Canada has a very good maturing wine industry. Several regions of Canada produce good wines, Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, PEI. Prior to 1990 Canadian wines were in their infancy and production was not as professional as it could be.
So while we were in PEI I discovered they have their own wine production. I made a point of sampling the white and red wine. The company is Matos Winery.
There production in PEI is as follows; In the summer of 2007, 16,000 Gamay Noir and Chardonnay grapevines were imported from France and planted on 10 hillside acres. In the spring of 2008, the Matos family sold their wine business in Ontario and moved to PEI. Most of 2008 was spent on tending the young vines – the size and shape of the vine is the result of the grape variety and the climate, but the way vines are pruned, trellised and spaced is also critical. The vines are pruned based on trellising and are trained on fruit and catch wires. The summer months were spent installing the thousands feet of wire necessary to properly train the vines.
A solar-powered weather station was also installed with wireless telemetry to relay data – benefiting water consumption and irrigation needs. In PEI solar power is big and so are electric cars with rechargeable stations everywhere for free. So am not surprised by Matos going the solar power route.
Construction of the winery began in the spring of 2010. The first harvest occured at the end of October and parts of the building had been completed in preperation for that harvest. This would house the destemming equipment, membrane press, peristaltic pump and fermentaion tanks. Construction in the winery was completed in early 2011 for the grand opening. Matos has won quite a few awards for its wines and I can see why, good quality wines.
We tried the Chardonnay and the Gamay Noir, very good wines indeed. Did not have an opportunity to try the Rosé but it did win a Gold medal at an international competition. Only goes to prove that good wines do not need to come from fancy wineries in Europe and as my late father use to say do not judge a wine by the price tag or the label, taste it first.
The other Winery we encountered was Rossignol Estate Winery which started back in 1994. They produce wine and red wines and also fruit wines. We tried the L’Acadie bland a dry white wine, very nice indeed with seafood.
They too have won many awards for their wine production. There is on PEI a culture of liquor making which goes back centuries, from the Rum brought up from the Antilles to liquor made from various fruits and other spirits. Woman on the farm would make Red Currant wine and Raspberry, Strawberry or Blueberry cordial for the kids among other things to offer visitors, just a tipple you understand since many were Presbyterians.
There is also one other discovery we made during our week on the Island and this was a chocolate maker. Now I am not very fond of chocolates at the best of time, I really do not care for desserts with chocolates or the whole chocolate craze. I simply do not understand where this craze comes from and what the appeal is. Having said this, we did visit Victoria-by-the-Sea and in a house in this small hamlet is a company called Island Chocolates, we bought a small box of their high quality, high cocoa content hand made chocolates. They were delicious and that is saying a lot coming from me.