The grape harvest in Ontario is down by 50% according to the Wine Council of Ontario, as a result of a cold snap in January and February.

Unseasonably cold weather has reduced the total crop to around 21,000 tonnes. The council said it expected that the C$450m annual retail sales of Ontario wines would be cut by one third because of the harvest shortfall. "There is not a grape available for sale right now," said council chairman Norm Beal.

In order to offset the grape shortages, wine producers have requested that they be allowed to make some wines using only 10% local grapes instead of the minimum 30% usually required. Similar exceptions to the rules were made in 1993 and 2003 after cold weather, though some growers fear that importing more grapes from other areas will diminish the reputation of Ontario wines.

 The Wine Council of Ontario represents 64 wineries in the region.