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Grape to Glass is here to answer all of your questions about wine! Our wine team has taken the time to become experts in their field so they can bring the best flavours from around the world straight to New Brunswick. They’re here to share their insights and answer your questions. Message us on Facebook at anytime if you have a wine question you would like us to answer here!
Gilles L from Moncton asks: “Where can I find the best wine in the country?”
The expectation for some who have never visited Canada is a snow-covered country from East to West for much – if not all – of the year. Luckily, this isn’t the case and there are so many areas across the country where climate and geography make for fantastic grape growing and production of some top-quality wines. The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) areas of Ontario and BC make up the majority of Canada’s growing regions and are designated for their quality, but there are some great wines being produced on the East Coast as well! What makes these wines so great and which ones should you choose to help you celebrate Canada Day this year?
There are currently nine main designated VQA regions in BC, producing wines in a number of different styles from grape varieties that any wine drinker would recognize. The majority of these wines are produced in the Okanagan Valley which boasts a very distinctive climate for grape growing. It is generally very warm and dry with temperatures being regulated by the Okanagan Lake making it ideal for grape development. Grape varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling thrive here, and top-class examples can be similar in style and quality to the more recognized regions of Europe.
Ontario’s VQA regions produce close to 3-million cases of wine per year! There are three main designated regions, that all benefit from unique soil quality and proximity to the large bodies of water. It’s worth mentioning that just like any other great region of the world, VQA wine from both BC and Ontario is strictly regulated and 100% of the final wines have to be produced from fruit grown in either place, so there is absolute quality control resulting in the caliber of wine you would expect. Ontario wines are deemed to be ‘cool climate’ in style which generally means that the whites are fresher with pronounced acidity and the reds are lighter, a little more elegant and restrained. The standout grape varieties here are Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Baco Noir (a grape variety that is almost entirely unique to Ontario).
Looking to the East Coast, we have some fantastic wines being produced both in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Considering our climate isn’t perfect for growing grapes for wine production, most wineries are situated in unique microclimates across the region and the majority of the varieties being used for production are hybrid in nature. These hybrid grapes have been developed for cooler climates. One of the most widely planted is L’Acadie Blanc which is much hardier to cold weather and has a growing cycle that is a lot more suitable to our maritime climate. There are also some top-quality sparkling wines being produced here in the traditional method style. We also see examples of ‘Pet-Nat’ wines that are naturally fermented in bottle using wild yeasts. This style is somewhat ancient in its practice, however, has seen a resurgence in trend over the past few years.
Try a few Canadian wines and decide for yourself what region speaks to you the most. Pro tip: Enjoy a few of these wines on Canada Day and they’ll make your celebrations even more Canadian! Cheers and Happy Canada Day!