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In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Niagara Peninsula
Niagara Peninsula is the biggest wine-growing region in Canada, located in Ontario, south east Canada.⠀
In a nutshell
- Biggest wine-growing region in Canada
- Cool climate
- Hybrids & icewine
I’ts a cool climate, comparable to Burgundy in the growing season. The climate is largely influenced by the deep Ontario Lake which gives refreshment in summer, and warmth in winter. Besides, the hillrange Escarpment provides a natural barrier to lots of wind and fog which minimizes deseases. The best vineyards are located closely to – or on – the hills.⠀⠀
It’s a diverse combination of soils with deposits from the last ice age: clay, pebble, sand, loam, minerals, iron, copper and calcium.
The calcareous soils near the Lake Iroquois Plain are particularly suitable for delicate riesling and pinot noir.
Niagara Peninsula has two regional appellations: Niagara Escarpment and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Like everywhere in Canada, there are many hybrids, or ’new’ grape varieties. The best-known is vidal. Mainly used for the production of Icewine. Riesling and cabernet franc are also used for Icewine.
Dry wines are made from riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, gamay, syrah.
Bone dry wines, Icewine but also sparkling wine is made. The relatively short growing season is perfect for traditional method sparkling wine.
💡 Something you didn’t know (did you?)
Niagara Peninsula produces a lot of icewine of which the best known is @inniskillinwines . In winter, temperatures can get down to -20 degrees.
By law it is determined that the grapes for icewine can only be harvested when it’s been at least -8 degrees, the grapes need to be in frozen condition when going to the press. Please note, they can’t be too cold either 👉🏼 Vineland Winery in Ontario once broke their pneumatic press in the 1990s while pressing the frozen grapes because they were too hard, according to @wikipedia (🤭). It’s tradition to harvest grapes for icewine between 03.00-06.00 in the morning… early birds there in Niagara 😴
Your turn now
I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!