Canada boasts a thriving wine scene, and wine production is one of its longest-standing industries.
Producing several unique grape varieties and hybrids with delicious, distinctive flavours, Canada has a wine to woo every palate. Here in the UK Canadian wines are somewhat rare as a regional variety, being primarily the domain of vino connoisseurs and indie bistros.
However, Canada actually boasts a thriving wine scene, and wine production is one of its longest-standing industries.
It’s time to get to know Canadian wine, so here are a few intriguing facts about wine in Canada to pique your curiosity.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a hearty beer was the national drink of Canada, but this isn’t actually the case. In fact Canadians drink more wine than beer and spirits - and 30% of all Canadian wines are actually purchased by Canadians themselves, so it must be good!
To give you an idea of wine production in this vast and beautiful country, there are 671 wineries in Canada across around 30,000 acres of vineyards!
So Canadian people are into wine? You could definitely draw that conclusion - Canadians drink some 1 billion glasses of wine annually!
Canada’s most famous wine product is undoubtedly ice wine. Although other countries such as Germany and Austria also create ice wine, no other country can consistently produce as fine an ice wine each year as Canada can, thanks to its northern climate.
Ice wine is produced using grapes that are harvested naturally frozen on the vine. The acids and sugars inside the grapes mean they freeze only at temperatures of of -8C and below, with most Canadian ice wineries harvesting at -10C or below for the freshest flavours.
Ice wine vineyard, Montreal, Canada.
There are also several unique hybrid wines produced in Canada, including Baco Noir, Seyval Blanc, Marechal Foch, a mixture between Pinot Noir, Gamay and Vidal, which are often used as the base for ice wine.
Canada boasts a whole host of unusual delicacies, and if you’re looking for an alcohol-free beverage that somewhat mirrors the flavours of red wine, you should give birch syrup drinks a try. Native to the Arctic-cold Northwest Territories, this syrup is traditionally enjoyed as a warming toddy, but producers in Manitoba are now making birch wine from the syrup!
It isn’t just grape varieties that Canada produces - the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland also make fruit-based wines. Here mouthwatering wines are made using blueberries, partridge berries, cloudberries, and lingoberries - local fruits that create wines with a crisp berry flavour and zingy acidity.
Canada’s wine may actually be healthier than wine from other regions! Cold climates like Canada’s make for wine grapes with a naturally higher level of resveratrol. This chemical antioxidant is found in grape skins, and acts to protect the fruit from fungus attacks. Consumed through drinking wine, it has been suggested to reduce fat and cholesterol in the blood, lowering the risk of heart disease. We’ll go for a large glass, then!
Wine is also a major player in Canada’s tourism industry. The country sees more than 3,000,000 visitors annually due to its wine culture and economy. That’s over four times the amount of visitors at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics!
The Haywire White Label Gamay Noir from Okanagan Valley, Canada.
But what is the average Canadian’s wine of choice? Well, in 2014, red wine was the leading choice, making up almost 60 percent of wine consumption in the country.