Grapevines in Québec? Wine grapes were first grown here in the early days of New France. Since the 1980s, Québec has seen a steady increase in the number of artisan winemakers producing wines with the unique features of the Québec terroir.
A wide variet
Québec’s wine-growers work with grape varieties adapted to our severe weather, and have developed a product range that spans still wines, fortified wines and effervescent wines. There’s a province-full of riches to discover!
Québec grape varieties
Not only do they have to survive our winters, be productive after short growing periods and bear fruit that ripens very quickly, but Québec varieties must also be productive at short heights and resist disease. Above all, they must make good wines.
A rigorous environment
Much research – past and present – has been conducted to improve the wine stocks used in Québec vineyards. Today, more than 25 varieties of grape are grown, some 10 of which are commonly used. Here are some of the principal black and white varieties in Québec.
- Cayuga is a disease-resistant but cold-sensitive American hybrid. Harvested in early October, it makes good wines with faintly muscat aromas.
- Eona is a cold-hardy, disease-resistant variety, Suitable for areas with a short growing season, it ripens in early September. Makes light, slightly foxy wines.
- Seyval is a fairly vigorous French hybrid that matures in late September and is resistant to the vine disease downy mildew. It is one of the most popular varieties in Québec vineyards. Generally produces wines with simple fruit and vegetal aromas that are dry, light and with good acidity.
- Vidal is a disease-resistant French hybrid. It matures late in the season (mid-October) and is often used to make ice wines. When harvested fully ripe, it makes fat wines with fruity aromas. .
- Other grape varieties grown in Québec : Aurore, Bacchus, Chardonnay, Geisenheim, La Crosse, Mitchurinetz, Ortega, Pinot gris, Riesling and Vandal-Cliche.
- Chancellor is a very productive French hybrid. The fruit is susceptible to the vine disease downy mildew. Makes good-quality reds and rosés with slightly foxy, fruit and herbal aromas. Stands up well to barrel aging.
- De Chaunac is very productive French hybrid named after a former manager of Bright Wines in Ontario. Produces wines of variable quality and is often used for blending.
- Maréchal Foch is a French hybrid named after French Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) and the most widely used red variety in Québec. This variety produces small berries much loved by birds. Susceptible to oidium, or powdery mildew, another type of vine disease. Produces wine with herbaceous and fruity aromas and flavours.
- Sainte-Croix is a highly frost-resistant American variety. In blends, it boosts colour and adds straightforward aromas of fruit and spice.
- Other black varieties grown in Québec : Baco noir, Cabernet franc, Gamay, Lucy Kulhman, Merlot, Minnesota and Seyval noir.