But these aren’t the only areas in the country creating great wine. Sea to shining sea, Canada boasts a wide range of innovative producers. Here are five Canadian wine regions you shouldn’t miss.
The Annapolis Valley
Nestled between two mountain ranges in western Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley has long been famous for its agricultural output. Today, it also boasts a robust wine economy featuring unique cold weather varietals such as Marechal Foch and L’Acadie Blanc. Visitors shouldn’t miss Gaspereau Vineyards, the oldest wine producer in the region, or Planters Ridge, whose newly renovated patio overlooks the Minas Basin.
Prince Edward County
Canada’s newest wine region is just across the water from Niagara-on-the-Lake. With colder winters than its lakeside cousin, Prince Edward County forces its growers to treat their vines with special care. Their hard work pays off. Check out Keint-He’s ultra-premium, terroir-infused pinot noir, or the small-batch riesling from Trail Estate.
The Eastern Townships
No tour of Quebec would be complete without a visit to the province’s storied summer retreat. The Eastern Townships was the first region in Quebec to begin producing wine. Visitors should explore the Brome Missisquoi wine route, which features over twenty producers. These include Chapelle St-Agnes, which features a romanesque stone chapel and several levels of medieval-style cellars, or Les Pervenches, which uses Certified Organic growing techniques.
The Gulf Islands
With Vancouver Island a short ferry ride away, the Gulf Islands have climates similar to their larger sibling, but feature greater small-scale charm. No visitor should miss Salt Spring Island, a former hippie haven turned upscale locavore cornucopia. Salt Spring Vineyards hosts rustic B&B rooms overlooking the vines. Over on Hornby Island, Little Tribune Winery produces blueberries in addition to grapes, and features a rammed-earth winery building overlooking the scenic Little Tribune Bay.
For a taste of the far-flung, visitors to Saskatchewan should visit Cypress Hills Vineyard and Winery. Old World aficionados may turn up their noses at Cypress Hills’ red and white blends and fruit-based offerings; but where else will you get a chance to try chokecherry or rhubarb wine? Visitors the the winery are encouraged to stay for a while and enjoy catered picnic lunches.