As in much of North America, grape growing and winemaking in Canada only started in the 19th century. Ontario and British Columbia, however, have seen recent dramatic developments in their wine industries that have raised their status to wine regions that are now respected world wide.
All Canadian viticulture is by definition cool climate. Most of the grape growing in the various regions is near to or at the northern limit for the cultivation of wine grapes. This means that Canada's best wines will have many of the features that characterize cool climate wines: intense aromas and flavours, crisp and refreshing acidity and a high degree of complexity.
- Canada's two largest wine regions are in Ontario and British Columbia. Their history and characteristics are covered well in the respective category descriptions.
- Quebec has a much smaller and newer industry that is only just starting to develop. The climate is harsher than in, for example, Ontario's Niagara peninsula or BC's Okanagan Valley, so grape growers are often limited in the kind of grape varieties they can successfully cultivate.
- Nova Scotia in the Maritimes has a small wine industry based mainly on French-American hybrid grape varieties.
- Prince Edward Island is home to a small acreage of wine grapes.
- These and other areas of Canada feature quite a number of fruit wineries, using apples, pears, berries and more unusual ingredients.