Donald L. Triggs
Donald L. Triggs

Vincor International

Growing up in rural Manitoba, Donald L. Triggs’ passion for the land and its fruits started at an early age. This passion, married with his obvious business acumen, has come full circle as he now lends his talents to Canada’s fastest growing wine company, Jackson-Triggs, along with its parent company, Vincor International Inc. and his newest undertaking, Delaine Vineyard.

Triggs’ university education prepared him well for the success he now enjoys. After receiving a B.Sc. (Honours) in agriculture from the University of Manitoba, he continued his studies at the University of Western Ontario, where he earned his MBA.

A marketer at heart, Triggs got his start at Colgate-Palmolive in product management. After rising through the marketing ranks, he went on to manage John Labatt’s wine businesses in Canada and then in the United States. In the 1980s, he ran the North American and then global, horticultural business of Fisons PLC. However, his most important career move came in 1989, when he joined with friend, Allan Jackson, to negotiate the management buyout of Labatt’s Canadian wine interests.

Since that time, Triggs has steered the new company, now called Vincor International, through a series of strategic mergers and acquisitions. Publicly traded since 1996, Vincor is the leading vintner in Canada, and the fourth-largest wine producer in North America.

Complementing his work for Vincor, Triggs has been able to express his personal love of viticulture, and the art and science of winemaking, through Jackson-Triggs. Together with Allan Jackson, Triggs established the Jackson-Triggs brand in 1993, introducing two classic wines, which were exceptionally well received by consumers and the industry. Today, an extensive portfolio of Proprietors’ Selection and VQA Proprietors’ Reserve and Grand Reserve wines is produced in both the Okanagan Valley and the Niagara Peninsula.

Triggs’ has recently taken on another role within the Canadian wine industry, this time as grapegrower in the Niagara Peninsula. In partnership with his wife, Elaine, he purchased close to 100 acres of prized fruitland along the Niagara Parkway in 1998, thus creating Delaine Vineyard (after the Triggs’ first names.) Designed to provide premium quality vinifera grapes for Vincor’s Niagara Region wineries, and Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate in particular, the 95-acre vineyard also serves as a research centre dedicated to maximizing fruit quality. Delaine Vineyard has released its first wines, the 2001 and 2002 vintages, under the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate label to much market acclaim.

Committed to furthering the science of viticulture and winemaking in Canada, Don and Elaine recently created the Triggs Premium Vinifera Lecture Series at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticultural Institute (CCOVI). CCOVI was created in 1997, at which time, Vincor International, under Don’s leadership, made the founding donation of $600,000.

Triggs has also been presented with a number of prestigious awards: an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brock University (2004), the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2003); Christopher Newton Award for Extraordinary Vision in Business (2003); Tony Aspler Award of Excellence (2001); the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of Year (2000); and was awarded the titles of “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin” (2002) and “Commandeur d’Honneur du Bontemps de Médoc et des Graves” (2000). He is active in several professional associations, including the Canadian Vintners Association as past Chairman, the Public Policy Forum as Founding, and Honorary Director, and the Ontario Wine Council as a former Director and Chairman.

A member of the Advisory Board for the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, and of the Board of Directors of Samsonite Corporation, Triggs has also served as Director, and past Chairman of the Board of AboutFace, an organization that assists those who are facially different, and was recently honoured with a Ten Year Volunteer Service Award by the Government of Ontario. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Brock University, a former Director of the Shaw Festival, and is a member of the Ontario Chapter of WPO, the World Presidents’ Organization, and the Chief Executive Officers’ Organization.

With joint venture partnerships with leading French wine producers, the new Jackson-Triggs estate winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Frank Gehry designing a new winery in Jordan, over 1,000 acres of new vineyards under development in the Okanagan Valley, and the purchase of leading wineries in British Columbia (Sumac Ridge and Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards), in California (R.H. Phillips), in Washington State (Hogue Cellars), in Australia (Goundrey and Amberley Estate), in New Zealand (Kim Crawford Wines), and in South Africa (Kumala), Triggs shows remarkable leadership and innovation. His goal, quite simply, is to produce super premium quality wine in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and in other new world wine regions, for wine lovers the world over.