Wine Regions of Canada

Out of all the wine regions of Canada, the majority of the countries winemaking is associated with British Columbia, and justifiedly so. In the last twenty years, British Columbia wines have grown to become world-class contenders. However wine is also produced in all of Canada's provinces, oftentimes under much more challenging conditions. Furthermore a lot of these small family concerns are starting to produce award winning vintages.

Canada extends 7,800km (4,875mi) from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island off the west coast of British Columbia. Nevertheless in spite of the country's reputation for northern latitudes and freezing winters, some parts in point of fact lie further south than the well known Burgundy region of France. The Ontario region, for instance lies between the forty-first and fity second latitudes, putting them at the same parallel as Bordeaux, France and California's Napa Valley.

Wine Regions of Canada - Canada Wine Regions

The immense land mass, oceans, numerous fresh water lakes and high mountains give Canada a wide variety of micro-climates that the growers take good advantage of in growing wine grapes. Most grown are some variety of vinifera grape, long thought not to flourish so far north. As a result of old traditions combined with modern-day science, they do well even in Quebec.

Among the newest wineries is the Bosc family's Chateau des Charmes, founded in 1978 in the Niagara Peninsula where the temperate weather conditions provides up to one hundred ninety frost free growing days per year.

Ideally situated on the south of Lake Ontario at 44 degrees latitude, this massive Chateau is headquarters to vineyards that produce an excellent Chardonnay, barrel fermented and aged in French oak barrels. The end product is a robust buttery wine with flavors of tropical fruit and melon that pairs well with poultry or pasta.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is another favorite with a deep ruby color and the bouquet of cassis and bell pepper. Full-bodied and an excellent match for prime rib, it can age for 5-10 years.

Elsewhere in Niagara is Coyote's Run which opened its doors in May, 2004. In heavy limestone clay and benefiting from the warm breezes off the water, the 3C (5.4F) higher average temperature here allows the harvest to occur 1-2 weeks before most other vineyards in the area.

The brown clay common to the area produces a grape distinctly different from that of the more fruity and perfumed from the red clay. Look for this small entrepreneur to grow in the forthcoming years.

Even Montreal is home to some of Quebec's wineries, located on the western section of the glacial plain. Here a medium-body red is produced from a blend of Cabernet Severnyi, Frontenac and Landot. Full of ripe black fruit flavors with hints of oak, licorice and vanilla, it is aged in American oak.

Not to be ignored, tiny Prince Edward Island even gets into the act where the harsh climate requires that some grape varieties be grown only in greenhouses. Seyval Blanc, Marechal, Ortega and others produce a nicely acid balanced Rossignol wine.

Nova Scotia too hosts 22 grape growers where French hybrids Maréchal Foch, Baco Noir, and DeChaunac are grown, though icewine remains the specialty.

There are many others: Alberta. Sunshine ranges from 1,900 hours in the north to 2,300 hours in the south where the Rockies produce warm, dry Chinook winds. One Chinook raised the temperature from -19C (-2.2F) to 3.3C (38F) in a single hour. Saskatchewan in the heart of North America, bordered on the south by Montana and North Dakota. Manitoba, once a flood plain, now seeing cold winters and sunny summers averaging 25C (77F).

All these and more give evidence of Canada's insatiable appetite to grow the viniculture business into one which will truly take its place on the world stage.