The short story of fine wines!Melanie Gore2022-04-01T11:09:33-04:00
QUEBEC VITICULTURE – DEEP ROOTS AND A LONG HISTORY
The story of Quebec viticulture goes all the way back to the first settlers’ experiments in winemaking. When Jacques Cartier first sailed up the St. Lawrence River, he discovered wild vines growing on Île d’Orléans, which he baptized “Île de Bacchus.” Later, Samuel de Champlain tried to cultivate Vitis vinifera (grape varieties found in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, for example), without success.
This era saw the rise of Quebec viticulture, inspired by the success of wineries in the Niagara Peninsula, which used hybrid grape varieties adapted to cold climates. But meager success forced many Quebec winemakers to give up.
The Quiet Revolution changed the consumption habits of Quebecers, who started to enjoy wine on a more regular basis. In fact, Quebecers went from drinking 2 litres a year to 10 in just 30 years!
Creation of the Commission de contrôle des permis d’alcool and the SAQ (formerly known as the Régie des Alcools du Québec).
Viticulture started up again in Quebec, and artisanal wine production began to emerge. In the following decade, 75 wineries were set up across the province.
Creation of the Quebec Winegrowers Association (QWA) – renamed the Wine Council of Quebec (Conseil des vins du Québec, CVQ) in 2018. Some Quebec winemakers began to sell their wine at the SAQ and in public markets in the province.
As of July 5, 1996, restaurants were allowed to buy directly from local winemakers. The first permits to sell artisanal wine were issued in Quebec, authorizing the sale of wines made from grapes grown in the province on vineyards that have at least 5,000 vines.
The QWA highlighted the reputation and quality of its wines via the “Québec Certified Wines” label.
In an effort to take our quality advocacy efforts to the next level, we submitted an application for the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) designation for “Quebec Wine” with the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV).
The Government of Quebec officially recognized the PGI “Quebec Wine” status. Accordingly, PGI-labelled products had to adhere to strict specifications and ensure supply chain traceability from the vine to the bottle. The 2018 vintage became the first product with this designation.