With the holiday season swiftly approaching, sparkling wines will once again be a hot commodity on store shelves.
Due to supply chain issues, however, provincial liquor authorities have advised customers to shop early for their festive sparklers and to expect that some imported options may not be available.
With that in mind, researchers at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) suggest reaching for a local option this festive season.
“There are so many choices available from our wonderful wineries, so consider supporting Ontario wineries and businesses by purchasing Ontario sparkling wines,” said Belinda Kemp, CCOVI’s Senior Scientist in Oenology.
Kemp’s work in the wine industry has spanned three continents, and her laboratory at Brock’s CCOVI, which she has dubbed ‘The Bubble Lab,’ is recognized for its leading sparkling wine research and outreach work.
Kemp is also the founder of the Fizz Club, a national event where sparkling winemakers come together to share the latest in production and research developments. It was first held at Brock in 2013 and has since brought hundreds of sparkling winemakers together to learn from one another at Brock, as well as at networking events across Canada and overseas.
CCOVI Professional Affiliate Janet Dorozynski, who works for the Trade Commissioner Service to assist Canadian wine, beer and spirits companies with international business development, recently gave accolades to the Fizz Club’s role in the advancement of sparkling wine, both locally and across the country.
“I believe that the creation of the CCOVI Fizz Club has been a boon for Canada’s sparkling winemakers and am glad to see it operating on a national scale,” said Dorozynski. “Fizz Club has provided the structure and environment for formal and informal exchanges which, along with the winemaker study trips to sparkling wine regions, have no doubt led to the overall improvement of Canadian sparkling wine.”
Dorozynski, who has also been writing, judging and teaching about wine and the business of wine for more than two decades, recently authored a feature on Canadian sparkling wine (with a shoutout to Fizz Club) in Luxe magazine.
Canada’s wine growing regions, she said, have the ideal climate and growing conditions to produce sparkling wines with “that perfect combination of acidity and richness.”
“I’ve closely watched the growth of Canadian sparkling wine over the past two decades and have been impressed by both the quality and range coming from all parts of the country, from Traditional method and Charmat, along with increasing amounts of Pétillant Naturel, Methode Ancestral and Frizzante,” she said. “It is noteworthy that Canada makes sparkling wine from so many different grape varieties: from the traditional Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier, as well as Riesling, Pinot blanc, Chenin blanc, Gamay and even Cabernet franc, along with hybrids like L’Acadie Blanc and Frontenac that are well suited to the cooler regions of Nova Scotia and Quebec.”
As well as the wide variety of options already available, Dorozynski also expects to see a continued rise in the popularity of Canadian sparkling wine in the future.
“The category continues to generate interest among consumers and trade, and from what I can tell, has untapped potential in terms of growth and future sales, both in Canada and internationally,” she said.
There is lots in store from CCOVI and the ‘Bubble Lab,’ too.
Along with a portfolio of ongoing sparkling wine research, Kemp looks forward to resuming the Fizz Club once it is safe to do so, and to continue supporting the industry’s growing sparkling wine success overall.