Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – Single Whites

Announcing Canada’s Top Single Whites

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Category Overview by John Szabo MS

The “other” white grape varieties category of Canadian wine is genuinely exciting for a number of reasons. Topping that list of reasons is value. Unlike its counterpart category of other single reds, where novelty and small production seem to inflate the price of wines regardless of quality, the majority of these exotic whites are relatively inexpensive given the high quality on offer. Why is this? Are consumers just willing to pay more for red wine than white?  Are red wines automatically perceived as more serious and thus higher quality?  Are white wines that much less costly to produce, and can therefore be sold at a lower price while still generating profit?

There’s likely a little truth in all of these musings. And I’ll add one other explanation: Canada is also better able to produce consistently high quality white wines than reds. It’s a climatic reality coast to coast in all but a handful privileged vineyard pockets. But whatever the underlying reasons, there are some terrific wines on this list of Canada’s Best.

Another reason for excitement is that the category is fantastically broad and highlights a tremendous range of terroirs across Canada. From the coolest to the warmest regions in the country, and a host of soils and slopes, this was a very fun category to taste through.

Canadian winegrowers have marshalled a long list of varieties in pursuit of that magical site-variety combination – grapes at home in places as diverse as the Southern Rhône and Northwestern Spain, Alsace and Austria, the Langhe Hills and the Loire Valley. And being un-freighted by obvious stereotypes, they’re free to highlight their particular patch of the Canadian winelands in thoughtful and expressive, original fashion.

Rhône varieties viognier, marsanne and roussane do exceptionally well in the warmer parts of the southern Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Gewürztraminer shines in cooler areas like Kelowna, the Gulf Islands, the Niagara Escarpment and even Prince Edward County. Albariño, arneis, grüner veltliner, chenin blanc and other delightful oddities have each found a new home somewhere in the country, often equal if not superior to the original paradigms.

We’re delighted to be able to recommend so many delicious and well-priced wines in this category – there’s truly a wine for all tastes. And all I can say to winemakers is keep having fun!

Return to the complete Guide to Canada’s Best Wines.

The top 10 Single Whites in Canada:

Laughing Stock Viognier 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($25)

Thirty Bench Small Lot Gewurztraminer 2019, VQA Beamsville Bench  ($30)

Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc Clone 220 2019, Okanagan Valley, BC VQA  ($40)

Garry Oaks Gewurztraminer 2018, Salt Spring Island  ($28)

Baillie Grohman Gewurztraminer 2019, Kootenays BC VQA  ($21)

Moon Curser Arneis 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA ($22.99)

Black Hills Roussanne 2018, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($34)

Culmina Unicus 2019, VQA, Okanagan Valley  ($27)

Stratus Weather Report Viognier 2018, Niagara On The Lake VQA  ($23)

Pentâge Winery Gewurztraminer 2017, Skaha Bench  ($20)

Church & State Roussanne 2018, VQA Oliver, South Okanagan  ($35)

More top Single Whites:


Church & State Marsanne 2018, VQA Okanagan Valley   ($35)
Wild Goose Geuwrztraminer 2018, Okanagan Valley  ($20)
Moon Curser Viognier 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($22)


Strewn Distinctive Small Lot Gewurztraminer Divergent 2018, VQA Niagara On The Lake  ($22)
Redstone Gewurztraminer 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula  ($22)
Terravista Viognier 2019, VQA, Okanagan Valley  ($23)

Wild Goose Morio Muscat & Friends 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($23)
Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($25)
Marynissen Heritage Collection Gewurztraminer 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench  ($26)
Church & State Viognier 2018, BC VQA  ($28)


Stag’s Hollow Albarino Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($28)
Rosehall Run Gewurztraminer Nedelko Vineyard 2019, VQA Twenty Mile Bench  ($28)
Trius Showcase Outlier Gewurztraminer 2018, VQA Four Mile Creek  ($30)


Nk’mip Cellars Winemakers Pinot Blanc 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($18)
Inniskillin Okanagan Discovery Series Chenin Blanc 2019, Okanagan Valley VQA  ($22)
50th Parallel Gewurztraminer 2019, VQA, Okanagan Valley  ($24)


Terravista Figaro 2019, VQA, Okanagan Valley  ($26)
Inniskillin Reserve Viognier 2019, VQA, Niagara Peninsula  ($27)
Joie Farm “En Famille” Reserve Gewurztraminer 2018, Okanagan Valley  ($28)


Stratus Gewurztraminer Clone 47 2018, Niagara Peninsula VQA  ($29)
Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Viognier 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley  ($29)

Unsworth Wild Island Auxerrois 2019, BC VQA Cowichan Valley ($26)
Road 13 Viognier 2018, Similkameen Valley BC VQA  ($30)

indicates the wine received a 5 star value rating from two or more writers.

Return to the complete Guide to Canada’s Best Wines.