Robert Bell's

Wines of Canada

Since 1992


Grape Varieties

Grapes fall into one of three categories 1) European or vinifera, 2) American or labruscana and 30 Hybrids.

Good examples of Vitus Vinifera are Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir. They are more common and make greats wines
Examples of labruscana are Concord and Niagara no longer considered a good wine grape.

Hybrides were developed to have superior hardiness and disease resistant. They include Baco Noir, Maréchal Foch, L'Acadie and
Leon Millot

Québec's cottage wineries produce mainly white wines (80% white, 20% red), mostly very fresh Seyval Blanc. Vidal, Chardonnay, Riesling, Aurore, Cayuga, Ortega, Bacchus and the Geisenheim 318 clone are also grown. In reds, de Chaunac, Marechal Foch, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Chancellor, Vidal Noir and Dornfelder are grown.

L'Acadie Blanc

The signature white grape hybrid of Nova Scotia is also found in quebec. Created in Vineland, Ontario, this grape proved unsuitable to the Ontario climate but produces excellent wines in Nova Scotia. It is also grown in Quebec

The grape is hardy, early-ripening and disease resistant. Fresh and refined, L'Acadie Blanc typically produces dry, medium bodied white wines with fresh flavours such as citrus fruit, and a slight herbaceous character. Oak-aged versions often develop buttery nuances, pear and apple flavours, and creamy textures



Adalmiina (ES 6-16-30)

Developed by Elmer Swenson in mid-late 80 and never released with a name. Meeri Saario from Finland got it in the mid 90's and got permission to name this vine. She named it Adalmiina. This variety is very disease resistant, though moderate winter hardiness to app. – 30 F. Berries golden and up to 22 Brix (90 Oe) TA 0,6 to 1,0% and pH up to 3.6 Clusters are medium in size up to 160g Wine style is like a French Muscadet, great for rich seafood. Can be a bit astringent in the finish. Wine has very good body with a light floral nose.

Vignoble Ste-Angélique is a producer.

Baco Noir: is a hybrid red grape variety that was produced by crossing two other grapes: a Vitis vinifera (Folle Blanche, a French wine grape) and an unknown variety of Vitis Riparia (an American wine grape). Created by French wine hybridizer Maurice Baco, it was at once commonly grown in France, but was heavily restricted for commercial use in 1951 by European Union regulations. At the same time, the variety was brought to the cooler viticulture regions of the United States, such as New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and a few years later to Canada.

This hearty, early-ripening true north varietal is used wholly and in blends to produce medium-bodied, fruit forward and structured wines with concentrated red berry, wood, and spice flavours and relatively high acidity. Some of its best renditions are produced in Ontario and British Columbia.

Producing good wines Domaine St- Jacques uses Baco Noir in their blends.


is a hybrid wine grape variety produced by Albert Seibel circa 1860. It is also known as Seibel 7053 and is a cross of Seibel 5163 and Seibel 880.

Produces a fruity wine with notes of raspberry and cherry . It is susceptible to both downy and powdery mildew . this variety ripens late and has a semi-trailing growth pattern. Moderate winter hardiness needs protection. Requires cluster thinning. Produces a fruity wine with notes of raspberry and cherry

Produces are Vignoble de l'Orpailleur,Vignoble de l'Ardennais and Vignoble La Mission


grape is green-skinned and is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown all over the world wherever wine is produced. It is a relatively “low-maintenance” vine that adapts well to a variety of climates, resulting in fairly high yields worldwide In Canada they are best grown in British Columbia and Ontario.

Chardonnay has also been grown in Nova Scotia. Blomidon Estate Winery makes 100% gown Chardonnay. Gaspereau Vineyards is another Nova Scotia producer of Chardonnay along with their traditional method Chardonnay Brut sparkling wine. Chardonnay's boast an impressive range of flavors from the expected buttered, oak overtones to the fresh, fruit flavors of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression.

Les Pervenches, near Farnham in Quebec's Eastern Townships was among the first in Quebec to grow Chardonnay. Domaine St-Jacques is a grower..

De Chaunac

is a French-American hybrid wine grape variety used to make red wines . It was developed by Albert Seibel circa 1860. It is also known as Seibel 9549 and is a cross of Seibel 5163 and possibly Seibel 793. The grape was named after Adhemar de Chaunac , a pioneer in the Ontario wine industry.

De Chaunac is known to have a very vigorous growth habit and good resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew . It is grown in varying amounts for wine production across the northeastern side of North America, especially in the wine growing regions of New York , Pennsylvania, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Michigan , and other northeastern wine growing areas.

Vignoble Domaine de l'Ile Ronde, Domaine Les Brome and Vignoble du Marathonien


Dornfelder :

an immensely popular German red wine grape; a 1955 crossing of Helfensteiner (Frühburgunder × Trollinger) and Heroldrebe

The Ice House winery in Ontario makes a Cabernet/ Dornfelder icewine.
Also grown in Quebec.


One of the hardiest white grapes, having long loose clusters of medium sized berries. Ripens around mid sept, excellent for table use or wine.

Vignoble Isle de Bacchus and Vignoble de Sainte-Petronille use Enona



is a French-American hybrid grapevine that is a result of research and cross-breeding by the University of Minnesota . It was grown from a crossing of the complex interspecific hybrid Landot 4511 and a very cold hardy selection of Vitis riparia . It was released in 1996.

Frontenac gris is a white wine version of Frontenac, introduced in 2003. It started as a single bud mutation of Frontenac, yielding gray (thus named gris) fruit and amber-colored juice. Frontenac blanc will be introduced in 2012 from white fruited mutations found in both Fronenac and Frontenac gris vines in Minnesota and Canada

Frontenac Gris (pictured) makes a white wine with a peach and tropical fruit flavor

Vignoble Bouche-Art,Vignoble Carone, Les Petits Cailloux and Little Red Barn winery.

Geisenheim Gm318-57:

White wine producing hybrid cultivar technically known as GM318-57 created in 1957. Reported as derived from Riesling cl.239 F2 and Chancellor parents . Moderately winter hardy. Susceptible to leaf burn from copper-containing sprays and fungus diseases such as Powdery Mildew. Usually ripens late September where successfully grown in Nova Scotia, Canada. A reportedly slightly hardier yet similar hybrid is the Jost (Geisenheim). A somewhat similar cultivar, currently grown on the south island of New Zealand, is a variety named Breidecker. It can be found in Quebec

Top producers are Chapelle Ste. Agnès Vineyard,Vignobles des Negondos and Vignoble Morou


is an aromatic wine grape variety, used in white
wines , and performs best in cooler climates. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as Gewürz . Gewürztraminer is a variety with a pink to red skin colour, which makes it a "white wine grape" as opposed to the blue to black-skinned varieties commonly referred to as "red wine grapes". The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry , with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees . Indeed, Gewürztraminer and lychees share the same aroma compounds .Dry Gewürztraminer's may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass)

Domaine St-Jacques is a grower..

Landot Noir

or Landot 4511 a hybrid grapes created in 1950


Landot Noir

or Landot 4511 a hybrid grapes created in 1950 after crossing several grapes. It can be found in New York state Ontario and Quebec. Used for blending.

Carone Vineyards grows Ladnot Noir

Louise Swenson

Louise Swenson

is a very cold tolerant variety, reported cold hardy to an amazing -40F. The grapes have a naturally low sugar, with only moderate acidity. Louise Swenson is used to make white wine, with a delicate aroma of honey and flowers. Due to its natural low sugar levels, wine made from Louise Swenson tends to be light bodied; fuller bodied wines are often blended with Louise Swenson to make a more complete product. The dry white wine has a fruity nose that pairs well with fish, poultry, pork, and vegetable dishes

Little Red Wagon Winery in Shawville grows Louise Swenson

Lucie Kuhlmann

Lucie Kuhlmann

A sister variety of Leon Millot that produces a slightly bigger crop and is earlier ripening. The wines are bold in colour but with lower tannins. Big and fruity, Lucie Kuhlmann produces full flavoured dry red wines with berry fruit and smoky notes on the nose. On the palate, they are rich and often have slightly spicy finishes

top producers Domaine des Cotes d'Ardoise, La Mission Vineyard,Vignoble De Lavoie and Domaine St-Jacques .

Marechal Foch

(pronounced "mar-esh-shall-fosh"), is an inter-specific hybrid red grape variety. It was named after the French marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929), who played an important role in the negotiation of the armistice terms during the closing of the First World War .

It was developed in Alsace , France by grape hybridizer Eugene Kuhlmann. It ripens early , is cold-hardy, is resistant to fungal diseases, but because of its small berry size is prone to bird injury. The quality of wine produced by Marechal Foch vines is highly dependent upon vine age, and the flavor profile associated with many new-world hybrid varietals is much reduced in examples made with fruit picked from older vines. The berry size of this variety is small.

producers of note: Domaine des Cotes d'Ardoise, Vignoble Domaine des Côtes d'Ardoise and Vignoble Clos Ste-Croix


New York Muscat

New York Muscat

This large, blue skinned grape was bred in Geneva, New York. It is intensely flavoured and extremely popular in Nova Scotia. The grapes are used in dry wines and Icewines. Bold and exotic, New York Muscat produces aromatic but dry full-bodied white wines with intense aromas of roses, grapefruit and exotic fruit such as lychee. has a labruscia like growth habit good hardiness and disease resistant mow yields but produces a nice wine.

Some top producers are Vignoble Domaine de la Source a Marguerite and Vignoble de l'Orpailleur


Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris (also known as pinot grigio ) is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera . Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name ( gris meaning "grey" in French) but the grape can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word pinot , which comes from the word meaning "pine cone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pine cone-shaped clusters. The wines produced from this grape also vary in colour from a deep golden yellow to copper and even a light shade of pink.

Vignoble du Domaine St-Jacques is a grower

it is also popular in British Columbia

Pinot noir ( French: [pino nwa?] ) is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera . The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the grape variety's tightly clustered dark purple pine-cone shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir
( French: [pino nwa?] ) is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera . The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the grape variety's tightly clustered dark purple pine-cone shaped bunches of fruit.

Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France . It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.

Quality Pinot noir has been grown in Ontario for some time in the Niagara Peninsula and especially the Niagara-on-the-Lake and Short Hills Bench wine regions, as well as in Prince Edward County and on the north shore of Lake Erie . It has also been grown recently in the Okanagan , Lower Mainland , and Vancouver Island wine regions of British Columbia , the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia and the Lanaudière and Brome-Missisquoi regions of Quebec

Vignoble Carone in 2009 launch the first ever Quebec-made Pinot Noir wine. Vignoble du Domaine St-Jacques is a grower.


Prairie Star

Prairie Star

was developed by Elmer Swenson and released in 2001. Hardy to -30° F, Prairie Star is fairly disease resistant, but it is susceptible to Anthracnose which is easily controllable. Reported as capable of making a neutral varietal wine in most years it is currently used to balance other white wines

Grown by Les Petits Cailloux and Côte de Vaudreuil Vineyard


is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines . Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked . It is usually included in the "top three" white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc . Riesling is a variety which is highly " terroir -expressive", meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine's place of origin.

Ontario has always been know for its Riesling and its use in Icewine. In Bc the grape is also popular and used in icewine.

producers of note: Domaine des Cotes d'Ardoise, Domaine Les Brome and Domaine St-Jacques


a hybrid bred by Elmer Swanson named after the Village of Sabrevious located south of Montreal. Grown in Quebec since2000. the berry is black, small to medium in size. Winter hardiness (to -35°C or -31°F).

Has the same parents as St. Croix, but hardier, and more vigorous. Disease resistant, heavy producer. It makes a more complex wine then St. Croix

Producers are Vignoble Les Blancs Coteaux, Le Vignoble Du Clos Baillie and Vignoble Domaine de la Source a Marguerite

Seyval Blanc

(or Seyve-Villard hybrid number 5276) is a hybrid wine grape variety used to make white wines. Its vines ripen early, are productive and are suited to fairly cool climates. Seyval Blanc is grown mainly in England the United States east coast (specifically the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, and Virginia ), as well as to a lesser extent in Canada . Seyval Blanc was created either by Bertille Seyve , or his son-in-law Villard, as a cross of Seibel 5656 and Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986), and was used to create the hybrid grape St. Pepin .

Seyval Blanc has a characteristic citrus element in the aroma and taste, as well as a minerality that may be compared to white Burgundy . It is often oaked and subjected to a stage of malolactic fermentation.

producers of note: Les Pervenches,Domaine des Cotes d'Ardoise, Le Vignoble Du Clos Baillie, Vignoble Clos Ste-Croix, Vignoble le Cep d'Argent and Domaine St-Jacques

St Croix

St Croix

This hybrid grape cultivar was produced in 1983 by Elmer Swenson, a pioneering grape breeder who introduced a number
of new cultivars that are hardy in the Upper Midwest. It was introduced by the University of Minnesota.

St. Croix vines are vigorous and produce medium sized, somewhat loose clusters of grapes. It has moderate to good
disease resistance, and is hardy to -28°F or better.

St. Croix grapes produce medium to full bodied, dry, deep red wines with low tannins, good fruity aromas, and have currant and other dried fruit flavor aspects. Production often employs oak barrel ageing to add even more complexity to the wine's bouquet and flavors.

A major varietal in Quebec

producers Halte Des Pèlerins, Les Petits Cailloux, Vignoble Clos St-Ignace,Vignoble Domaine de l'Ile Ronde and Le Vignoble Du Clos Baillie

St. Pepin

is a modern hybrid variety of wine grape , mostly grown in North America. It produces grapes suitable for making fruity white wines similar to Riesling or as a base for blended wines. The grapes also make a good seeded table grape for eating. It has the benefits of early ripening and when hardened properly in the fall it is winter hardy to at least -25 °F (-32 °C) . As such it best suited to growing in more northern climates.

St. Pepin was breed by Elmer Swenson circa 1970 and released in 1986. It is a hybrid of the male Seyval blanc crossed to a seedling of Minnesota 78 by Seibel 1000. Unlike most modern grapes it is a pistillate female and so needs to be planted next to male vines from a close sibling variety to achieve pollination .

producers include Côte de Vaudreuil Vineyard, Vignoble de la Riviere du Chene and Les Petits Cailloux

Vidal Blanc

Vidal Blanc
is an inter-specific hybrid variety of white wine grape , a cross of Ugni Blanc and Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986). It manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates while maintaining good acid levels.

Vidal Blanc was developed in the 1930s by French breeder Jean Louis Vidal ; his primary goal in developing the variety was to produce vines suitable for the production of Cognac in the Charente region of France . However, due to its winter hardiness this grape variety is cultivated most extensively in Canada and in the north-eastern United States . It is somewhat resistant to powdery mildew .

The wine produced from Vidal Blanc is fruity , with grapefruit and pineapple notes. Due to its high acidity and fruitiness it is particularly suited to sweeter, dessert wines . In particular, because of the tough outer skin of the fruit, it is well adapted for the production of icewine , especially in Ontario

In Canada's, quality wine-classification system, the Vintner's Quality Alliance (VQA), it is the only hybrid entitled to the highest category of quality. This is the Designated Viticultural Area (DVA) status. However, this honor is reserved for its Ice Wine incarnation only.

Top producers are Chapelle Ste. Agnès Vineyard and Vignoble Domaine des Cotes d'Ardoise



Created by Joseph Vandal and developed by Mario Cliche, a professor at the ITA St-Hyacinthe, Quebec The vineyard of St. Petronilla was the first to cultivate commercially. It has since been adopted by many Quebec vineyards. Its great hardiness allows it to withstand the cold down to - 35 ° C without protection

Also grown by Domaine St-Jacques, Vignoble Clos de la Montagne and Vignoble Clos St-Ignace

Ice Cider made with apples is a major product in Quebec. Good producers are Saint-Denis, Domaine Pinnacle, Domaine Félibre and Clos Saragnat. Ciders also play an important role in Quebec


Grape Varietal: British Columbia - Ontario - Nova Scotia -New Brunswick - New Foundland

Wineries of Canada

Home | About | Sitemap | Gallery | Contact Us || ©2013 Robert A Bell