Viticultural Areas

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Ontario’s grape and wine country has captured the attention of enthusiastic wine lovers worldwide.  Led by the emergence of Icewine as its flagship product, Ontario has achieved an international reputation for quality wines, as proven by the many awards, citations and honours achieved in the past 25 years. 

Grape production in Ontario originates from three DesignatedViticultural Areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, and Prince Edward County. There are approximately 17,000 acres under vine in these three areas, which all have excellent combinations of the right climate, growing season and soils – terroir – and evolving viticultural practices, to grow high quality grapes.          

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The Designated Viticultural Areas (DVA) are further divided in Regional Appellations which are smaller than a DVAs but contain more than one Sub-Appellation. And Sub-Appellations are smaller areas within an appellation that have been identified because of their unique geographical conditions.  Niagara Peninsula has 10 Sub-Appellations and Lake Erie North Shore has the newest Sub-Appellation.  For more information on Ontario's Designated Viticultural Areas or Appellations of Origin, visit VQA Ontario.

The world's highest quality wine grapes belong to a species of grapes known as Vitis vinifera (commonly referred to as Vinifera).  In Ontario, the majority of wine grapes grown are vinifera, and include varieties like Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir etc.

Ontario’s grape and wine country is classified as a cool climate viticulture region, and with its cold winters, has become the world leader in Icewine, a premium dessert wine.  Other cool climate grape-growing regions include the Okanagan Valley in Canada’s British Columbia, Oregon and Washington states in the U.S., and New Zealand, Germany, and the Burgundy region in France.