Château des Charmes

 

Château des Charmes – literally translated to ‘House of Charms’ or loosely into ‘Charming House’, is a winery owned and operated by the Bosc family.  It was originally established by Paul Bosc, who had the foresight of planting vines solely belonging to the Vitis Vinifera family (European vines) as opposed to the endemic Vitis labrusca or Vitis riparia, thought to have a peculiar taste. By doing so, in 1978 he established the first commercial Canadian winery growing 100% Vitis Vinifera and can thus be considered the forefather of today’s booming Canadian wine industry. For this, he was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada, by which coincidently becoming the 1st winemaker to receive such an award.
Chateau des Charmes

 

The move towards growing Vitis Vinifera was the first step on a path leading to the success that Ontario viticulture is.

 

Upon entering the Chateau, you will find yourself in a foyer from which you can enter three rooms – two being the Boutique and one with a large window overlooking the vineyard and serving as a tasting room.  The winery offers tours which commence at 11 am and 3 pm in English and at noon in French, so while waiting, one can browse the boutique or sample the wines.

 

 

If opting for the tour, one will learn about Bosc and Chateau’s history while walking to the edge of the vineyard; walk-through the fermenting and cellar rooms accompanied with interesting oenology trivia such as why the winery follows sustainable practices and why the use of cork vs. screw cap enclosures is prefered (lower carbon footprint); and concluding with a tasting of three wines that the sommelier picks every week.  It lasts little over 45 minutes (depending on interactivity of patrons) and is quite informative and well worth the time and the $5 admission fee.

 

 

Château des Charmes only uses grapes sourced from their four vineyards (described below) and is capable of producing roughly 70,000 cases of wine a year made up of 50% white, 40% red and 10% Icewine.  The diversity of grape varieties grown on the premises include: Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer,  Chardonnay, Riesling, Savagnin, Aligoté and Vidal – the white varieties; and Gamay  Noir, Gamay Noir-Droit, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot – the red varieties. Most of these produce single varietal wines, but a few blends are made – like Equuleus, the flagship red only made in the years of excellent harvest.

 

During the harvest, the constellation Equuleus (after which the wine was named)
can be seen rising just above the horizon together with its relative Pegasus

 

Unique trivia:
Most connoisseurs know that Gamay Noir is the grape behind Beaujolais wines from French region bearing the same name, less known is that Gamay Noir – Droit clone (meaning ‘straight’ or ‘upright’) was discovered by chance right here in Château des Charmes by Paul Bosc on his daily rounds.  It ripens 10 days later and has more sugar than its parent and hence produces more intense wines.

 

Tastings and Tours – check here for up-to-date details.
– The winery offers a tasting flight of 4 wines for $10 (includes $5 credit towards wine purchase).
– Public tours run everyday at 1 pm and 3 pm in English and at 12 pm in French. They cost $10 and last about 45 minutes (includes $5 credit towards wine purchase).

 

Facilities – check here for up-to-date details.
– Château des Charmes provides amenities for hosting a weddings, family celebrations or corporate events.

 

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For recommended wines that can be purchased at the winery, see http://grapeselections.com/grapeselections/wines-from-wineries/

 

For other wineries in the St. David’s Bench Appellation
and the rest of Niagara Peninsula see
http://grapeselections.com/wineries-of-niagara-peninsula/

 

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Location and growing characteristics:
Château des Charmes is situated in the Niagara region and consists of four vineyards totalling 280 acres. These are the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard and St. David’s Bench Vineyard that are situated in the sub-appellation of St. David’s Bench (named after the vineyard) and produce primarily the high-end wines, whereas Creek Road Vineyard and Seven & Seven Vineyard are located in the ‘Four Mile Creek’ appellation and produce mainly high quality table wines.
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St. David’s Bench has these characteristics important for wine growth: 210 days/year that are frost-free (above average); 1423 growing degree days (above average); precipitation of 543 mm/year (below average); and the soil is composed of Lacustrine silty clay or loam that contributes towards the wine’s minerality composition.
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Four Mile Creek appellation has 197 days/year that are frost-free (below average); 1425 growing degree days (above average), precipitation of 541 mm/year (below average); and the soil is composed of Clay loam till with Lacustrine silty clay
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Note: “Above or below average” refers to values that are normal for the Niagara Peninsula; information mentioned here as well as the Appellations map was obtained from http://vqaontario.ca and is used with permission

 

 

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1025 York Road
St Davis, ON
(905) 262-4219
http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/

 


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