Niagara This Week - St. Catharines
It seems the second time was the charm for Pillitteri Estates Winery.

The family-owned winery picked up the Ontario Food Exporter Award at the Canadian Agri-Food Export Gala. It was extra sweet for the winery, who came in second for the same award last year.

“Ontario agri-food products are popular around the world and our government is working hard to support the province’s expanding export market. Pillitteri Estates Winery is an excellent example of how our agri-food sector is helping to drive economic growth and create jobs across the province,” Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Premier and Minister of Agriculture said in a written release.

Ontario food exports increased to $10.8 billion in 2012, a jump of more than $900 million compared to 2011. Pillitteri has grown to be the world’s largest estate producer of icewine, exporting to 32 countries to date, producing 45,000 cases of icewine each year. Its icewine makes up 45 per cent of the winery’s production and 80 per cent of its exports.

“Since starting our business in 1993, we have grown to become one of the best known international ice wine brands, now available around the globe,” said Charlie Pillitteri, CEO. “It is an honour to be recognized with the Ontario Food Exporter Award, and I want to thank the Ontario government for its support of the province’s agri-food industry.”

This year’s finalists for the award were Conestoga Meat Packers Ltd. and Honeybar.