Canada’s wine growing regions are situated within the recognized growing zones of 30 and 50 degrees latitude north, which is shared by many other cool climate wine regions of Europe. Our primary wine-growing regions are the Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario and the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia, along with other regions in each of these provinces and smaller producing areas found in Quebec and Nova Scotia. Although small in scale by world standards, wine is a growing business in Canada, with wineries sprouting up wherever soil and climate permit the growing of productive vines. The Similkameen Valley, adjacent to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and Lake Erie North Shore and Price Edward County in Ontario, are producing excellent wines, with the industry having undergone a renaissance over the past few decades. All together, Canada’s wine growing regions are comprised of 30,000 acres (12,150 Hectares) and 548 wineries.
Ontario (41* – 44*)
Acres: 17,000 (6,900 Hectares)
3 Designated Viticultural Areas: Niagara Peninsula (with 10 additional sub-appellations), Prince Edward County, Lake Erie North Shore.
Latitude, lakes and limestone define this region. Ontario’s appellations all enjoy the moderating effect of the Great Lake breezes creating the perfect environment for cool climate grape growing. Primarily vitis vinifera with a focus on the core varieties of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. This region continues to show growth in the production of sparkling wine. (www.winecountryontario.ca).
British Columbia (48* – 51*)
Acres: 10,260 (4,152 Hectares)
5 Designated Viticultural Areas: Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley, Okanagan Valley.
Mountainsides, oceans, lakes and the only classified desert in Canada combine to create diverse climates that produce a wide variety of grapes. Primarily vitis vinifera. Top planted whites: Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Top planted reds: Merlot and Pinot Noir. (www.winebc.com).
Quebec (45* – 47*)
Acres: 2,000 (808 Hectares)
Quebec wineries produce dry, fortified, sparkling and sweet wines from a variety of cold hardy grape varieties such as Vidal, Frontenac, Seyval Blanc, Marechal Foch and Sainte-Croix, with production areas concentrated to the north and south east of Montreal and around Quebec City. (www.vinsduquebec.com – http://www.advvq.com).
Nova Scotia (44* – 46*)
Acres: 720 (290 Hectares)
Located between the shores of the Northumberland Strait to the fertile Annapolis Valley. Nova Scotia produces table and dessert wines primarily from hybrid grapes, with a new trend of vinifera plantings. Mayor varieties are L’Acadie, Muscat, Serval Blanc, Lucy Kuhlman, Leon Millot and Marechal Foch. This area is know for its specialization in sparkling wine. (winesofnovascotia.ca).
(Published by Wine Country Ontario 2015 with support from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada).