Last weekend I took a mini break to check out an up and coming wine region in Ontario, Prince Edward County located just over an hour east of Toronto and near Lake Ontario. This area received VQA in 2007 and is located at the 44* latitude mark, which is the same as Burgundy, France. Currently there are 23 VQA wineries, I was fortunate to visit some of the top 8. What is getting people so excited about this region? The soils! A composition of gravelly loam with a subsoil of fractured limestone; giving roots the opportunity to penetrate deep into the ground with excellent drainage and providing mineral characteristics to the wine....sound like a Burgundy recipe???? Even the varietals grown are of Burgundian decent: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. There are also some success stories with Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc and Bubbly!
What sets this region apart is the viticulture techniques employed to prep the vines for a Canadian winter. Fortunately with PEC proximity to Lake Ontario winters are moderated, however, they are still cold. Cold enough that vines are trained low to the ground and in the fall, they are literally attached to a low wire and buried under the dirt. With the addition of the winter's snowfall, the vines have 2 insulating layers for protection.
VQA PEC website link:
|Gravelly loam over subsoil of limestone|
|Beautiful exposed limestone|
|Top left of the rock: embedded oyster shell|
|Low trained vines (fruit set in early July)|