So in the last night of the WSET wine training we, again, covered a pretty mass amount of material. From locally produced wine to wines out of Italy, Portugal and Spain. We covered tips on purchasing and working in the business. We then reviewed and had our exam.
Out of all the topics I think the Canadian wine was the most interesting.
We stared with a very brief history of wine in Canada, specifically in BC. Over all its safe to say that it wasn’t that bloody eventful. People go drunk, it was deemed bad, and they kept getting drunk anyways. But here are a few points that I thought were neat.
1860 - The first Canadian vineyard was planted by Father Pandosy for his church and personal use at the Oblate missionary near what is now Kelowna
1916 - 1922 -Prohibition came to Canada. Pfft! See how long that lasted… and how well too…
1974 - There were 3000 resisted acres are dedicated to grapes and vineyards
1988 - We get free trade and we drop to only 1,000 vineyard acres’. This is because the government paid the growers over $8,000 and acre to focus on quality as apposed to quantity.
1990 - We see a huge boom in vine planting in BC because the VQA is adopted as wine law. It forced BC growers to ensure that their wines were 100% produced inside of BC.
1994 - Mission Hills Winery wins IWSC and the real BC wine boom begins
2011 - We have over 160 wineries and over 10,000 acres dedicated to grape and wine production
In addition to the history we also talked a bit about the different growing regions and what the VQA means for wines coming out of Canada.
The biggest region that I think everyone will know is the Okanagan. This includes sub regions like Kelowna, Naramata, Osoyoos Westbank, and Summerland. The climates here are fairly continental, with a hot dry south and cooler north. Its soils having a very wide range, from sandy in some regions and volcanic in others.
Some of the lesser-known regions are the Frasier valley and the Similkameen valley. The Frasier valley has a more humid climate that produces small local but hearty red wines, like Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m not overly familiar with the Similkameen valley but its relative lack of lakes would make for cheaper and more arid climate.
In the end our wine history is really just a little blip on the entire history of wine and grape growing. But its still relatively neat to see where we started from and all the little steps we have taken to get to where we are now.