Today let’s take a closer look at the two VQA-certified wine regions in Canada — Ontario and British Columbia.
Ontario is responsible for the majority of wines produced in Canada and is home to the well-known Canadian icewine. This wine region benefits hugely from the “lake effect”, which moderates the weather, making climatic conditions more suitable for viticulture. Important wine areas include Niagara Peninsular, Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island.
Known for the famous Niagara Falls, the Niagara Peninsular is the largest and most important wine producing area in Ontario. Stand-out whites include elegant Rieslings and opulent Chardonnays; aromatic whites such as Gewüstraminer and Sauvignon Blanc can also be found here. The Late Harvest wines, including the popular icewines, are made mainly from Riesling and the French hybrid Vidal. Pinot Noir is the most successful red wine, while Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon are gaining momentum in the warmer areas.
The maritime province British Columbia to the west extreme of Canada is the second biggest wine producing region in Canada. The Okanagan Valley is its most important wine area.
The Okanagan Valley is essentially a glacial trench stretching from north to south along the Okanagan lake. The climate here is continental, with hot summers, sharp day-to-night temperature variations and very limited rainfall. Delicate white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris are mainly produced in the north part of the region, while quality reds such as Pinot Noir, Bordeaux blends, and Syrah can mostly be found in the south.
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