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Photo Adventure : Chateau des Charmes Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Photo Adventure : Chateau des Charmes Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Although I’ve never been much of a wine drinker, I like to consider myself an agri-enthusiast. That might not be a real word, but I enthusiastically find agriculture to be interesting so it seems an appropriate moniker. When I saw “Tour a Vineyard” listed on my G Adventures’ Quebec and Ontario Explorer tour, I saw it not as a chance to drink wine but as a chance to check out how grapes are grown. I also found that the science behind creating wines is fascinating!

Chateau des Charmes was particularly interesting. The vineyard and winery are owned by the Bosc family. They are now in the sixth generation of winemakers, and arrived in the area from French Algeria. Part of the Pieds-Noirs, or French descendants living in Algeria, the family and others like them were no longer welcome after Algerian War for Independence successfully severed the country’s ties from France. Paul Bosc and his family came to Ontario in the 1960’s, learned the weather and the land, and founded Chateau des Charmes in 1978.

One of the first vineyards in the area to move beyond growing concord grapes, the Bosc family seemed to be interested in experimentation outside the traditional agricultural thoughts of the time. Through science, research, experience, and a little bit of trial and error, the vineyard is now growing an impressive amount of grape varieties and creating prize winning wines.

Chateau des Charmes Ontario Niagara-on-the-Lake

The winery is in what could be described as a castle. An absolutely beautiful structure.

Chateau des Charmes Niagara on the Lake

Not content that they have yet found the best growing methods, trials continue today with rows of grapes being grown differently than their neighbors.

Niagara on the Lake Chateau des Charmes vineyard

Different types of grapes grow up to be different varieties of wine.

Rose bush in Niagara on the Lake Chateau des Charmes

Now merely decoration, the fragile rose bush used to be an important tool. If there was a problem with the growing conditions, the roses would show issue before the grapes giving the grower a chance to fix it prior to their crop lying in ruin.

Winery in Ontario Chateau des Charmes

The science between creating a vintage was fascinating. The winemakers often have advanced degrees.

Chateau des Charmes wine casks in Niagara on the Lake

The wines age in these wine casks stacked ceiling high.

Chateau des Charmes wine tasting

After the tour was the wine tasting!

Chateau des Charmes – website

Where is Chateau des Charmes?

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Disclaimer – During this scientific expedition, I was a guest of G Adventures. All observations and spelling errors are my own.

  1. Johanna 14 November, 2013

    I like the term agri-enthusiast! I’m afraid I’m more of a wine drinker, and I’d love to do some tasting in France. This looks a great place to start 🙂 In Western Australia we produce some great new world wines.

    • Amy Moore 21 November, 2013

      I’d love to travel to Australia, but I’m afraid there would be a ton of things on my list before I ever got around to checking out the wine production 🙂

  2. Marisol@TravelingSolemates 14 November, 2013

    Hi Amy, I love winery and vineyard tours and, of course, the tasting at the end! Tthanks for the virtual tour of Chateau des Charmes. Such a beautiful winery. I haven’t been to a winery tour in Canada. I keep this one in mind next time I’m in Ontario area. Lovely photos as usual.

    • Amy Moore 21 November, 2013

      Thanks, Marisol! I was really impressed by it. I’d definitely like to see some other brewing setups in the future.

  3. Marcia 14 November, 2013

    I remember seeing flowers at the first vineyard I visited years ago. Thanks for explaining why they’re there.
    I love how green and beautiful it looks here.

    • Amy Moore 21 November, 2013

      There is better technology to know exactly what is happening with the grapes now, but I love that they keep them around.

  4. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel 15 November, 2013

    Lovely photos… here in Australia the wine districts always seem so peaceful to me, and they attract all sorts of excellent restaurants… and I never spend enough time there !

  5. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 17 November, 2013

    I am not much of a wine drinker, and my hubby doesn’t drink at all. However, this looks like would be interesting just to find out about all the science behind running a successful vineyard. I really like that part about the roses being a bit of a canary in a coal mine.

    • Amy Moore 21 November, 2013

      I should hit some of the vineyards in Texas.

  6. eileen at FamiliesGo! 18 November, 2013

    I’m all for taking kids to wineries. You get to learn science and nature (if they let you near the vines) and get a wider view of what different people do for a living. Oh, and there’s wine. 😉

    • Amy Moore 21 November, 2013

      They told me that they served the kids grape juice. Cute 🙂