Winemaking in Ontario has been going on for well over 200 years but for many, hearing we make wine here in Ontario is still a surprise. Granted, much of this history was transforming wild North American grapes into something drinkable; but about 40 years ago a few Niagara vineyard owners planted European vitis vinifera vines and began elevating Ontario winemaking in a big way.
Since then, trends have come and gone. Dozens of varietals have been planted; and we’ve made a lot of headway to finding our wine identity. One of things that came to light in this work was that we make excellent sparkling wine.
Ontario’s wine regions are at the ideal grape growing latitude – same as southern France. The cool climate here (thanks to the lake!), the soil (with it’s high minerality) and the long summer days make for good grapes. Especially grapes traditionally used for sparkling wine. Think: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Riesling and even Vidal.
Did you know that VQA sets the standards for label claims about origin, grape variety content, and vintage along with other things such as the accuracy of alcohol content?
As Ontario continues to mature and grow as a wine region, our winemakers grow with it. The organizations (like VQA and Wine Country Ontario) are making it easy for us to find and access amazing wines that the rest of the world covets. That’s right – covets. Our sparkling wines are celebrated around the world, isn’t it time we do to?
This New Years’ Eve, pop a bottle of Ontario bubbles. Here’s a few we think you’ll like.
Ravine Vineyard Brut was created using the traditional Champagne method. This wine was bottle fermented and aged in the same bottle on lees.
Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc
North 42 Degrees
Essex County, ON
Created in the Charmat method, this complex sparkling wine delivers notes of young Bartlett pear and tropical citrus. It’s a special wine for a special occasion.
Prince Edward County, ON
Made in the Traditional Method style, aging 2 years on lees in this very bottle, this is a surprising and delightful wine. It pairs wonderfully with the complex cheeses made at the winery too. Sante!