Pillitteri Estates Winery, producer of premium VQA (Vintner Quality Alliance) wines, has become the first Ontario winery to achieve the rigorous Advantage Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plus certification from the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB).
HACCP is a system of quality control for food safety that addresses physical, chemical and biological threats as a means of prevention. A HACCP program identifies potential food risks of an operation (known as critical points) and provides a means of monitoring, tracking and handling those areas. HACCP was initially developed by NASA and has been adopted as one of the best food-safety systems applied worldwide.
Pillitteri’s Advantage HACCP Plus certification is the highest level of HACCP attainable, requiring additional systems for bio-security and traceability. This certification ensures customers and partners that Pillitteri is committed to food safety and that it provides a safe and high quality product. Charlie Pillitteri, President of Sales, initiated the program and affirms that “in the scope of today’s global geo-economic environment, HACCP certification is a crucial and necessary element to any successful exporting business. Although HACCP is not a requirement for the exporting of our wines, it will become increasingly necessary in the future.” Currently, Pillitteri exports to over 20 countries with export sales generating a third of total revenue. Charlie adds “We are proud to be one of only 2 businesses in Ontario to receive Advantage HACCP Plus certification. We hope to continue in our role of leadership and advancement in our field by investing resources in an accreditation which is not currently mandatory.”
Pillitteri applied to be part of a pilot project through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). This unique opportunity allowed the winery HACCP team, lead by Winemaster Dr. Marc Bradshaw, along with our consultant, Michelle Harris-Bailey from the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC) to take just under a year to complete the required written programs, conduct training & implementation and to complete a final audit to obtain certification.
Nestled between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, Pillitteri Estates Winery has been producing premium vitis vinifera and French hybrid grapes for over fifty-five years on their Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards. The family’s philosophy is simple: to produce the finest VQA wines possible from the highest quality grapes grown in Niagara. This approach has earned Pillitteri Estates over 450 international and domestic medals reflecting the winery’s commitment to producing premium VQA wines. Pillitteri Estates is recognized as the world’s largest estate producer of Icewine and one of the most innovative.