On an international stage some of you may not think Ontario, Canada as a place that comes to mind when thinking about world-class wine regions, but this beautiful province has been making a name for itself in the global wine industry, and it's time we here in Ontario take note.
Nestled between the Great Lakes and adorned with lush vineyards, Ontario boasts a diverse range of microclimates that create the perfect conditions for grape cultivation. To truly appreciate the uniqueness and quality of Ontario wines, one must explore its distinct wine appellations.
In this blog post, we will delve into the hidden gems of Ontario's wine appellations and discover the extraordinary wines they produce.
Ontario Wine Appellations
The Niagara Peninsula is Ontario's most renowned wine region, often considered the heart of the province's wine industry. The peninsula benefits from a moderate climate and the warming influence of the lakes. This appellation is known for its exceptional cool-climate wines, particularly Riesling, Chardonnay, Sparkling Wine, and Pinot Noir.
The Niagara Peninsula is worthy of more discussion, which we'll do in a later post, as this area is broken down into two regional appellations (Niagara Escarpment and Niagara-on-the Lake). The regional appellations are then further broken down into 10 sub-appellations designated because of their individual expressions of climate, soil, and variety rightness.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County may just be Ontario's fastest-growing wine region. Its proximity to the lake results in a unique terroir, characterized by limestone-rich soils and cool-climate conditions. The region is celebrated for its crisp and refreshing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sparkling Wines. The county's burgeoning wine scene, complemented by charming boutique wineries and stunning landscapes, attracts both wine enthusiasts and tourists alike.
Lake Erie North Shore
Situated in the southwestern part of Ontario, near the shores of Lake Erie, the Lake Erie North Shore appellation benefits from the moderating effects of the lake, creating milder temperatures and a longer growing season. This region is known for its red wines, particularly Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The area also produces exceptional white wines and boasts a thriving viticultural history that dates back to the 1860s, making it Ontario's first wine region!
While the above represents the long-standing appellations in Ontario, it's important to note that impressive new and emerging wine regions continue to make themselves known. Ottawa, Norfolk County, and Elgin County are some of the emerging regions to be on the lookout for.
Ontario's wine appellations are a testament to the province's viticultural potential and the dedication of its winemakers. From the internationally acclaimed Niagara Peninsula to the emerging wine regions, each appellation showcases its own unique terroir and grape varieties.
At Spring Into Spice, we're dedicating an entire seminar to Ontario Riesling's and their different expressions. This will give you a chance to explore Ontario through the lens of one grape.
Whether a wine enthusiast or an adventurous traveler, exploring Ontario's wine appellations offers a delightful journey through stunning landscapes and exceptional wines. So, raise a glass and savour the hidden gems that Ontario's wine regions have to offer. We're more than just Icewine.