Run by Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, the $1m ($0.8m USD) R3CL (Physical, Augmented and Virtual Reality Consumer Lab) will be used to recreate the environments where people purchase and consume wines, allowing researchers to study how factors such as sight, sound and smell impact the impression of wine and the choices consumers make.
A wider $2.4m ($1.92m USD) project will also expand the capacity of CCOVI’s research winery to include a fermentation facility and new analytical instruments for grape and wine flavor and aroma analysis.
This week the Ontario Government (through the Ontario Research Fund) has announced $960,000 ($769,400 USD) in funding, matching a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation in October.
Boosting the Canadian wine industry
The R3CL laboratory will recreate environments such as wineries, liquor stores or dining rooms, adding in cues such as music, smells and other sensory information.
By allowing researchers to understand how people purchase and drink wines, it will help wineries know how to best market their wines.
The majority of wines sold in Canada currently come from other countries. The CCOVI hopes the new facility will help support Canada’s own grape and wine industries, helping make it more strategic and competitive in a competitive global marketplace.
Research at Brock has a direct impact on Ontario’s $4.4bn wine industry, said CCOVI director Debbie Inglis: quoting a recent economic impact study that found CCOVI contributed more than $91m and the equivalent of 307 jobs to the Ontario economy.
“CCOVI’s research tackles priority areas of the grape and wine industry,” she said. “By working together between the government, academia and industry, we’re able to put forward solutions that help drive our economy forward.”
While the Canadian wine industry only accounts for 0.5% of global wine production, it still has an annual national economic impact of $9bn ($7.2bn) primarily from the Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia provinces. The industry is responsible for more than 37,000 jobs across manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, transportation, research, retail and restaurants.
CCOVI, an internationally recognized research institute on cool climate viticulture, oenology, wine business and wine culture, offers an array of programs and services to support the Canadian grape and wine industry.