Despite severe winters and unpredictable springs, Canada has a thriving wine industry that dates back to the early 19th Century. Since the late 1980s, greater emphasis has been placed on replanting low quality American and hybrid vines with European Vitis vinifera and this investment is now beginning to enjoy increasing success, particularly in Ontario and British Colombia.
Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula is the largest wine region in Canada, its continental extremes are moderated by its location between Lakes Ontario and Erie. However, it is British Columbia on the west coast of Canada that is arguably where the most exciting developments are taking place. Located north of the border from Washington State, the influence of Lake Okanagan helps to protect the vineyards from the freezing winter temperatures whilst the summers have the perfect combination of low rainfall, warm days and cool evenings.
The Chardonnay grape thrives in Canada and Pinot Noir performs well in warmer years. Canada is also renown for producing top quality ice-wine.