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The 10 Best Wines in Canada You Must Try

The 10 Best Wines in Canada You Must Try

Canada may not be the biggest wine producer in the world, as Italy and France are, but we certainly make a significant contribution. After all, we are the largest Icewine producer globally—thanks to our freezing temperatures!

Want to wine and dine on your next visit to the Great White North? We’re here to guide you on where to go for the best wines in Canada! 

Grab your toque and let’s go on a wine adventure! Time to swirl and sip!

A Small History of Wines in Canada

A Small History of Wines in Canada
Photo by Jason Ng on Unsplash

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to explore the history of wines in Canada. Where do we actually get our wines? How do we do it?

It may be a mystery for some since our climate is a stark contrast to some of the world’s biggest wine producers, like Italy, France, and Spain.

Canada’s wine history dates back to the 1800s. While that may seem long ago, it’s actually quite recent when you consider the records that suggest China produced wine as far back as 7000 B.C.

The early settlers in the country tried to cultivate European varieties of Vitis vinifera (the common grape vine). Yet their efforts were unsuccessful due to Canada’s extreme climate, marked by hot and humid summers and below-freezing winters. 

Instead, they focused their attention on the native species of Vitis labrusca (fox grape) and Vitis Riparia (river bank or frost grape), both of which abundantly grew. In addition, they used various grapevine hybrids to adjust their winemaking efforts to the climate.

Throughout the years, Canada fortified its efforts to produce wine. Then, in 1866, the first commercial estate winery(Vineyards and Winery In Canada) finally opened in the country.

On Ontario’s Pelee Island, Vin Villa Winery first opened its doors. Over the next few years, the province’s wineries continued to grow in numbers.

Now, Ontario is the country’s largest wine-producing region. Due to the climate and terrain, many vineyards are found in the Niagara Peninsula, perfect for grape growing.

Canada’s Largest Wine-Producing Regions

Canada's Largest Wine-Producing Regions
Photo by Paul Illsley on Unsplash

Ontario and British Columbia are Canada’s largest wine-producing regions. According to Statista, the latter has 245 wineries, while the former has 185.

Meanwhile, Canada’s French province of Quebec has 49 wineries, Nova Scotia has 19, and Newfoundland and Labrador has two. 

Still, the most famous places to visit if you’re looking to swirl and sip your reds and whites are Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula and Lake Eerie North Shore, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley, and Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Canada’s Most Famous Wine

Icewine, our most famous wine. You could say it’s now a Canadian icon, right on the level of maple syrup and poutine.

Did you know that Icewine came from harvested frozen grapes? Who knew, right?

It is believed that when Icewine was discovered, it was totally by accident. German farmers noticed their grapes had frosted due to the early start of winter chill, prompting them to harvest and press these grapes.

Voilà! This bad scenario turned out to be a happy accident! All thanks to our country’s freezing winters, we’re an excellent region for Icewine production.

Canada’s Best Wines

Canada's Best Wines
Photo by Amy Chen on Unsplash

Now we’re getting to the good part. We’re going to tell you the best wines in Canada, from reds to whites to sparkling—ones that will captivate your tastebuds!

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you where you can go and buy these exquisite wines that will be a perfect addition to your collection.

Red Wine

Malivoire 2020 Courtney Gamay

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Price: $71.95

Winery: Malivoire Wine Company

Region: Ontario

Address: 4260 King St, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0, Canada

Recognition:

  • Gold – 2022 National Wine Awards

Notes: cherry, cranberry, raspberry, sweet spices, cocoa

Alcohol content: 12%

Malivoire’s 2020 Courtney Gamay is one of the best flavourful red wines made from 100% Gamay grapes in the region of Ontario.

It has a refreshing character, with fruity aromas of cherries and berries. Upon drinking it, you’ll taste some delicate spices, followed by smokey flavours and a gentle touch of oak essence.

You can age it up a bit, around two to three years, for a more balanced feel. Drink it as a palate cleanser for pork roast and potatoes.

Potter Settlement 2017 Marquette

Potter Settlement 2017 Marquette
Photo from https://pottersettlementwines.ca/ 

Buy Now

Price: $50

Winery: Potter Settlement Artisan Winery

Region: Ontario

Address: 1445 Potter Settlement Rd, Tweed, ON K0K 3J0, Canada

Recognition: 

  • Gold – 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada (91 Points)
  • Gold – 2018 San Francisco International Wine Competition (94 Points)
  • Gold – 2021 Challenge du vin, Bordeaux, France
  • Silver – 2018 Cold Climate Wine Awards, Minnesota

Notes: Black currant, cherries, peppercorn, dark chocolate

Alcohol content: 11.6%

You can’t go wrong with a multi-award-winning wine from Potter Settlement. Crafted from the hardy Marquette grape variety that can survive temperatures of -35°C, this red wine offers a remarkable drinking experience.

The 2017 Marquette boasts a smooth, velvety texture. It has top notes of cherries that linger pleasantly for a while with some smokey, peppery taste.

In addition, it gives a hint of mocha, thanks to the dark chocolate notes. It’s well-balanced with a little bit of spicy flavour yet still sweet (but not too sweet), perfectly paired with steak tartare.

White Wine

Le Grand Clos 2020 Chardonnay

Le Grand Clos 2020 Chardonnay
Photo from: https://www.greatestatesniagara.com/ 

Buy Now

Price: $49.95

Winery: Le Clos Jordanne

Region: Ontario

Notes: Tropical fruits, vanilla, spices

Alcohol content: 13%

A medium-bodied wine, the Le Grand Clos 2020 Chardonnay has strong layers of fresh tropical fruits, such as pineapple, pear, and peach. It certainly demands your attention with its fresh acidity due to the notes of lemon and vanilla on the palate.

With its bold flavours and complex finish, the wine remains well-balanced. Pair it with salmon, tuna, or roast duck on a nice evening for a match made in heaven!

Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2021

Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2021
Photo from https://www.inniskillin.com/ 

Buy Now

Price: $30.95

Winery: Inniskillin

Region: Ontario

Address: 1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Recognition:

  • Bronze – 2019 Vintage, 2021 International Wine & Spirits Competition 
  • Double Gold – 2019 Vintage, 2021 San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2018 Vintage, 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Bronze – 2019 Vintage, 2019 International Wine & Spirits Competition 

Notes: Vanilla, melon, pear, apple

Alcohol content: 13.5%

Hailing from one of the oldest sites of chardonnay in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay is a highly recognized white wine. Over the years, it has undergone many varieties, earning numerous awards along the way.

This is a medium-bodied wine that stands as one of the finest creations at Montague Estate. Clearly, it’s another incredible creation from the region of Ontario.

It offers delightful aromas of toasted vanilla with traces of melon, pear, and apple. The wine tops it off with a dry and velvety finish, making it an ideal companion for dishes like fried prawns or calamari.

Sparkling Wine

2017 Blanc de Blanc Traditional Method Sparkling

2017 Blanc de Blanc Traditional Method Sparkling
Photo from https://adamoestate.com/ 

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Price: $52.00

Winery: Adamo Estate Winery

Region: Ontario

Address: 793366 3rd Line EHS, Mono, ON L9W 5X7, Canada

Notes: Green apple, Bartlett pear, nougat, nuts

Alcohol content: 11%

Coming from the Adamo Estate Winery is the delightful and effervescent 2017 Blanc de Blanc Traditional Method Sparkling. It’s a light-bodied wine that offers a refreshing crispness with every bubble.

First revealing fruity notes of green apple and pear, it is then followed by sweet aromas of sweet creme brulee and nougat. The experience finishes by leaving you with a hint of zest and a taste of oak and toasted nuts.

Best paired with soft cheese and crackers on a quiet, sunny afternoon. Play a record, maybe?

Two Sisters 2019 Blanc de Franc

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Price: $68.30

Winery: Two Sisters Vineyards

Region: Ontario

Address: 240 John St E, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Recognition:

  • 92 points – Michael Alberty

Notes: Lemon, apple, grapefruit, green olive

Alcohol content: 13%

Coming from an award-winning small winery on Niagara-on-the-Lake, the 2019 Blanc de Franc is a sparkling wine that follows the footsteps of its award-winning predecessors.

Two Sisters Vineyards created this delectable wine with 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. It starts with the vibrant fruitiness of citrus, with apple and grapefruit seamlessly following behind.

At its core, you’ll taste sweet herbs, citrus zest, and a touch of green olive. It’s a medium-bodied wine, yet offers a bright and refreshing experience, especially when paired with some berries on a hot afternoon.

Rosé

a Sunday in August Pinot Gris

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Price: $57

Winery: a Sunday in August

Region: British Columbia

Notes: Grapefruit, orange, white tea

Alcohol content: 13.4%

The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia gifts us with the winery, a Sunday in August. They create gorgeous grapefruit-pink rosé wines, and one of their most popular that has become a cult classic is their Pinot Gris, which they make in small batches.

This bold and bright rosé is bursting with energy, offering a slight funk yet not too sour on the mouth. It has expressive notes of watermelon, orange, and zest, with some hints of white tea.

You don’t need an excuse to drink this little pink cutie. It’s perfect for any sunny day—bring it on a picnic or at the beach!

Malivoire Bisous Rosé

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Price: $34.95

Winery: Malivoire Wine Company

Region: Ontario

Address: 4260 King St, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0, Canada

Recognition:

  • Platinum – 2021 National Wine Awards of Canada
  • Gold – 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada
  • Gold – 2023 Ontario Wine Awards
  • Gold – 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada

Notes: Strawberry, apple, honey, sarsaparilla

Alcohol content: 12%

The Malivoire Bisous Rosé is a multi-award-winning wine, earning various gold awards. This wine is a sparkling rosé that’s vegan-friendly and medium-bodied.

With an adorable pale pink colour, it shows fruity and sweet on the nose with its strawberry, apple, and honey notes. Then, there’s a hint of sarsaparilla, adding a fresh but sweet flavour.

It has good acidity, and while it’s dry, there’s just a tiny hint of sweetness. It’s a refreshing drink, nicely paired with some salty chips.

Icewine

2019 Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine

Buy Now | Buy Now (2022 Vintage)

Price: $114.99 – 124.95

Winery: Inniskillin

Region: Ontario

Address: 1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Recognition:

  • Gold – 2023 Ontario Wine Awards
  • Bronze – 2023 International Wine & Spirit Competition
  • Bronze – 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards
  • Bronze – 2022 International Wine & Spirit Competition
  • Bronze- 2022 Ontario Wine Awards
  • Silver – 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada

Notes: Cherry, raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb

Alcohol content: 9.5%

From the award-winning winery on the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Inniskillin is one you can depend on for Icewines. They’ve been making incredible and multi-awarded Icewines for years.

They’ve also been making the iconic Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine for quite a while. In previous years, this wine has earned many awards.

This Icewine is light-bodied with only 9.5% alcohol content. Yet, there’s a sweetness of strawberry and rhubarb, kind of like a strawberry rhubarb pie.

It’s not an affordable wine with an over $100 price tag. It’s a good thing the finish stays a while, going well paired with a decadent chocolate cake or a strawberry cheesecake. 

Inniskillin Riesling Icewine

Buy Now

Price: $79.95

Winery: Inniskillin

Region: Ontario

Address: 1499 Line 3, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada

Recognition:

  • Best Icewine of the Year – 2019 Vintage, National Wine Awards of Canada

Notes: Orange, lemon, peach, apricot, clove

Alcohol content: 9.5%

Another masterpiece from Inniskillin is their Riesling Icewine. It’s an award-winning Icewine that’s widely recognized internationally.

This beloved Icewine has a refreshing mouthfeel that starts off with fruity notes of orange, peach, and apricot. It’s then followed by a strong taste of tangy lemon and apricot.

In addition, it has a balanced acidity that finishes with a taste of zesty lemon. It’s best paired with desserts, like cheesecake or a bowl of fruit.

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