Canada - unapologetically cool.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Canada makes some great wines, the thing is, not many people know it. Let's be honest here, we make less wine per year than Mexico.

But more people should know about us, and after reading John Szabo’s piece “Hello, It’s Canada Calling” I became so impassioned by the whole subject matter I could barely concentrate the remainder of the day (fast forward 2 months and I’m finally sitting down to write about it). Seeing as though so much time has passed between then and now, why still the urge to write? It comes down to his question towards the end of the article, where he asks ”So Canada, what’s your story”.  While I sat there reading this, my response bubbled up quick and clear and I remember thinking to myself, Canada needs to be “unapologetically cool”.

I’m so extremely proud to be from Niagara but what I’ve learned having spent most of my time living outside the area, is that the majority of people don't know we make wine. I’ll never forget when I was working at a winery in Italy, and was so very excited to tell the winemaker I worked within the industry in Canada. You know what his reaction was? He laughed. He laughed!

Canada and wine, it’s something that, at present moment, still doesn’t make sense for most of the world. As sad as that reality is, it's the very thing that motivates me. Yes, things are changing, wines are getting recognized, the world is taking notice, BUT there's still so much to do.

John refers to a pendulum shift in the world’s taste preference for cool climate wines, and this concept made me ask myself the question, where is the pendulum in Canada? I can’t help but feel that at times we're pushing it in different directions. We've got team Riesling, team Pinot, team Cab Franc, team Chard, even team sparkling. This leads to pushing against, rather than with each other, and only because we're ready to proclaim “We make all kinds of good wine!” However, the world doesn’t have time for our flimsy sales pitch. We’ve known this for years and I feel we’re finally starting to get focused.

So, if we're getting focused then what's the target? It's Chardonnay. And no, I’m not writing this because last weekend was the International Cool Climate ChardonnayCelebration - i4c (but what good timing!) For me its always been Chardonnay because whenever I'm away from home, it’s the one wine I miss. Try as I might, I never find anything that quite resembles Niagara chard. We’ve got something unique in Chardonnay and I’m all for rallying behind the Chardonnay pendulum.

For a country that is known for being overly apologetic, it's time we throw caution to the wind and stake our claim in this game. We undoubtedly will continue to grow bigger and better and surely one day soon, winemakers in Italy won't laugh when we tell them “Canada makes damn good wine Chardonnay”.
i4c Event; Grand Tasting World Tour at Ridley College (7/18/15)

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