Ontario as a World Wine Region
If you're living in Ontario or even Canada, you know Ontario wine. Step outside our borders however, and you might get some puzzled looks if you mention Canadian wine. Our cold climate with harsh winters make us a seemingly atypical home for producing world-class wine. But we are here to not only dispel the myths around Ontario producing excellent wine—we also want to sing the praises of just how exceptional the wine from Ontario is.
Cool Climate Wine
here are some limitations when growing grapes in Canada (or any cool climate). Some grapes require much more warmer conditions year-round than Canada is able to provide. These varietals include Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's misleading to the average wine drinker to favour wine from other regions over Ontario, since Ontario is at the same latitude as Burgundy France. In fact, Ontario lies well within the ideal range for cool climate wine production.
Cool Climate Wine is made in places like Canada, Mosel (Germany), Marlborough (NZ), and Oregon (USA). There are of course restrictions that come with producing wine in cooler climates. Not all grapes can thrive in lower temperatures. Luckily though, plenty of grapes can and that's why Ontario is able to have a robust wine region!
Why Buy Ontario Wine?
Because of the unique geography and rock formations found in Southern Ontario, there are varied soil structures that aren't found elsewhere in the world. Since the terroir is vital to forming wine, land on which the grapes grow in Ontario lend themselves to creating beautifully unique wine. Limestone, sand, gravel, and clay all coexist as the bedrock under the vast Ontario vineyards. The presence of these natural elements creates wines that are typically less acidic than wines produced elsewhere. That being said, the fluctuations in Ontario's temperatures allows for more balanced wines that don't generally sway too acidic or high in alcohol.
Choosing an Ontario Wine
Throughout the three main viticultural areas in Ontario—Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, and Prince Edward County—you will find over 130 wineries. That's a lot of wine options! So how do you begin to choose? Like choosing a wine any other time, it really depends on what you're looking for! There are of course varietals that you won't be able to find in Ontario, however a large number of the most popular ones can be found throughout Ontario Wine Country. Signing up for a service like Kwaf is a great way to get to know Ontario wines, without leaving the house! There are also really fun, informative wine tours available that are always a great time. Exploring Ontario Wine Country and learning about the unique offerings like Ice Wine, is a rewarding experience we highly recommend! Learn about the wine in your backyard this summer.