When it comes to famous Canadian wine, the first name that pops up is undoubtedly Icewine. This sweet, dessert wine has put Canada on the global wine map. Made from grapes naturally frozen on the vine, Icewine is a testament to our resilience in the face of harsh winters.
Inniskillin, a winery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is renowned for its Icewine. Their 1989 Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo in France in 1991, marking a significant moment for Canadian wines on the international stage.
But what makes Icewine so special? It’s all about the process. The grapes are left on the vine until winter, when they freeze naturally. This concentrates the sugars and acids, resulting in a wine that’s intensely sweet and balanced by a refreshing acidity. It’s a labour-intensive process, but the result is a wine that’s truly unique to our cold Canadian climate.
Beyond Icewine: Exploring Other Varieties
While Icewine is a Canadian icon, our country also produces a range of other wines that deserve recognition.
In British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is home to a variety of wineries producing exceptional wines. For instance, Mission Hill Family Estate is known for its award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their wines reflect the unique terroir of the region, offering a taste of Canada’s diverse landscapes.
The Okanagan Valley’s dry, sunny climate and diverse soils make it an ideal location for growing a variety of grape types. From robust reds like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to crisp whites like Riesling and Pinot Gris, the region’s wines are as varied as its stunning landscapes.
The Rising Stars: Emerging Canadian Wines
Canada’s wine industry is continuously evolving, with new wine regions and varieties emerging. Nova Scotia, for instance, is gaining recognition for its crisp and aromatic Tidal Bay wines. Benjamin Bridge, a winery in the Gaspereau Valley, is leading the charge with their acclaimed sparkling wines.
Nova Scotia’s cool climate and long growing season result in wines with bright acidity and complex flavours. The province’s signature appellation, Tidal Bay, reflects the terroir of its coastal vineyards. These wines are characterized by their fresh, aromatic flavours and are perfect for pairing with the region’s abundant seafood.
A Toast to Canadian Wines
As we raise our glasses to toast to Canadian wines, let’s remember that our wines are a reflection of our land and people. They embody our resilience, diversity, and spirit of innovation. So, the next time you’re asked, “What wine is Canada famous for?” you can proudly say, “More than you might think!”
The History of Wine in Canada
The history of wine in Canada dates back to the early 19th century, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that Canadian wines began to gain international recognition. The introduction of VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) standards in the 1990s helped to ensure the quality of Canadian wines and boost their reputation on the global stage.
The Wine-Making Process
From the vineyard to the bottle, the wine-making process is a testament to the skill and dedication of Canadian wine producers. It begins in the vineyard, where the grapes are carefully tended to ensure they reach optimal ripeness. After harvest, the grapes are fermented to produce wine, which is then aged in barrels or tanks before being bottled.
Pairing Suggestions for Canadian Wines
Canadian wines are incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings. Icewine, with its intense sweetness, is a perfect match for rich, creamy desserts or strong cheeses. The crisp whites from Nova Scotia pair beautifully with seafood, while the robust reds from the Okanagan Valley are ideal for grilled meats and hearty stews.
Remember, wine is more than just a beverage. It’s a story of the land, the people, and the passion that goes into every bottle. So, let’s continue to explore, learn, and celebrate the world of Canadian wines together. Cheers!