Ontario Wine, 2014 Vintage

Niagara Peninsula Wine Route - Winter 2014
Ontario Wine, 2014 Vintage
Kerr Street Cafe
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Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Each year Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA) Ontario publishes a report on vintage conditions for the previous year in the major wine appellations of Ontario: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore (LENS), and Prince Edward County (PEC). In 2014 harvest dates for all of these viticultural areas were about 10 days later due to colder than normal temperatures through April and a slow start to spring.

Last February there were reports of Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc vine damage in the Niagara Peninsula due to the Polar Vortex. At one point Niagara experienced an average bud loss of 34% for Pinot Noir and 66% for Syrah, and many Merlot vines were damaged. Cold weather in March affected LENS with bud loss between 86% and 90% for all varieties. PEC was saved from extreme loss since most of their vines are buried during the winter.

So what does this mean for the 2014 vintage of Ontario wines? You can expect to see less wine available due to smaller yields than usual, and potentially higher prices from some wineries. Although many factors influence the outcome of wine, winter hardiness of vines is a major one which varies by location and grape varieties planted. You may not see an abundance of Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc because they do not survive cold temperatures as well as other varieties grown in Ontario. Baco Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Vidal tend to fare best in our cool climate.

The warmest wine appellation in Ontario is LENS, located at about the same latitude as southern France. Within this viticultural area is Pelee Island situated at the southernmost point of Canada. Pelee Island Winery is presenting at the Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) monthly wine tasting on Friday, January 30th. Guests are welcome and can pre-register by contacting OWEC.

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