Not much in our world goes unregulated. Not much at all. Though, this CAN by a good thing when it comes to wine. If you look at many wine regions around the globe, particularly those like France, Italy or Spain, you’ll find a history of wine laws and governing practices that are so complex your head will spin! In France these are known as the appellation d’origine contrôlée (better known simply as AOC). It would take all the space my blog has to offer to explain AOC rules and regulations in a simplified way, much less all the the other countries with wine regulations. It would also take forever because each region or appellation tends to have their own approach.
In Canada we have a simplified quality assurance for our wines from British Columbia and Ontario. I’m going to simplify the simple even further for this post. The Vitners Quality Alliance started in Ontario in the late ’80′s and in BC in the early 90′s (a difference of only a few years when you look at the dates.) You’ll likely recognize Canadian standards by the VQA stamp that are on many of our bottles. It’s the same symbol, no matter the province, BC or Ontario VQA standards are your guarantee that if the bottle boasts VQA on it’s label, you can be sure the grapes are 100% from the region stated on the bottle. This might be Ontario, or BC, or smaller geographic regions within these provinces, such as the Okanagan Valley or the Niagara Peninsula. It’s nice knowing that your wine is local to one province, and moreover, to one specific area within that province. Drinking wines in this way can help you better wrap your head around that topic of terroir I was telling you about a few weeks back. Remember somewhere-ness?