The Wineries

Wineries Overview

Vineyards and building, Flat Rock Cellars, Twenty Mile Bench

Ontario’s VQA wineries span a great diversity in size, location and business missions. From small to large, family owned to corporate, they all share a commitment to producing wines of origin – wines that express each appellation’s unique terroir through their character and quality.

Focused on terroir, VQA wineries are crafting wines that tell the story of Ontario appellations. Grape growing and winemaking are terroir conscious and attentive to preserving and showcasing the special varietal and taste profiles that come from each appellation. Put simply, wineries are coaxing the best from their soils and translating it into great wine.

With these efforts, Ontario’s VQA wineries are creating a profile of taste and character, distinct for each appellation, and building a strong connection between the soil and terroir of our appellations and our wines. This is the identity of our appellations – the expression of Ontario’s wine “places”. Wine lovers are following these developments and beginning to identify the nuances of Ontario wine, and the subtle distinctions between appellations and the influence of their terroir.

A focus on appellation encourages wineries to craft their best wines as an authentic reflection of regional character. Finding the perfect harmony between grape varieties, viticulture, winemaking techniques, and the local terroir leads to exceptional wines, each a statement of their origin. Rather than simply targeting consumer trends, the goal of making appellation wines is to seek out a synergy that is the best expression of place. These wines are unique, authentic and truly local.

VQA appellations are the underpinning for authentic wines of origin.

Committed to excellence

VQA Ontario’s responsibility as the appellation authority is the development and regulation of standards that serve consumers and the wine industry. From quality standards for grape growing and winemaking, to comprehensive testing and truth in labeling and consumer safety standards, all stages of the regulation are stringent and intensive.

There are over 125 Ontario wineries producing VQA wines of various appellations - all backed up by VQA Ontario’s assurance of origin and quality.

As a result, VQA wineries are among the best producers of fine wine of origin in the world. When consumers see an appellation and the VQA letters on a bottle, they see a symbol of authentic origin and have an expectation of inherent quality.

These symbols provide the foundation for VQA wineries to build quality and expectation, and to express an enriched and relevant story of terroir and origin through their wine and communications.

Commitments

  • VQA wineries are committed to excellence through meeting and exceeding VQA standards for grape-growing and winemaking
  • All VQA wines are made from 100% Ontario-grown grapes or more specifically sourced from the appellation stated on the label
  • VQA wines are made only from recognized wine grape varietals selected for their potential to suit specific appellations and to support grape quality and distinctive character
  • VQA wine grapes meet standards such as minimum ripeness levels (degrees brix) attained through careful viticultural practices
  • Every VQA wine, for each individual vintage and blend, is tasted and tested pre-release to ensure it meets standards for quality and food safety. All labels are reviewed to verify that label claims accurately reflect the wine in the bottle

Did you know?

Wineries within the Niagara Peninsula are continuing to expand their use of sub-appellation labeling to give consumers more specific information about wine origin. Over 300 wines, or about 25% of all VQA wines that were approved in 2007, specified a sub-appellation.