Defining Appellation of Origin
The mark of authenticity for VQA Ontario wines
Often referred to as an "expression of place," wine has been associated with its point of origin for hundreds of years. European wine-producing countries, such as France and Spain, have long recognized origin and "terroir" – the combination of location, soil, topography and climate – as having direct influence on both the character and quality of wine grapes. Mapping terroir and accounting for this influence, by defining sophisticated appellations of origin, became a highly valued system for these regions to measure and market the quality and distinction of their wines.
Taking a cue from the European model for appellation of origin, Canada's thriving and rapidly expanding wine industry has developed around regions that produce wines of unique character.
Across Canada, there are now eight primary Viticultural Areas that are recognized to produce grapes for appellation wines certified by the Vintners Quality Alliance system (VQA). These appellations of origin, located in southern Ontario and British Columbia account for 98% of the country's premium wine production. The majority of these appellation wines come from Ontario`s appellations, where approximately 15,000 acres of wine grape vineyards are planted. Stretching along the centre of the world's cool-climate wine belt, Ontario appellations share similar growing season characteristics with some of the most recognized and respected wine-growing regions of the world.
VQA Ontario, Ontario`s appellation authority is responsible for regulating the production of appellation wines in the Province and ensuring label integrity when it comes to the use of appellation names.
Embracing Appellation Diversity
Defining wine culture in Ontario
Wine has gained a place in Canada`s cultural landscape and appellation of origin has become an increasingly important element in exceptional winemaking across Canada. Canada's greatest wines are wines of origin, each having a distinctive personality and style that promise an enjoyable wine experience. Wine lovers appreciate this diversity of character and the experience of each unique place, and it enhances their enjoyment of the wine, their food and their lifestyle experiences. The more a wine elaborates terroir, the more grounded the personality and the more a lasting distinction develops.