The Canadian wine industry has grown dramatically over the last twenty years. It is undergoing rapid and diverse expansion with replanting of the finest grape varieties that can be grown in each of its prime viticulture areas, especially Niagara and the Okanagan Valley.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, cool climate grape varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc were chosen. These vines are now producing wines of character and structure. In BC, Pinot Blanc and Semillon have been very successful as well.
Wine making within the winery once the harvest is complete has also changed. Canada currently imports wine makers from around the World from places like Australia, France, Italy, New Zealand and the United States to assist in defining quality production of wine. Progress has been brisk with new techniques in wine making and vineyard management. Today, both BC and Niagara are producing good Bordeaux style blends with Merlot growing particularly well in BC whilst Syrah is performing well in Ontario. Because of this, Canada is finally being recognized on the world stage as a formidable wine producing country although relatively small.
After tasting many wines in both areas, it is my opinion that Canada needs to be recognized in the wine industry for growing a single variety such as Pinot Noir in Burgundy and Shiraz in the Barossa.
Although Canada is such a big country there is one single variety that grows well in most regions and that is Riesling. It is the one single variety that grows well in both BC and Niagara. It is also very versatile being used for Ice-wine and sparkling wine blends. Cave Springs CSW Riesling and Mission Hill Reserve Riesling are two of my favorites.