Canada’s Top 3 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions
Canada’s growing wine market has developed international recognition. Breaking the stereotypes of the cold North, the country’s diversity has proven to be its strength in creating some of the world’s most delicious and unique wines. Blends like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive in a climate where shorter growing seasons are the norm, and signature varieties like Icewine have earned Canadian wines a global reputation.
While areas like British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and Ontario’s Niagara Region have long been recognized as leaders in Canadian wine-making, new regions are emerging, challenging these previous front-runners for the country’s best vintages. Here we share our top 3 picks for upcoming wine regions across the country.
Prince Edward County, Ontario
Located two hours east of Toronto on the northern shores of Lake Ontario is Prince Edward County. This island region is home to soil that is rich in limestone, perfect for producing the velvety Pinot Noirs and vibrant Chardonnays the area has become renowned for. Despite the top-notch wines found here, PEC has retained its small-town feel, with a welcoming community of local artisans and agriculturalists eager to share their bounty with fresh-faced visitors. Refreshingly unpretentious, the island is truly a warm and inviting destination for connoisseurs and novices alike.
Regional favourites like Lacey Estates, Norman Hardie, and Black Prince wineries offer first-time visitors a wide variety of the local flavour profiles. Those keen to learn about PEC’s unique wines can also visit Adventures in Wine, who offer bilingual information sessions.
For more information, or to plan your upcoming #PECweekend, visit www.princeedwardcountywine.ca.
Gulf Islands, British Columbia
A cluster of small islands off the coast of Vancouver Island would hardly seem the place for some of the country’s top vineyards. Yet it is exactly this unique coastal climate that has made for the stunning Pinot Noirs, Pinot Gris, Marachel Fochs and even Zweigelts that have come from this region in recent years. Summers here are short, but the days are long, lending themselves to a brief but potentially fruitful growing season. Local winemakers have also adopted unique green-housing techniques that have substantially improved the quality of local vintages.
Salt Spring, the largest of the islands, is the most popular destination for visitors to the area and home to some of the region’s best wineries. Salt Spring Vineyards offers visitors truly unique VQA wines using only locally-grown fruits, and has become notorious for their token ‘blackberry port’. Just down the road is Garry Oaks Winery, and Mistaken Identity Vineyards to round out the island tour.
For information about the area and to discover more of the fantastic wines on offer, visit www.gulfislandstourism.com
While Nova Scotia has only recently emerged as a leading wine region in Canada, historically it was actually one of the first areas to cultivate grapes in North America in the 1600s. Now home to 20 wineries (and counting!), there is no shortage of great varieties to chose from. The region’s signature (and arguably highest quality) vintage is affectionately called Tidal Bay, a crisp aromatic white with a unique acidity – a direct result of the local terroir and cooler seaside climate.
While wineries can be found across the island, the largest cluster are situated in the northern centre region near the Minas Basin (see the map here). This area includes local favourites like Avondale Sky and Luckett Vineyards, which boast a unique offering of local varieties including the signature Tidal Bay along with Bliss, Ortega, L’Acadie and Martok. For those willing to venture off the beaten path, Cape Breton’s Jost Vineyards is truly a treat, and the largest winery in Nova Scotia. Aside from the array of delicious wines on offer, Jost is also a winery with a great sense of humour (as TV host Jay Leno found out), offering an inviting atmosphere for guests.
To learn more about Nova Scotia and their distinct signature wines, visit www.winesofnovascotia.ca.
Did we miss your favourite up-and-coming Canadian wine region? Share it with us in the comments below!