[nafex] Ontario's New Wine Industry
victoria l. caron
vicaron at gis.net
Wed Sep 19 06:30:00 EDT 2001
I know what you mean Bill. While I drink red wine, Merlot mostly, to help prevent phlebitis, I also have always enjoyed Cream Sherry. My favorite
brand is an Ontario label "London Cream" which has not been available in NH for about three years now. Does anyone know just what 'ice wines' are and
how they are listed at the store?
vic NH zone 3
Bill Russell wrote:
> Hi Victoria,
> I was very impressed by some of the local Canadian wines I brought back from
> my Toronto visit.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "victoria l. caron" <vicaron at gis.net>
> To: <nafex at yahoogroups.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 5:49 AM
> Subject: [nafex] Ontario's New Wine Industry
> > Here is an article from a news site to which I am subscribed. To open
> > articles a password is needed, so I copied it to pass it on.
> > September 17 ,2001
> > Canada's Wine-Producing Region a Climatic Wonder
> > By Lesley Wroughton
> > NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario (Reuters) - Along the southwest
> > shore of
> > Lake Ontario, between Niagara Falls and Toronto, lies a
> > little-known climatic
> > wonder attracting vintners from around the world.
> > A 5-mile by 45-mile shelf along the Niagara escarpment
> > mimics optimum
> > grape-growing conditions of France's Burgundy region for the
> > short Canadian
> > summer.
> > Warm air from the lake bounces off the escarpment above the
> > vineyards,
> > providing a temperate moderate climate that produces
> > European-style wines.
> > Now a tiny industry better known for winter-season ice wines
> > is flourishing, with
> > new vineyards opening and vintners from France, Australia
> > and elsewhere
> > coming to test their skills in what could be the next New
> > World growth market
> > after Australia and New Zealand.
> > Large French and American companies are also investing in
> > the region like
> > Boisset, Burgundy's largest wine producer.
> > Hard to believe in a country known more for its picturesque
> > snow-covered vistas
> > than delicate bouquets of Chardonnay and Riesling. But the
> > enthusiasm of the
> > newcomers tells the story.
> > A new 20-year growth strategy by the Wine Council of Ontario
> > hopes to open
> > new markets after years of efforts to develop this unlikely
> > wine region.
> > The plan sees Ontario's wine industry growing to $961
> > million over the next two
> > decades from the current $220 million -- still small when
> > compared with
> > California, whose wines reached a retail value of $13
> > billion in 2000.
> > The growth has seen many new wineries open in the past year
> > including Peller
> > Estate, Jackson-Triggs and Peninsula Ridge. An agri-tourism
> > industry is
> > blossoming alongside 60 wineries, with accommodations and
> > restaurants that
> > have attracted top chefs.
> > Jean-Pierre Colas, a Frenchman who worked with masters of
> > Burgundy, was
> > skeptical when he first visited the region that was once
> > considered the purveyor
> > of plonk, or cheap table wine.
> > Colas, whose intense eyes peer out from wire-rimmed
> > spectacles, was headed
> > for Chile in 1999 to try out winemaking in a country whose
> > techniques had long
> > intrigued him when he accepted an invitation from Canadian
> > entrepreneur
> > Norman Beal.
> > Beal, a former oil commodities trader in New York, was
> > looking for a vintner to
> > put his newly acquired Peninsula Ridge vineyard on the
> > global map. Colas
> > came, saw the soil and unique grape-growing conditions, and
> > was convinced.
> > "It is not really a style, it's a philosophy, and first it
> > is the grapes," says Colas who
> > was amazed by the knowledge of the local grape growers about
> > cool-climate
> > viticulture.
> > "This area is very special, unlike in Europe where we grow
> > one varietal, here we
> > can grow everything and the results are great everywhere."
> > NEW WINE MARKETS
> > That a talent such as Colas, former head winemaker of
> > Chablis house Domaine
> > Laroche in France, believed in the region showed the
> > potential for Niagara
> > Peninsula to expand its product beyond its internationally
> > acclaimed ice wines.
> > A sweet dessert wine produced from grapes left on the vine
> > through the first hard
> > frost, the ice wines of Ontario compete with German and
> > Austrian eiswein,
> > although they only won entry to the European market in
> > March. Now Ontario is
> > looking to increase its ice wine production five-fold from a
> > current 70,000 cases.
> > A half bottle of ice wine sells for about $29.
> > But Colas thinks he can produce table wines that are equal
> > to or even better than
> > those of other New World regions.
> > At Peninsula Ridge, a short drive from Toronto and Niagara
> > Falls, he combines
> > his French-inspired expertise with stainless steel vats and
> > oak barrels in a cellar
> > designed with equipment from Europe.
> > Using his hands to gesticulate his passion for his work,
> > Colas speaks in
> > French-accented English about the challenge of starting from
> > scratch in such a
> > viticultural outpost.
> > The quality of his first vintage surprised him: a Sauvignon
> > Blanc and Chardonnay
> > of notable body and flavor.
> > DEVELOPING WINE WORLD
> > Canadians have been making wine since the early 1800's but
> > not until the last
> > decade has the industry focused on quality, due to economic
> > realities shaped by
> > trade agreements and increased foreign competition.
> > Elsewhere in Canada, British Columbia on the Pacific coast
> > has a thriving but
> > smaller industry.
> > For many years local Ontario winemakers used grapes from
> > native species,
> > among them Vitis Labrusca, which produced brands like a
> > mediocre pink bubbly
> > called Baby Duck -- for years Ontario's best selling wine.
> > In 1988 the Ontario government limited the use of Labrusca
> > grapes, and the
> > federal government offered wineries funding to replace it
> > with the more accepted
> > Vitis Vinifera from Europe, which includes Chardonnay and
> > Cabernet
> > Sauvignon.
> > At the time, several wineries voluntarily adopted the
> > Vintners Quality Alliance
> > (VQA) appellation system which has since been put into law
> > that sets standards
> > for quality and specifies a wine's origin.
> > Australian Phillip Dowell is the new winemaker at
> > Inniskillin, probably Canada's
> > best known winery, whose founders Donald Ziraldo and Karl
> > Kaiser were
> > granted in 1975 the first new commercial wine license in
> > Ontario since before
> > the Depression.
> > Like Colas, Dowell, who came from the Yarra Valley in
> > Australia's Victoria state,
> > was surprised by wines already produced in the region.
> > "Niagara has now to substantiate itself to the rest of the
> > world as a bone fide
> > wine growing region," he said. "They are doing that with ice
> > wines but are now
> > also having to establish that with the table wines."
> > A STYLE OF ITS OWN
> > But Dowell says the local wine industry needs to develop a
> > style it can call its
> > own.
> > "This is the most continental of any region in the world
> > that can produce many
> > styles of wines and qualities -- and that creates the
> > uniqueness of character of
> > the region, and that is where you start to develop the
> > region's style," he said.
> > Dowell says he was impressed by the standards of winemaking
> > in Niagara and
> > is boldly experimenting with Shiraz that his native
> > Australia is best known for. "If
> > we can ripen Merlot here, there is no reason why we can't
> > ripen Shiraz," he said.
> > Len Pennacheti, owner of Cave Spring winery and President of
> > the VQA,
> > believes the industry is finally coming of age.
> > "We didn't have high quality grapes available to us as an
> > industry because we
> > didn't think we could grow them," he says. "Now it is a
> > matter of convincing the
> > marketplace that we are serious, that our wines aren't
> > plonk".
> > The tall, dark-haired native of Niagara says the region has
> > to learn to focus on
> > wines it produces well. "We need to find an emblematic grape
> > varietal like New
> > Zealand has done with Sauvignon Blanc and my money is on
> > Riesling."
> > "Riesling has been an ugly duckling grape variety for
> > decades. In Australia they
> > put it in different packages and don't call it Riesling. We
> > proudly put Riesling in a
> > classic bottle and sell it as a kick-ass varietal."
> > Paul Speck, owner of Henry of Pelham winery says the
> > industry's transition
> > happened with the VQA.
> > "The industry has a little more meat on the bones than it
> > did 10 years ago," says
> > Speck, whose winery started in a barn making 2,000 cases and
> > now produces
> > 75,000 cases.
> > He believes that ice wine will continue to open doors. "If
> > we take the same
> > focused approached using ice wine as the door opener
> > internationally and
> > following it up with our Chardonnays and Rieslings, we will
> > impress them."
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