WINES OF ONTARIO

Neither old world nor new, Ontario’s globally acclaimed wines are founded on its unique glacial soils and growing season. Ontario can trace its wine roots back to the early 1800s, where its topography, soil structure and climate were recognized for its potential to become a fine wine zone.

 

Situated between 41°and 44° North, Ontario’s wine growing areas benefit from the same latitude as Northern Italy and many other cool climate wine regions of Europe. Wine regions in the province further benefit from proximity to three of the five Great Lakes of North America, which moderate the extremes of the region’s continental climate.
 
There are three Viticultural Areas in the province: Lake Erie North Shore, Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward County. The Niagara Peninsula has the largest planted area of all viticultural areas in Canada with 14,600 acres, characterized by rich, fertile soils and unique mesoclimates. The Niagara Peninsula has two regional appellations and 10 sub-appellations, established in 2005, offering unique terroir conditions.

 

The Niagara Escarpment is a combination of the smaller appellations of Short Hills Bench, Twenty Mile Bench and Beamsville Bench. Niagara-on-the-Lake is made up of Niagara River, Niagara Lakeshore, Four Mile Creek and St. David’s Bench. The remaining three sub-appellations are Creek Shores, Lincoln Lakeshore and Vinemount Ridge. In 2015, the South Islands were identified as the first sub-appellation of Lake Erie North Shore.

Since the 1970s, Ontario has grown steadily in acreage and wineries, earning international accolades for its fine wines. Today, there are 164 VQA wineries, which welcome more than 2 million winery visitors each year.

Ontario Appellations
NIAGARA PENINSULA

Acres

14,600

Wineries

93

Varieties

Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc,

Pinot Noir & Gamay Noir

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

Acres

1,100

Wineries

15

Varieties

Merlot, Cabernet Franc &

Cabernet Sauvignon

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY

Acres

800

Wineries

30

Varieties

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay,

Pinot Gris & Cabernet Franc