Canada on the World Map
Canada’s wine growing regions are situated within the recognized growing zones of 30 and 50 degrees latitude north, which is shared by many other cool climate wine regions of Europe. Our primary wine-growing regions are the Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario and the Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia, along with other regions in each of these provinces and smaller producing areas in Quebec and Nova Scotia. Although small in scale by world standards, wine is a growing business in Canada, with wineries sprouting up wherever soil and climate permit the growing of productive vines. The Similkameen Valley, adjacent to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County in Ontario, are producing excellent wines, with the industry having undergone a renaissance over the past few decades. All together, Canada’s wine growing regions are comprised of 31,001 acres (12,565 hectares) and 616 wineries.
Since the early 1990s Canada has been internationally known for the consistent quality of its Icewine. Produced in every Canadian wine producing region, Ontario produces over 90% of this delicious and quintessentially Canadian product which is made from grapes that have been naturally frozen on the vine. Winter temperatures and freezing concentrate the sugar, acid and berry extracts in the grape, resulting in highly concentrated flavours and the complex intensity for which Canadian Icewines are known. Icewine is primarily produced from Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Franc.
While Canada continues to be proud of its Icewine story, it is quickly becoming discovered for the quality of its table and sparkling wines. Each of Canada’s wine regions have unique growing conditions that allow key varieties to shine and be expressive of their place of origin. Explore each region to find out more about their flagship varieties.
Canada’s primary Wine Regions
Acres: 11,086 (4,486 Hectares)
9 Designated Viticultural Areas (DVAs)
Vancouver Island (+1 sub-appellation), Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley, Okanagan Valley (+ 4 sub-appellations), Lillooet, Thompson Valley, Shuswap, Kootenays.
Mountainsides, oceans, lakes and the only classified desert in Canada combine to create diverse climates that produce a wide variety of grapes. Primarily vitis vinifera. Top planted whites: Pinot Gris & Chardonnay. Top planted reds: Merlot & Pinot Noir. winebc.com
Acres: 17,000 (6,900 Hectares)
3 Designated Viticultural Areas (DVAs)
Niagara Peninsula (+ 10 sub-appellations), Prince Edward County, Lake Erie North Shore (+ 1 sub-appellation)
Latitude, lakes and limestone define this region. Ontario’s appellations all enjoy the moderating effect of the Great Lake breezes creating the perfect environment for cool climate grape growing. Primarily vitis vinifera with a focus on the core varieties of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Over 100 wineries now produce sparkling wine. winecountryontario.ca
Quebec wineries produce dry, fortified, sparkling and sweet wines from a variety of cold hardy hybrid grape varieties such as Frontenac Noir, Blanc and Gris, Vidal, Seyval Blanc and Marquette along with smaller amounts of vinifera. Production areas are concentrated to the north and south east of Montreal and around Quebec City.
Acres: 1,000 (404 Hectares)
Located between the shores of the Northumberland Strait to the fertile Annapolis Valley. Nova Scotia produces table and dessert wines primarily from hybrid grapes, with a new trend of vinifera plantings. Major varieties are L’Acadie, Muscat, Seyval Blanc, Lucy Kuhlman, Leon Millot and Marechal Foch. This area is known for its specialization in sparkling wines and aromatic white Tidal Bay wines.
Quick Facts and More
You Can Taste
The Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) system has been established in Ontario and British Columbia to designate Viticultural Areas, and ensure quality production.
A Leader in Sustainable Practices
Canadian wineries are proud of their vineyards and environmental practices, many of them certified including Biodynamic, Organic and LEED.
Sustainable Winemaking Ontario is 3rd party audited and Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia is self-audited.
Renowned for Premium Icewine
- Canada is the leading global producer of Icewine
- Average annual production – 1 Million Liters
- Primarily from Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Franc grapes
- 10 grapes are required to produce 1 ML of Icewine
A Sparkling Wine Revelation
The best known Canadian sparkling wines are made in the Traditional Method, spending at least 9 month, but often over 5 years on their lees. Méthode Cuve Close (Charmat) is also produced across the country.
Almost 200 wineries in Canada produce sparkling wine.