I am still on a high from the exciting Vancouver International Wine Festival that took over the city from February 11 – 19th last month…I came away with a great appreciation for Canadian wine and our very unique terroirs. I had an opportunity to attend a Masterclass entitled ‘Discover Ontario’s Cool’ during the festival my knowledge of Ontario wine is quite limited so I attended the session ready to learn…
Some quick facts:
- Ontario’s wine-growing region lies between the 41º – 44º N Latitude
- There are currently 17,000 acres planted under vine
- Ontario has 165 VQA member wineries
- Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir are the key varieties
Wines of Ontario are grouped into three regions with distinct characteristics:
- Lake Erie North Shore – is known for sunny days, cool breezes and bright fruit. This is Ontario’s southernmost region and is made up of 15 wineries. A nice, long growing season crafts full body wines.
- Prince Edward Country – boasts stony soils and lake winds. With over 800 KM of shoreline, this is Ontario’s northernmost region. Temperatures are moderated by the lake effect and the limestone base and stony soils produce crisp, mineral-driven wines with concentrated fruit. There are 30 wineries here.
- Niagara Peninsula – lakeside vineyards are made up of diverse glacial soils. The largest of the Ontario regions (and Canada’s largest planted viticultural area), 93 wineries call here home. Cool climate conditions reign supreme setting the stage for the international grape varieties – this region alone has 10 separate sub-regions.
Some great Ontario wines I tried during the Vancouver International Wine Festival:
- Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County 2014
- Closson Chase Brock Chardonnay VQA Prince Edward County 2014
- Hidden Bench Vineyards Estate Chardonnay VQA Beamsville Bench 2014
- Hidden Bench Vineyards Estate Riesling VQA Beamsville Bench 2014
- Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Reserve VQA Niagra Peninsula 2013
- Pillitteri Estates Winery Riesling Icewine VQA Niagra Peninsula 2013