Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ontario Wine Country at a Glance.

Toronto! You’ve surprised me with your extremely friendly people, interesting architecture (amazing co-existence of the old and the new), cleanliness and safety, diversity and bilingualism, the worst ever lobster rolls, amazing wines, your Bloody Caesar cocktail (Bloody Mary for the rest of the world), your sugar bomb bizarre beavertail, the biggest dogs fountain, the greatest choice of French cheese, horrible Aircanada service, beautiful nature, endemic love for kayaking, and black squirrels at last.

Here is a wrap-up of what I’ve learned about Canadian wine during my recent trip to Toronto.

Ontario is Canada’s biggest wine-production area. It’s considered a relatively new wine region, although vines have been planted here over a hundred years ago. (First commercial winery in Canada was established on Pelee island in 1866)

VQA Ontario (Vintners Quality Alliance)
ontario wine, canadian wine
Trius The Icon, VQA Niagara Peninsula, CA

Ontario has 3 major grape-growing appellations: Lake Erie North Shore, Niagara Peninsula, and Prince Edward County. Within Niagara Peninsula there are 2 regional appellations (Niagara Escarpment and Niagara-on-the-Lake) and 10 sub appellations, which are even smaller areas within regional appellations, such as Beamsville Bench, Niagara Lakeshore, etc.

When you see VQA Ontario on a bottle, it means the wine is made 100% from Ontario-grown grapes, which have been approved by the quality control program.

 Climate & Soil

Ontario’s wine appellation sits in the middle of the northern grape growing belt, at roughly the same latitude as northern Italy. Lakes that surround the vineyards (Lake Erie on the South, Lake Huron on the West and Lake Ontario on the East) moderate the climate, protecting the vines during the cold winters and cooling them during the warm summer days (moderating effect of shore breezes). In such a climate wine grows and accumulate flavor slowly, and tend to have high acidity and more mineral flavors.

Soil: Mostly sand, silt, clay, loam and gravel

Grape varieties

Most common white grape varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Gewurztraminer.

Most common red grape varieties: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Baco Noir, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay Noir.

Wine production is so small here that local wine is almost never exported, but sold for local consumption. As a protective measure, wines from other parts of Canada are hard to find here either.

Wine produced: Table wine, Still, Sparkling, Late Harvest, Icewine; More about varietals and styles here

ontario wine, canadian wine, toronto
Emily May Rose Art

Number of wineries: 168

Alcohol Regulation

Alcohol trade in Canada is controlled by the government. An Ontario government enterprise is one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of alcohol. It owns and runs more than 630 retail stores in the province. It has also established minimum prices for alcohol products bought at on-trade premises, such as bars and restaurants. One of the exceptions is Peller Estate, a huge wine corporation, which owns many different wine brands and has its own retail chain all over Ontario.

To sum up, I found Canadian wine very interesting and definitely worth exploring. It’s delicious and very competitive in terms of quality and price.

                                            Like and Share if you enjoyed reading this post

Sign up for July’17  Newsletter to learn about my favorite Ontario wines, Canadian Icewine, receive more travel tips about Toronto, New Weekend Getaways from NYC and Restaurant Recommendations of the month.

 

  • Get e-mail alert when new article is published
  • Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter with unique articles, videos and facts about wine

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *