The Canadian wine industry is centered in two regions. In the east, above New York, is Ontario; and in the west situated above the Columbia Valley is British Columbia. In Ontario the largest and most famous region is the Niagara Peninsula which has a climate moderated by proximity to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Here many different grapes are grown including some hybrids, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc.
The best region in British Columbia is the Okanagan Valley which is truly an extension of Washington’s Columbia Valley.  Here a wide variety of grapes are grown: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Okanagan Valley also produces Icewine when the conditions are favorable.

The wine industry in Canada was started approximately 200 years ago by settlers. At first they had limited success with Vitis vinifera vines and concentrated on the native Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia. However these vines tend to produce a wine with a peculiar taste often called “foxy” and the industry remained very small. Vitis vinifera vines were not planted on a major basis until the 1970’s. The temperance movement, prohibition, and a moratorium on issuing new winery licenses caused stagnation in the industry until the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s the government introduced a vine upgrade program to begin ripping out some of the lesser quality vines and replace them with superior Vitis vinifera vines. Around this time the regulatory body for wine was formed: the Vintners Quality Alliance.

The wine industry has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. The modern industry is focused on varieties grown in cooler climates with focused fruit, true varietal characteristic, and complex flavors.

Okanagan Valley

The OkanaganValley sits above central Washington State, and is the largest and oldest grape growing region in British Columbia. The valley is over 100 miles long and is the location for 40+ premium wineries. The climate here is excellent for growing grapes; the Coast Mountain Range provides sloping hillsides and helps to moderate the rainfall. The long dry summers allow for the ripening of thicker skinned grapes such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The south end of the valley is very dry and receives fewer than 6 inches of rain per year. Vineyards located near Lake Okanagan benefit from the easy water access as well as the moderation of temperature to help lengthen the growing season. The northern end of the valley is cooler and specializes in Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Sylvaner.


Canada Wine RegionProducerLabelAbout the producer
Okanagan ValleyQuails' GateQuails’ Gate winery is located above Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. The 125 acre lakefront property is located on the historic home site of 1870’s Okanagan pioneers the Allison Family. The winery is family owned and run by the Stewart family. The Stewarts were pioneering horticulturists in the Okanagan Valley 1908, they established the vineyards for Quails’ gate in 1956 and opened the winery in 1989.
Quails’ Gate is internationally and nationally recognized as one of the country’s top agri-tourism sites with the Old Vines Restaurant & Wine Bar commanding exceptional vineyard-side views of the slopes of the Boucherie Mountain Bench and Lake Okanagan.

90% of the production of Quails’ Gate is produced from estate owned vineyards. The vineyard is situated on the favorable south facing slope above Lake Okanagan and below the extinct volcano Mount Boucherie.
The vineyards are planted in a mixture of volcanic rock and clay. Although difficult to farm, Quails’ Gate believes that this terroir contributes to wines that are rich, concentrated and interesting in character. The vineyard is planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, ‘Old Vines’ Marechal Foch, Riesling, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Merlot, Optima, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay Noir.

Quails’ Gate is an industry leader in viticulture and places an emphasis on the development of exceptional wines through extensive research of new experimental varietal clones, canopy management techniques with high-density plantings and crop control which is used to significantly reduce yields

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see: