Canadians & Corks: A Guide to the Wine Regions of Canada

Canadian wine is a hidden gem in the world of viticulture, offering a diverse and captivating array of flavours. While our wine history dates back over 200 years to the early settlers, it’s been since the 1990s that we’ve truly stepped up our game with modern technological advancements and a deeper understanding of our unique terroirs. Our prestigious Ice-wine is renowned worldwide, but we are now proud to showcase exceptional wines of all styles.

Join us in exploring the sun-drenched vineyards of British Columbia and the charming terroirs of Ontario, to discover the magic of Canadian wine.

British Columbia

British Columbia, where the wine scene is vibrant, exciting, and ever-evolving! In 1990, the British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA) was established, requiring that wines bearing its label be made from 100% BC-grown grapes, ensuring authenticity and quality. With over 929 vineyards and 369 licensed wineries spread across the provinces growing regions, British Columbia’s wines are a delightful reflection of the diverse terroir and the passionate people who cultivate them.

The Okanagan Valley

Welcome to the Okanagan Valley, a wine lover’s paradise, featuring a range of vineyards, from small family-owned boutiques to larger, world-class operations. With over 226 licensed wineries, this region produces a variety of wine styles, that play onto its diverse character. Spanning roughly 250 kilometers, the Okanagan Valleys unique tapestry has been deeply influenced by its glacial history forming various lakes and the “lake effect” plays a crucial role in this area as it helps to moderate temperatures. While the daytime temperatures can soar to a sizzling 40°C in some areas, the nights can be quite chilly, which helps to maintain a balance in the grape’s acidity and sugar levels. Moreover, with an extra two hours of sunlight compared to Napa Valley, the grapes have even more time to bask in the sunshine and ripen.

With an impressive an array of soil types, aspects, and altitudes creating varied and unique terroirs the Okanagan Valley can be broken into further sub-regions.

Some Sub-Regions of interest:

  • Golden Mile Bench: Recognized as the first sub-GI in BC in 2015 the region is nestled on the gentle slopes just south of Oliver. Located on the western side of the valley it gets more morning sun keeping the wine region cooler than some Eastern growing areas. The well drained soils of gravel, clay and sandy loam that was left by retreating glaciers help develop deep root systems and provide complexity to the wines. With its moderate temperatures varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay can ripen to beautiful expressions.
  • Okanagan Falls: This charming wine region is on the southern tip of Skaha Lake and showcases both natural beauty and exceptional viticulture. Soil types range from sandy loam, gravel, and clay deposits which allow for diversity and a wide variety of grapes to be produced. From crisp mineral Rieslings to rich aromatic Syrah's there is a wine for everyone.
  • Lake Country: This is the northernmost sub-region of the Okanagan Valley, situated on the western-facing slopes that capture the late afternoon sunshine above Okanagan Lake. Known for its cooler climate, it helps to preserve the acidity and keep fresh flavours. Lake Country is an ideal region for producing crisp whites, lighter reds, and bubbly sparkling wines.

The Similkameen Valley

Across the mountains from the Okanagan Valley, west of Osoyoos, lies the wild beauty of the Similkameen Valley. The region, sculpted by glaciers a millennia ago, offers breathtaking views of rolling hills and dramatic mountain cliffs, making it a stunning backdrop for wine lovers. With over 2,600 hours of annual sunshine, summer temperatures in the Similkameen Valley can soar well above 40°C. The towering mountain rocks also amplify this heat by reflecting it onto the vines, creating a unique growing environment.

Unlike its Okanagan neighbors, the Similkameen Valley lacks the moderating influence of lakes. Instead, cooler nights are a courtesy of higher altitudes, ranging from 400 to 480 meters with temperatures often dipping to 10C. This significant day-to-night temperature swing is crucial for maintaining the acidity and balance in the grapes.

A defining feature of the region is its distinctive winds, which blow down from the mountains, helping to keep the vineyards free from pests and diseases. This breezy advantage supports organic farming methods and over 40% of it’s crops cultivated organically.

Despite being a relatively new wine-growing region, the Similkameen Valley is making a name for itself with a diverse array of grape varieties. Whether you’re exploring bold reds, crisp whites, or intriguing blends, the Similkameen Valley offers a unique and rewarding experience.


Located between 41 to 44 degrees north, the majority of Ontario’s vineyards hug the scenic shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, where the vineyards bask in a unique microclimate thanks to the Great Lakes’ gentle influence. The VQA was formally incorporated in 1998 and was established to define and regulate wines produced in the region and ensure authenticity and quality. With over 191 wineries and 17,000 acres of vineyards, each wine-growing region offers a unique terroir and microclimate, contributing to the diversity of Ontario’s wines.


Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a picturesque region nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario. This region benefits from a unique combination of geographical and climatic features that make it an ideal area for viticulture. The deep waters of Lake Ontario and the swift currents of the Niagara River play a crucial role in moderating the climate and reduce the risk of spring and fall frosts. The Niagara Escarpment acts as a natural barrier, trapping in warmer air and providing shelter from strong winds. With vines planted on gentle sloping hills, all these factors allow for an earlier bud burst in spring and help the grapes achieve optimal ripeness.

The region is celebrated for producing a diverse array of wines. Among the most notable are aromatic Rieslings, fresh and lively Cabernet Francs, and delicate Pinot Noirs. Perhaps most famously, Niagara-on-the-Lake is the leading producer of ice wine. This sweet, luscious wine is made from grapes naturally frozen on the vine to concentrate their sugars and flavours.

Lake Erie North Shore

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Ontario is the charming region known as Lake Erie North Shore. It is surrounded by water with Lake St. Clair to the northwest, the Detroit River to the west, and sitting on the northern shores of Lake Erie, it is considered one of the warmest growing regions in Ontario. The shallow waters of Lake Erie warm up the region quickly, and the gentle lake breezes help to warm the vineyard sites, allowing for optimal ripeness and flavour development. The lake breezes also play a crucial role in reducing the risk of frost during the shoulder seasons.

The soils in this area have been shaped by ancient glacial lakes, resulting in lightly-textured, well-drained, sandy-gravel soils that are ideal for viticulture. This unique combination of climate and soil creates excellent conditions for growing a variety of grape varietals. Lake Erie's North Shores produces a wide array of wines ranging from vibrant Chardonnays and robust Cabernet Sauvignons to elegant Merlots.