Winegrowers Association. “Working with all of our community partners, including Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, St. Clair College, and the University of Windsor, we were able to clearly identify areas where we were strong and areas where we could grow. Most significant was the decision to rebrand our region to EPIC – Essex Pelee Island Coast.”

The report determined that the wine sector impacted seven of the nine priority industries identified by the region for future economic growth and outlined wide-ranging opportunities for the wine industry.

“One of the most beneficial aspects of this report was that it helped residents across the Windsor-Essex region become aware of all the wine industry has to offer,” states Karolyn Hart, Vice President of Marketing, Operations, & Community Development at WEEDC. “What we learned in our research is that in every region where a wine industry gains capacity, it ends up becoming one of the lead industries. As we look to the future to diversify our economy, this is exciting news.”

Since the release of the report a number of the recommendations have been adopted and are underway. Preliminary discussions have occurred with the region’s CAO’s with respect to the development of a regional signage strategy, the region proudly celebrated its quality of wines by promoting the 36 awards it secured in 2012, and the wineries and EPIC have been a strong voice of advocacy in helping local wineries gain access to the market.

“We are very proud of the WEEDC team and collaborative partners that have been recognized with this award,” explains Joe Byrne, Chair of WEEDC. “This is an example of our region’s commitment to excellence and how working together allows us to accomplish great things.

You can check out the award-winning wine report here.

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