The Québec Winegrowers Association brings together 65 diverse wineries and a passion to grow and promote an industry that continues to refine itself, vintage after vintage.
The Québec Winegrowers Association (QWA) was formed on October 21, 1987, thanks to the initiative of a handful of winemakers who wanted to pool their resources to start a winemaking industry in Québec. Today it brings together 70 diverse wineries and a passion to grow and promote an industry that continues to refine itself, vintage after vintage. Our wines are rooted in the soil and the landscape of Québec, and each vine bears the fruit of authentic, human and passionate experience.
You can find the Association’s wineries in Quebec’s five winemaking regions: the Eastern Townships, Montérégie, Ouest-du-Québec, Cenre-du-Québec, and Est-de-Québec. There are over 45 distinct grape varieties cultivated across the province.
Elevating Québec viticulture to the highest possible summits of quality, refining winemaker’s expertise to extract the best from our land, and bottling authentic and innovative wines is the mission that association members carry out with passion and pride. Their small-scale production means Québec winegrowers bottle every vintage with our own brand of charm and character.
Quebec viticulture has deep roots that go back to the first settlers’ experiments in winemaking. When Jacques Cartier first sailed up the St. Lawrence, he discovered wild vines growing on Ile d’Orléans, which he baptized “Ile de Bacchus.” Later, Samuel de Champlain tried to cultivate Vitis vinifera (grape varieties found in Chardonnay and Cabarnet-Sauvignon, for example), without success.
Rise of Québec viticulture, inspired by the success of wineries in the Niagara peninsula, which uses hybrid grape varieties adapted to cold climates. The meager success forced many Québec winemakers to give up.
The Quiet Revolution changed the consumption habits of Québecers, who started to enjoy wine on a more regular basis. In fact, Québecers went from drinking two to litres to 10 in just 30 years!
Creation of the SAQ’s Commission de contrôle des permis d’alcool, the predecessor to today’s Régie des Alcools du Québec.
Foundation of Quebec’s commercial viticulture, started by five pioneers who earned the right to sell their wares. Our Québec winters made wine culture difficult, but the real challenge for these trailblazers was getting their wines into the SAQ, who hold a monopoly in alcoholic beverages.
At the same time, the first permits to sell artisanal wine are issued in Québec, authorizing the sale of wines made from grapes grown in the province on vineyards that have at least 5,000 vines.
Viticulture starts up again in Québec and artisanal wine production begins to emerge. During this time, 75 wineries set up across the province. On July 5, 1996, restaurants are allowed to buy directly from local winemakers.
Creation of the Québec Winegrowers Association. Some Québec winemakers begin to sell their wine at the SAQ and certain public markets in the province.
The QWA highlights the reputation and quality of their wines via the “Québec Certified Wines” label. Learn more about the certification here.