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Abbreviation for Vintners Quality Alliance, the appellation system in Canada; see there.

In 1811, the German officer Johann (John) Schiller planted eight hectares of vines near Toronto on the Credit River, which is considered the birth of Canadian viticulture. He experimented with wild v ines of the species Vitis labrusca found there. In 1866, winegrowers from Kentucky planted vineyards with the Isabella variety on Pelee Island in Lake Erie in the southern tip of the country. By the end of the 19th century, there were already about 50 wineries, most of them in the province of Ontario. From the 1930s onwards, many French and American hybrids were planted, with particular emphasis on frost resistance. One of the main protagonists was the Canadian winegrowing pioneer Adhémar de Chaunac (*1896), who founded the production of ice wines. The climate is extreme, with very cold winters averaging minus 5 °C and hot summers, but on the Niagara Peninsula to the south it is far more favourable and optimal for viticulture due to the moderating influence of the huge lakes Ontario and Erie.

Kanada - Rebflächen am Lake Okanagan und Eisweinfelder bei Niagara Falls

Viticulture in modern times

Prohibition, or the ban on public consumption of alcohol, which was introduced in 1916 and remained in force until 1927, brought about a great upswing in viticulture in Canada (in contrast to the USA). This was because wine was exempt from the alcohol ban, thanks to clever lobbying by wine producers. At that time, the "Liquor Board System" was created, which is still in force today, whereby the sale of alcoholic beverages is carried out by government shops (now it is also allowed by private shops). Until the 1970s, mainly sweet, high-alcohol dessert wines were produced from indigenous Labrusca varieties, which were then still called sherry or port, which has since been banned.

Amazingly, it was not until 1975 that the first licence since Prohibition was granted to a privately run winery, this was the Inniskillin (Ontario) Winery on the Niagara Peninsula near the Falls. One of the two founders was Austrian-born pioneer Karl Kaiser (1941-2017), who initiated the production of Icewine (ice wine), which is favoured by climatic conditions. Today, Canada is the world's largest producer of Icewines. This also marked the beginning of the increased cultivation of European Vitis vinifera varieties. However, hybrids still account for a relatively large share. The vineyards cover 12,600 hectares of vines. The grape variety chart 2016 with the top-50 (statistics Kym Anderson):

Grape variety




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