The Wines of Canada (June 24, 2005)
by Dean Tudor
The Wines of Canada (Mitchell Beazley, 2005; distr. McArthur, 307
pages, ISBN 1-84533-007-2, $39.95 hard covers) is by John Schreiner, a
well-known Canadian wine writer with a half-dozen or so Canadian wine
books under his belt. A few years back he wrote the definitive book on
icewine, and The World of Canadian Wine. In fact, he had just revised
his book on B.C. wines for Whitecap (my wine Book of the Month for
April 2005), so many of his comments on B.C. wines have unfortunately
been duplicated here.
The book is in a (by now) standard format for the
Mitchell Beazley wine library: some sketch maps, vintage charts,
production figures, no illustrations, a history of the industry, and information on the
different grape varieties as well as the terroirs and wine styles. It includes a division
of wineries into top level and all the rest (giving for each some
directory information such as names, addresses, websites, description
of the winery, and ome biographical data about the owner and/or
winemaker). There are also star ratings on wine quality but no tasting
Schreiner, like the other authors, contributes some opinions
about current trends. He also adds a chapter on Vincor and its role on
the international wine scene. They currently have significant
investments and alliances, such as the one with Boisset of Burgundy in
Ontario and with Taillan of Bordeaux in B.C.
The section on icewines is unique. Schreiner also covers fruit wines,
ciders, and meads, for winemaking in Canada is still a small industry.
There are only about 135 licenses in B.C., slightly fewer in Ontario,
and only a handful in the other provinces (mostly fruit and cideries).
Since my detailed knowledge of Canadian wines is greater than my
detailed knowledge of the wines of other countries, I came across some
errors of fact (e.g., Salmon River is not a winery; it is just a label), some
errors related to elapsed time (e.g., Alliance is no longer being made,
St. Jacob's Winery and Cidery no longer exists, and GrapeTree Wines has
ceased production yet still has a website unchanged since 2002), and
some typos (e.g., "remaned" for "renamed", "diamon" for "diamond").
Audience and level of use: Lovers of Canadian wines, wine schools, wine
Some interesting or unusual facts: About Thirty Bench wines, he says,
"This is a winery where three heads are better than one." But now the
winery has been sold, and the three heads are no more. In fact, the Canadian wine industry has had severe changes over the past
year, and it is impossible to keep up to date everywhere.
What I don't like about this book: It provides no tasting notes, just
overall quality assessments.
What I do like about this book: Fruit wineries and cideries are
included, and there are internal page references.
Quality/Price Ratio: 94.