Canada is not especially well known for its wine production, however it is gaining a small but significant foothold in the international market, especially in Japan and China where it has attracted a lot of interest.
The majority of wine produced in Canada comes from the southern Ontario and southern British Columbian regions, however today there are several smaller scale producers emerging in the Nova Scotia and southern Quebec regions too. The country’s three biggest wine production regions are Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and Ontario’s Essex County.
Perhaps Canada’s best known internationally selling product is Icewine, which is reliably produced in the majority of Canada’s wine regions, although Canada only accounts for approximately 0.3% of the world’s wine production.
The areas around Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a climate which does not lend itself to grape production, and therefore fruit wineries are becoming more common in these regions. Much of the wine produced in Canada is exported to the Far East, Europe and the USA, with Icewine being the nation’s major export. Interestingly, Canadians themselves are not especially interested in drinking their home grown varieties, and domestically produced wine holds less than a 50% share in the Canadian market.
Although the current growth in the international wine market has led to a number of smaller Canadian wineries being established over recent years, for some considerable time the domestic wine market has been dominated by only two wine producing companies – Andres Wines and Vincor International. Vincor International, an extremely large producer which owns wineries across New Zealand, Australia and California, is now actually owned by an American company, Constellation Brands, which is a global brand.