Wine FAQ's

Thanks for the questions!

What are varietals?
- Varietals are grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, etc.

If the juice from almost all grapes is clear, how does red wine get its color? - Red wine is made only from red grapes where the juice has remained in contact with the red skins to extract color, flavour and tannin before fermentation.

Are white wines made from white grapes?
 - White wine can be made with white, black, or other coloured grapes.  Winemakers minimize contact between the skins and the clear juice before fermentation to keep the wine "white".

How is Rosé wine made? - The most common way is for the skins and juice of red grapes remain in contact with eachother until the winemaker decides on how pink he/she wants the wine.  Less commonly, a white and a red wine can also be blended together to produce a rosé.

Why do people swirl wine in their glasses? - Swirling releases the aromatics of the wine for you to enjoy and can tell you about the wine you are about to taste.

What does it mean when a wine is labeled  as dry? - In a dry wine, no sweetness is detected.

What is VQA? - VQA stands for Vintner's Quality Alliance and is Canada's symbol of its regulatory system, like France's AOC, Italy's DOC, and the United States' AVA to name a few. These systems assure consumers of quality production, content, varietal percentage, appellation, and vintage.  The standard is government sanctioned and is regulated by VQA Ontario and by the British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI).

What is BC VQA? - The BC VQA on a label guarantees that you are purchasing a 100% BC Wine that has also been tasted by a qualified panel for quality characteristics before being able to use the symbol.  

Why are some wines labeled "Product of British Columbia" and not VQA? - Wines without the BC VQA symbol may be labelled "Product of British Columbia" if they are made from BC grapes, but have not undergone the BC VQA certification process.

Why are some wines labeled "Bottled in British Columbia" or "Cellared in Canada"? - These are wines that have been blended and bottled in BC by wineries that may also produce BC VQA wines, but these wines are blended with imported wines.

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