Discover the Wines of Canada
Featuring Four Distinct Wine Regions…
Canada’s Wine Regions
Discover where the perfect soil and climate exist to cultivate grapes.
British Columbia has five official regions of Geographical Indications: Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley, and the Okanagan Valley along with new vineyard areas emerging across other parts of the province.
The climate for producing British Columbia wine is very unique. All of the BC vineyards are located at the northern extremes of where grape growing is possible. The vineyards are located in two main areas. About 4 hours’ drive east of Vancouver are the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys. The second area includes the smaller wine regions of the Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.
British Columbia’s wine industry has seen unprecedented growth in the last 26 years, having grown from just 17 wineries and 1476 acres of vines in 1990 to 272 wineries and over 10,260 acres today. BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) is the provincially-regulated appellation of origin and quality standard for Wines of British Columbia. BC VQA wines must be made from 100% B.C. grapes and meet standards for origin and production, vintage, varietals and quality characteristics.
Learn more about Wines of British Columbia here.
The variety of soils, slope of the vineyard, weather and proximity to water (whether lakes, rivers or the ocean) all contribute to the variety of styles of British Columbia’s wines. B.C.’s wine-makers produce wines with complex flavours, impacted by the hot summer days, cool evenings and cool nights in the fall.
Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Riesling are the most widely grown white wine grapes in the province, while Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc are the primary red wine grapes.
B.C.’s winemakers excel at producing world-class, award-winning wines, including red, white and rosé table wines, as well as Late Harvest and Icewines. Sparkling wine is also on the rise, with over 50 producers producing notably fresh and complex sparklers.
Each year, British Columbia’s wineries welcome over 800,000 visitors, attracted by the excellent wine, stunning scenery and welcoming hospitality. The majority of B.C. wineries provide tastings and tours, while many also offer in-house dining, picnic areas and on-site accommodation.
Visitors to B.C.’s wine regions are enthusiastic about the many wine festivals, special events and options for winery touring (including private car, coach and bicycle, as well as kayak, helicopter and float plane tours). There are a wide range of accommodations (from camping to luxurious villas), award-winning restaurants and many non-winery attractions and activities, such as golf, boating, spas and much more.
More than half of the province’s 272 wineries are in the Okanagan Valley, a four-hour drive east of Vancouver, or easily accessible by plane (Kelowna or Penticton airports).
To find out more about planning a visit to one or more of B.C.’s finest wineries, consult Wine of B.C.’s Trip Planner.
To learn more about British Columbia’s wine industry, click on the image below.
For me, wine is the three P’s: the place, the people and the product. British Columbia ticks all three boxes with exuberance, elegance and conviction.Steven Spurrier
Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County
Ontario is the largest wine grape producing province in Canada, with 17,000 acres of vines situated in the heart of the world’s fine wine zone: 41-44 North, the same latitude shared by Burgundy and other cool climate wine regions of Europe.
With a dedicated focus on terroir and quality, Ontario recognizes VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) as its provincially regulated appellation of origin system. The province’s three wine-producing regions are the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County. The Niagara Peninsula has the largest planted area of all viticultural areas in Ontario – and indeed in Canada – with 14,600 acres of vines. Characterized by rich, fertile soils and unique mesoclimates, the Niagara Peninsula has two regional appellations and 10 sub-appellations.
The industry is growing steadily with 165 VQA Ontario wineries across the province, resulting in an ever-rising number of international awards and accolades for its fine wines.
Learn more about VQA Wines of Ontario here.
Ontario’s unique terroir is best showcased within key varietals that excel in cool climate regions, as they produce wines with exceptional fruit and balanced acidity. Most grape varieties used include many grapes of the species vitis vinifera (traditional in European and international winemaking). There are another eight “hybrid” varieties developed by crossing vitis vinifera varieties with more winter-hardy North American grape species. Although already known as a world leader for Icewine, Ontario remains somewhat undiscovered for its high-quality table wines and sparkling wines made from familiar grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir.
Bubbly is rapidly rising to the top as a key strength of Ontario winemaking. The cool climate and limestone-based soils, as well as Ontario’s proficiency with the Champagne grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a few Pinot Meunier vineyards – add up to exactly the right recipe for the fine aged bubbly made in the Traditional Method. There are over 40 wineries in Ontario making sparkling wine.
Chardonnnay and Riesling are the top white vinifera varieties grown and produced as single varieties. The primary red variety that is grown is Cabernet Franc which is also the top red varietal produced. Other core varieties include Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir.
Ontario’s Wine Country destinations include Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Escarpment, Twenty Valley, Lake Erie North Shore, Prince Edward County and Emerging Regions.
For every taste, there’s an Ontario wine. Discover them all, sip by sip.
Wine Country Ontario hosts over 2 million visitors annually offering world-class wine and culinary experiences. Experience the rich and varied wine landscape of Ontario and its distinctive vintages by tasting your way across the province one glass at a time. Explore Ontario’s diverse wine country destinations and enjoy stunning landscapes, gorgeous architecture, delicious meals and exceptional wine tastings.
Trip planning is easy by visiting winecountryontario.ca, where you can view the events page for the latest information and use their Trip Planner to help plan your next trip. The award winning Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide (available online or by mail) can provide you with information on over 100 wineries and includes information on accommodations, spas, festivals, restaurants and more.
To learn more about Ontario’s wine industry, click on the image below.
Ontario wines are the epitome of cool climate, which puts them right on the cutting edge. I’m anxious to taste the latest, as quality keeps surging, seemingly with every new vintage.Matt Kramer
Contributing Editor, Wine Spectator Magazine
Wine regions located in the Eastern Townships, Montérégie, Ouest-du-Québec, Est-du-Québec, and Centre-du-Québec.
While the first grapes were grown in Québec can be traced to the early days of “New France”, the industry really began to blossom in the 1980s.
Today, there are 138 – predominantly artisanal – wineries in the province located in five primary wine regions of Québec: the Eastern Townships, Montérégie, Ouest-du-Québec, Est-du-Québec, and Centre-du-Québec.
The Québec wine industry is responsible for a total of 1,975 acres of grapevine and 45 different grape varietals grow across the province.
Due to Québec’s cool, and at times severe, climate, hardy hybrids – specially adapted for the weather conditions – are the most common grapes grown in la belle province. The most popular red wine grapes grown are Frontenac Noir, Marquette and Maréchal-Foch, while the most commonly grown white wine varietals are Seyval Blanc, Vidal and Frontenac Gris. Other varietals grown include Riesling, Chardonnay, L’Acadie Blanc and Gamay Noir.
Québec’s wine industry has grown steadily over the past three decades, and wine-growers have developed a product range covering a range of table wines and sparkling wines. The province is also well-known for its late harvest wines, fortified wines, ice cider and fruit wines.
Québec wineries welcome over 200,000 visitors annually, evidence of the strong wine and culinary culture of la belle province.
Of Québec’s five core wine-making regions, its most highly-visited region for wine tourism is the Eastern Townships, approximately one hour from Montreal. Blue signs will guide you round the Brome-Missisquoi Wine Route in the Eastern Townships and help you discover the cradle of viticulture in Québec. Especially popular with cyclists, this route is also easily accessible for those looking to explore by car or by guided tour.
This fantastic wine route also highlights the area’s hidden treasures: spas, restaurants, theatres, and more.
To learn more about Québec’s wine industry, click on the image below.
The wine industry in Québec is exploding!Jessica Harnois
Sommelière and President of Vins au Féminin
Wine regions located in the Annapolis Valley, Avon River Valley, Malagash Peninsula, LaHave River Valley, and Bear River Valley.
Nova Scotia’s wine industry has grown from 13 wineries in 2011 to 20 wineries today. Counting 800 acres of land under vine, the region’s soil and mesoclimates create an excellent environment for the production of character-rich high quality wines. The vast majority of the province’s wineries are located in the Annapolis Valley – which includes the Gaspereau Valley at its eastern end – but other regions such as the Avon River Valley, Malagash Peninsula, LaHave River Valley and Bear River Valley are also home to Nova Scotian wineries.
Nova Scotia is traditionally known for its aromatic white and sparkling wines, which leverage the region’s cool Maritime climate and complement the province’s abundant seafood. Nova Scotia’s most widely used white variety is L’Acadie Blanc, one of the primary varietals in the Tidal Bay appellation wine. Other whites grown include Chardonnay, Riesling, Ortega and Seyval.
The region’s near perfect climatic conditions for making sparkling wines has encouraged a regional specialization in Traditional Method sparklings, which are quickly gaining international attention.
The cool growing season and temperate influence of the ocean are also key contributors in the province’s signature appellation – Tidal Bay, a crisp, aromatic white wine blend. All Tidal Bay wines follow a strict set of standards and must be approved every year by an independent tasting panel, at which all wines are tasted blind.
Nova Scotian wineries also produce well-rounded reds that are low in tannin levels, and typically feature hybrid grapes varietals, including Lucie Kuhlmann, Baco Noir, Marechal Foch and Leon Millot, which grow well in this cooler climate. Success with Pinot Noir in the province demonstrates the potential for an increase in vinifera production in the coming years.
The popularity of this emerging Canadian wine region can be explained, in part, by the province’s proximity to the sea, which has a notable impact on its wines. Nova Scotia’s core wine region is the Annapolis Valley, with the Town of Wolfville being a hub for a cluster of wineries. The Canadian Maritimes are famous for their generous hospitality and Nova Scotia’s wineries are shining examples of this, proudly welcoming over 100,000 visitors annually.
The Good Cheer Trail, which maps out 49 locations, will help you chart your course to the province’s best wineries, as well as craft breweries, cideries and distilleries.
Click on the photo below to learn more about Nova Scotia’s wine industry.
We are embarking on the Golden Age of Nova Scotia wine.Tony Aspler