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Rhubarb, maple and bumbleberry: Canada goes beyond the grape

March 17, 2021 Visit Canada No Comments Email Email

With its world-famous wine regions and globally acclaimed labels, Canada holds its own when it comes to the swirl, sniff and sip. The varied landscapes and climates of this vast nation produce distinct flavours and surprising notes that take your palate well beyond the grape.

Tomatoes and maple in Quebec – chin chin!

From maple syrup wine to organic sparkling varietals brought to life through the practice of biodynamic viticulture, Quebec is home to passionate vintners committed to putting the planet first. In Bas-Saint-Laurent, Domaine Acer’s Vallier Robert is a pioneer among vintners, transforming maple sap into subtly sweet drinks. The winery is renowned for its semi-dry and sparkling maple wines, as well as a maple liqueur.

In Charlevoix, Omerto – Domaine de la Vallée du Bras is the first winery in the world to create tomato wine; the recipe remains a family secret. Oenophiles can snag a bottle in Quebec grocery and liquor stores, or order online.

Swap grapes for apples

While British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan wine region produces globally acclaimed wines year after year, we’d like to divert your attention to their ciders for just a moment. Known as the northernmost wine region in the world, the Okanagan’s cool climate generates the juiciest, sweetest apples imaginable, giving rise to crisp, homegrown ciders of tingling flavours. We’re talking pear, black cherry and ginger apple. Bottoms up!

Grapeless vino

The big-sky western province of Alberta is an exciting new entry into Canada’s wine scene. Innovative producers are proving that raspberries and rhubarb can be as mighty as the grape when it comes to top-quality wines. Award-winning Field Stone Fruit Wines makes some of Canada’s best fruit wine using produce from 50 acres of prairie fields and farms, from off-dry black currant to sweet dessert Saskatoon berry, including the gold-medal bumbleberry.

Little Flirt Rhubarb sound intriguing? Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery creates smooth, top-notch vintages with body. The roster includes dry varieties, such as Cherry Likes It On Top, with plucky names like Honey I Have Meads and Big Tease Raspberry. Victor and Elizabeth Chrapko run an organic, enviro-friendly 1927 family homestead near Lac Sante that feels like stepping back in time.

Artisans of the north

The Yukon’s first commercial winery, Yukon Wines, produces eco-conscious wines starring antioxidant-rich haskaps (also known as honeysuckle or honeyberry). The company practices sustainable farming, with one of its two farms certified organic and both pesticide-free, with clean energy practices incorporated. It also hires emerging Yukon artists to design its labels.

Touched by the sea

Nova Scotia’s wine country in Canada’s eastern Maritimes is the only place in the world that produces Tidal Bay wines. Crisp, cool and lively, Tidal Bay wines contain 100 percent Nova Scotia-grown grapes and demonstrate a distinctive taste profile, evoking hints of fresh green fruit, acidity and minerality. Try them at L’Acadie Vineyards, a certified organic winery that released the region’s first internationally awarded méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines.

Ice wine escapade

Renowned not only for its scenery, but also its robust and flavourful wines, the Niagara Peninsula region in Ontario is characterised by fertile soil that excels at producing the perfect grapes for delightfully sweet ice wines.  Tucked between two of the five Great Lakes, this region shares many similarities in climate to wine-producing regions in France, which further proves that it’s a spot all oenophiles should take seriously.

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