With popular US wine destinations being only a flight away from Canada, Canadians have never really believed in the potential of local wine. Viticulture started in Canada more or less 200 years ago, when settlers brought vines from Europe. After prohibition and years of a very low production rate, today winemakers from the Canada wine country are demonstrating that growing fine grapes in cold regions is not impossible; as a matter of fact, these grapes possess a very specific and recognizable structure and aromas.
Canadian Wine Regions
Ontario and British Columbia are the main Canadian wine regions. Ontario wine region is actually the most productive, thanks to the Niagara Peninsula province. This area has the most diverse climate, soil type, and continental climate that allows winegrowers to cultivate great Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc grapes.
In the British Columbia wine region, the most important wine-growing area is the Okanagan Valley. Protected by Cascade and Columbia mountain ranges, the Okanagan Valley is climatically perfect for viticulture. The whole British Columbia wine region is organized differently from the Ontario wine region: there are more wineries with less vast vineyards, each producing small quantities of high-quality wine.
The other two Canadian wine regions are Québec and Nova Scotia.
The Canada wine country is one of the first ice wine producer in the world. The variety from the Ontario wine region is called Vidal and it consists of a blending of Trebbiano and Sebel 4986 grapes. At first, this blended variety was supposed to be used to produce a brandy, but due to Vidal’s thick skin and high level of acidity, it turned out to be perfect for wine.
High quality reds from the British Columbia wine region are gaining more international importance; for example, Canadian Pinot Noir is smooth, features a balanced body, and is very enjoyable to drink during a meal.
Wine Tourism in Canada
A document from the Canadian Vintners Association states that more than 3M visitors go to Canadian wine regions every year. Wine tastings and cellar tours are very popular because many wineries are located in the middle of amazing landscapes and often have also a top restaurant inside. Wine routes are very well signposted both along the Ontario wine region and in the British Columbia wine region. You can also plan your own wine route on the internet, choosing the best wineries for your tastings.