Wine Review: Discover Ontario – Canada’s Largest Vineyard Area

I am still on a high from the exciting Vancouver International Wine Festival that took over Vancouver from February 11 – 19th…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:


Christine Campbell

Partner (North Vancouver, BC Canada)

Floats like a Montrachet, stings like a Chablis. Christine holds her WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Level 3 Certificate and French Wine Scholar designation. An avid student, Christine is continuing with the inaugural ‘Master of Champagne’ course through the Wine Scholar Guild. When not studying, Christine writes weekly on her wine blog Girls Go Grape and is a contributing writer for the Alcohol Professor and British Columbia Correspondent for the Wine Tourist Magazine. Christine consults to private groups as a Wine Specialist and consults to industry and private sectors. She also sits on the B.C. VQA assessment panel.

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