Lifetime Achievement Alumni 2007 John Howard

Join us as we a look back at our Lifetime Achievement Award alumni of the past 25 years. These outstanding individuals have truly left an indelible mark on Niagara and have inspired countless other entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Niagara.

Over the last 24 years, NEYA has inducted 33 entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame by bestowing them with this prestigious recognition. Click here to see a complete list of our Lifetime Achievement Alumni and join us on March 1, 2019 as we bestow a new group of deserving entrepreneurs with this honour at our 25th Anniversary Awards Gala at the Fallsview Casino Resort.

Tickets for the 25th annual Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala to be held March 1, 2019 at the Fallsview Casino Resort are now on sale. Tickets are limited, so order early!

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A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, John Howard has held positions ranging from ironworker to management positions in the technology industry to wine industry entrepreneur – to name only a few.

For more than ten years, John was owner of Vineland Estates Winery, having purchased the estate in 1992. In developing the estate winery, he elevated their bistro-style fare to one of fine dining in addition to extensively renovating the entire operation. Over his ten-year tenure, John saw production increase from 6,000 to 55,000 cases annually. He sold his majority share in the award-winning winery in March 2004. Now the President and CEO of John Howard Cellars of Distinction, his winery produces a few hundred cases of hand-crafted table wines exclusively from home vineyard sites, with names like My Way Chardonnay, Bigmouth Merlot and Coldhearted Cabernet Franc Icewine.

The sale of wines from John Howard Cellars of Distinction helps support The Kids’ Health Link Foundation, which provides computer technology to children in hospitals so they can remain connected to family and friends. In addition to other charitable endeavours, John has also served on several boards, including the Board of Trustees for Niagara University in Buffalo, New York; the Advisory Board for CHTV Canwest and the Board of Directors for Art Park, as well as the Canadian Sportsmen’s Shows.

In 2002, John Howard was presented with the Ontario Global Traders award for Leadership, and, in 2003, he was recipient of the NEYA International Trade Award for his success with Vineland Estates. In 2006, John was awarded the Ontario Citizenship Award, an award that is given to only eight people each year. The London International Awards, which honour preeminent work in advertising, design and digital media, named John Howard Cellars of Distinction a Gold Winner for the package design of Megalomaniac wines.

John Howard is a superior example of entrepreneurial success and commitment to giving back to the community.


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to enterprising entrepreneurs in our community who have significantly impacted the development of economic ventures in Niagara. Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients are individuals who have spent several decades of their lives shaping Niagara, building a legacy, and contributing positively to our community. Save the date and join us on March 1, 2019 for NEYA’s 25th Anniversary Awards Gala.