Kingsville winery rejects allegations of cronyism

Premier Doug Ford (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

A popular winery in Essex County is under fire for getting too close to Ontario’s premier.

Premier Doug Ford recently visited Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville and on Sunday posted a tweet promoting the winery after touring the operation.

“Great Ontario wines like @PeleeWinery will be coming to convenience stores near you!” his tweet read.

A social media fire storm soon followed accusing the winery and the premier of cronyism and paying to play following two political contributions to the Ontario Conservatives so far this year by the winery’s president.

The winery has denied any allegations of cronyism and issued a statement on Monday apologizing for the misunderstanding.

“We met with ON Premier to discuss the future of the wine & grape industry in ON. Our goal: To share issues facing all ON wineries/grape growers, including a taxation policy that supports the industry by not taxing ON like imports,” the Pelee Island Winery statement read. “We apologize that this goal is not being focused on.”

Many on Twitter, however, are not buying it and have said the apology doesn’t seem sincere.

The overwhelming majority of tweets said the winery should have known better than to associate itself with the controversial premier and that the video made by his Ontario News Now team was nothing short of an infomercial for Pelee Island Winery.

The video was shot after two Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario political contributions made by winery president Walter Schmoranz in February and July totalling $2,050.