Did you know Quebec has Wineries?
What do we do when it rains on vacation? We are looking for a job in the dry. That's exactly what we do on our journey through southern Quebec. We're traveling in the Cantons de l'Est, a region about an hour's drive south of Montreal. There we want to find out what makes this part of Quebec unique. The village Knowlton has charmed us. After our visit to the Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm However, it rains non-stop for an afternoon. So no weather to stroll through the villages, look out for views or go boating on one of the lakes in the area. The Best Quebec Wineries in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, on the other hand, are a good alternative. We explore part of the Wine Route , the Wine Route in Quebec.
They grow wine in Quebec
There is something we want to learn about on our journey and that is the specialties of the region. Quebec is famous for its cuisine. The Eastern Townships south of Montreal are no exception. However, when we hear that there are wineries in Quebec, we can hardly believe our ears. "In the winters in this area?" I ask our host. He laughs and says: "Try it once! You will be amazed!"
Quebec Wineries surprise us
This makes us curious and we drive to the Dunham area. Along the way, we keep seeing roadside signs pointing to Quebec Wineries. Soon we pass the first wineries in Quebec. In fact, wine is grown here, and not a little at that. As we leave Dunham behind, the vineyards get bigger and bigger. Finally, the vines stretch all the way to the horizon. We stop at a spot where several Quebec Wineries are concentrated. The vineyards make us curious. Therefore, we want to learn more about winegrowing in these latitudes.
Our first stop is at Vignoble de l'Orpailleur, which means “the gold digger's winery”. A name that fits. This is what Maryse Blanchard tells us, who guides us through the winery. “Two of the owners of this winery came here from France about twenty years ago and were the first to try to grow wine. The local farmers thought they were crazy. But the two came from winemaking families and tested vines, until their wines won over wine connoisseurs.”
Best Quebec Wineries grow wines that are hardy
Looking at the wet and cold weather outside the windows of the winery, I ask Maryse: "But how do they manage that the vines survive the freezing temperatures in winter?" A problem is only when the first buds sprout in spring and there are cold periods again. Then the owners spend whole nights in the vineyard to watch the vines. "If it gets too cold, they drag charcoal kettles into the vineyard. Do you see the fan in the field over there? They are placed underneath and the charcoal is lit. The fan spreads the rising heat with its whisk over the entire field and thus prevents the delicate buds from being damaged by the spring frosts.” So that's what the fans in the wine fields are for, I think to myself.
Quebec Wineries also make Champagne
Maryse also shows us how they make champagne in the Vignoble de l'Orpailleur. This is easily recognized by the bottle racks, that stand in the cold stores, where the bottles are placed head down. They must be regularly turned by hand until the wine is fermented. When the champagne is ready, they freeze the bottleneck and remove the frozen end containing residual waste. Then the bottles are filled up and closed.
After our tour we get to taste some of the wines and I'm surprised at how light they taste. I'm even more surprised that this winery alone has twelve types of wine on offer.
Vignoble Alfonso Gagliano - one of the Quebec Wineries
At the neighbor's, in the Vignoble Alfonso Gagliano, the owner personally welcomes us. He takes us through the winery. Alfonso Gagliano tells us that he only started growing grapes a few years ago. Until then, he had worked for many years as Canada's ambassador to Scandinavia. In his free time, he used to travel to the homeland of his ancestors, Italy. He learned to appreciate the wines of Italy. Finally, after his retirement, he bought the neighboring property.
Despite the rain, he takes us out into the vineyard for a moment and shows us the vines he grows here. What initially looks to us like vines, that are still very low, turns out to be the oldest part of his vineyard. “These are the vines that can withstand the winter here. We cover them with soil during the winter months to protect them from the cold, and in the spring, when the frosts are over. we remove the soil and let them grow normally.”
Frontenac grapes from Quebec Wineries
Next to it is a field with taller vines and I ask Alfonso why they look different. “These are Frontenac grapes. They are among the varieties bred specifically for these regions. The University of Minnesota has worked intensively on this and successfully developed hardy vines.” We were quickly won over by the region's wines when Alfonso let us taste some.
Cider is also available in some Quebec Vineyards along the Quebec Wine Route
Since it's still raining, we visit the neighbor's vinotheque across the street. Union Libre specializes in the production of cider and must. In contrast to the apple varieties that are used in apple cider production of Sea Cider on Vancouver Island, Macintosh apples are mainly used for cider production here. These taste sweet and fruity. We notice that immediately in the taste of the cider. The musts from the British Columbia island cider farm are tart and dry. The cider from Quebec is more full-bodied and runs down the throat like honey.
For the production of "Fire Cider", the flagship product in Union Libre's product range, the apple juice is first heated before it is fermented. "That creates the taste," says Anouschka Bouchard, one of the owners of Union Libre. A few years ago, together with her boyfriend, she decided to leave life in the big city behind. Instead, she now leads a quieter and more fulfilling life in the country.
This is how a rainy day in southern Quebec will be remembered. Thanks to the wine growers and cider producers around Dunham and their produce.
What you need to hike through the vineyards
Montreal has an international airport with direct flights from Germany and Europe. Book your flight here*.
Car Hire Montreal Canada :
Accommodations in the Cantons de l'Est* You can book through our partner booking.com.
Do you like to travel by motorhome?
Do you already know:
- Eating out in Quebec, Canada
- Discover Montreal attractions for foodies
- Packing list winter vacation
- Quebec landmarks
- Vancouver Island activities for connoisseurs
- Manhattan - the heart of New York City
- America's most popular coastline
- Wine tasting in Burgenland - four times different
- Grüner Veltliner and Riesling in Kamptal
- Hotel Althof Retz - where wine plays the leading role
- Which rain jacket is the best?
- Chakalaka recipe from South Africa
Tips on wine and drinks can be found at Wine tourism - wine regions.
Source: On-site research. The trip was supported by Tourism Quebec. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline