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Category description for Recreation: Food: Drink: Wine: Wineries: Canada: Ontario

Introduction to Ontario Wineries and Their Wines

Ontario, Canada, like many new-world grape growing areas, has been making wine in some form since the beginning of the 19th century. However, the past 20 years or so have seen a major restructuring of the industry, with a new concentration on producing quality products and the emergence of numerous smaller wineries. In 1989, the Vintners' Quality Alliance (VQA) was created to control labelling and wine production standards in Ontario, similar to the appellation control systems of France, Germany and Italy.

Ontario forms the northern cradle of the Great Lakes, and Lakes Ontario and Erie, which temper the winter cold and summer heat, create its wine regions. The VQA currently recognizes three winegrowing areas in Ontario: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, and Pelee Island.

Southern Ontarians enjoy pointing out to their visitors that much of the province lies further south than the northern part of California. Ontario vineyards also lie in the same latitude as the great European wine regions of Provence in France, the Chianti Classico region in Italy, or Rioja in Spain.

The quality grape growing and winemaking of Ontario wineries have begun to gain well-earned recognition around the world. Total winery production is relatively small, so the better Ontario table wines will be quite hard to find outside of Canada. Icewines (sweet, intense wines made from grapes frozen on the vine) are a major Ontario winery export, and are considered by many to be the best in the world. Ontario Icewine has won numerous international awards.

Many wine references are still woefully out of date concerning Canadian and Ontario wines. This is starting to change, however, as Ontario wines attain ever higher levels of quality, consumer praise, and international visibility.

This category of the Open Directory will provide access to Ontario wineries. Interested Internauts can follow the development of the wines of Ontario through the on-line presentations of the wineries that make them.

Original article by Michael Dunn, with contributions from Tilman Hainle and Rowan Shirkie.

Created 99-11-27 by Wineward, last modified 02-04-05 by cbooth7575


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