Ontario is the largest wine producer of the four regions in Canada, the others being British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
While up to 1970’s few wineries existed in the province after the establishment of Inniskillin by Donald Ziraldo, and Karl Kaiser, the number of wineries has since skyrocketed. To date, approximately, 136, and every year new ones are coming on stream.
Canada has more or less 560 wineries coast to coast; and yet the country imports millions of hectolitres of wine from the U S A, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and South Africa, to name the most important.
Ontario wineries producing VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) quality wines have a market share of 35 per cent, which by all standards is low.
In European countries, and the U S A domestic, i.e local production is promoted first and foremost.
Trying to get a Bordeaux wine in Burgundy is Sisyphean task.
Wine Country Ontario, the official association of wineries, is trying to change this by advertising, marketing efforts, training sessions for servers and sommeliers to promote Ontario wines, and staging annual tasting for the trade and wine writers.
The evening session is devoted to consumers.
The latest annual Ontario VQA wine tasting held recently revealed an interesting fact that Ontario red wines are becoming world-class mostly due to the effects of global warming, grape growing techniques, and car in wine making technology.
Those who still refuse to drink Ontario wines are the big losers.
My recommendations of the more than 150 tasted during the 2013 Taste Ontario are:
Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay, 2010, Bachelder
Small Lot Chardonnay, 2011, Thirty Bench Winemakers
Beal Vineyards Reserve “Inox” Chardonnay, 2010, Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery
Village reserve Chardonnay, 2010, Le Clos Jordanne
Winemaker’s Red, 2011, Thirty Bench Wine Makers
( A blend of cabernet sauvignon 48 %, cabernet franc 10, merlot 42)
Arcanum, 2010, Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery
Winedresser Series Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Pelee Island Winery
Black Paw Pinot Noir, 2010, Coyote’s Run Estate Winery
Watson Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2010, Closson Chase
First growth Merlot, 2007, Reif Estate Winery
Estate Pinot Noir, 2010, Hidden bench Vineyards and Winery
I did not taste the sparkling wines presented.
There were very few icewines at this show.