Canadian wines are becoming a significant contributor to world wines. Perhaps known for their famous true Icewines, wineries are also producing quality table wines. Wonder why icewines are so expensive? Wineries need to harvest the grapes once the temperatures drop to a negative eight degrees Celsius. When pressed about two drops of juice come from each grape.
Currently 98 percent of Canadian wines are produced in two provinces, Ontario and British Columbia. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec also produce wine.
Ontario has a cool weather climate. Wineries located in Niagara-on-the-Lake have the advantage of warming temperatures from the surrounding bodies of water. You'll notice wind fans scattered throughout many vineyards. These fan are typically used during the late fall and during the spring. In some areas they are utilized during the winter. The fans can push the cold air near the ground out and replace it with slightly warmer air above the vineyard. During the winter these fans may make the difference in preventing the loss of certain vines such as Merlot.
The use of Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) encourages the quality of wines. Wines with VQA approval have VQA on each bottle. This is a regulatory alliance but consumers should remember that participation by wineries is voluntary. The use of this designation gives the consumer the opportunity to know about their potential wine purchase. However, as with other countries where regulatory systems are in existence this does not guarantee the wine will be good or that you will like the wine. However, it does give you certain information about the wine including knowing that all the grapes are from Ontario.
One key difference between the labeling of wines in the U.S. and Canada is the information about the sweetness of the wine. In the U.S., wineries frequently label wine as dry, semi dry, semi sweet or sweet. In Canada, wineries may not label wines with those designations. Rather the wines are calibrated on a number scale using residual sugar numbers. Zero is dry and 26 or so is very sweet, most likely a dessert wine. We noticed the numbers on the wine listings but not on the wine label.
Visit these Ontario wineries that partner with Wine Trail Traveler.
|Smith & Wilson Estate Wines||Hinterbrook Estate Winery|