There is more to Quebec City than history and charm in the wealth of vineyards just outside the city. The Quebec City Wine Road offers numerous opportunities for day trips from the city where you can see the surrounding countryside and farmlands and taste the exciting wines that are produced in this region. Grape vines grew wildly in this area when it was discovered by Samuel de Champlain in 1604 – so much so that he gave it the name of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.
The climate of Quebec is well-suited to growing grapes, with long hot summers and cold winters. As a result, the hardy French hybrid vines thrive in this climate. During the winter months they are protected with coverings of hay and dirt, which are then removed in the spring. The star wines produced in this region include fortified and blended wines, as well as ice wines and fruit wines. The vineyards are located north and south of the city and on Ile d’Orleans.
Ile d’Orleans Vineyards
Vignoble Sainte- Petronille
This winery was established in 1990 and offers breathtaking views over the St. Lawrence River and Montmorency Falls. The vineyard takes in 25 hectares of land, 5 of which are used for growing vines and another 5 are for vines under cultivation. There are 12,000 vines that include the white varieties of Vandal-Cliche, Eona and Vidal and red varieties of Ste-Croix, Sabrevois and Baco Noir.
The visitor’s center is located inside an old farm building where you can learn about the process of making wine from grapes. You can taste the wines produced at this vineyard in the wine-tasting room and then, if you wish, you can buy some of your favourites at the gift shop. Have a glass of wine on the terrace or bring your lunch with you and take advantage of the expansive picnic area on this site. Wander through the vines on your own at any time between May and December.
Isle de Bacchus
The wine tasting experience at Isle de Bacchus is one of a kind. The wine tasting room is in an ancient cookhouse beneath the owner’s home and appears somewhat like a cave. The main grapes grown here include Vandal, Sainte-Croix, Foch, Eona and Michurinetz and are used to produce unique blended wines. Le Saint Pierre is a signature wine having won many medals at wine competitions. You can also choose this location for your accommodations as there is a cozy four-room inn within the confines of the vineyard.
Vignoble Domaine de la Source a Marguerite
This vineyard is located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. The first vines were planted in 2002 and since then the vineyard has grown to include 5000 French hybrid vines. There are many award winning wines among the wide variety of products for sale at the gift shop, which is an old-fashioned boutique. There is an orchard on the site as well producing apples, pears and plums. Apple cider is one of the drinks produced at this winery in addition to such aperitifs as Bouquet d’Automne, which is a blend of black currant and maple syrup.
North of Quebec City
Vignoble Bourg Royal
Take a guided tour of the vineyard and taste the fine wines produced by Vignoble Bourg Royal located in the town of Charlesbourg. This was the first commercial vineyard in the Quebec City region, established in 1982. Here you will find themed events and celebrations. You can book a room for your wedding or special event and choose the fine wines you want to serve from the extensive list. There are both red and white wines available, such as the Quebec 400 – a dry red wine, and Le Dame Blanche de Bourg Royal, a dry white wine. L’Ame de Dracula is one of the many types of ice wine, while Larme Rose is an example of the rose wines.
Domaine L’Ange Gardien
Located in the hills of L’Ange Gardien on what was the original road through New France and only a few minutes outside Quebec City, this vineyard offers an astounding view of the city and Ile d’Orleans. You will taste the difference in the wines produced here, such as L’Angleoise, a light yellow wine with a dry and fruity taste or L’Anglerose, a pink wine with a taste of peaches. This winery prides itself on the wide variety of wines that pair well with chocolate.
Vignoble Moulin de Petit Pre
When you visit this vineyard, you not only have a chance to taste the fine products, but you can also tour the oldest flour mill in North America, for which the winery is named. At the gift store, you can purchase the wines you want to take back home with you as well as milled flour and backed goods. Booth white and red wines are produced here, but there are also two liqueurs and a selection of vinegars made on the site.
Just across the river from Ile d’Orleans, you will find the vineyards of Domaine Royarnois. This vineyard was built on the site of a former monastery and maintains 15,000 vines. Some of the award winning wines that you can taste on your visit include the German style Le Vin du Petit Cap and the semi-dry rose wine, Le Roselin.
In addition to tasting the wines, you can participate in a wine and cheese party which shows you how to pair wines with different cheeses. Have picnic on the terrace with your plate of cheeses and pates as well as a bottle of your favourite wine.
South of Quebec City
Vignoble de Nordet
With the free wine tastings offered at the Vignoble de Nordet you do have to make sure you have a designated driver for your visit to this winery located on the scenic shore of the Etchemin River. You do need to make a reservation for this event, which includes pairings of wine with various types of cheese. The old-fashioned farm house on the site is the perfect photo opportunity.
This vineyard has won many awards for its wines, such as the Solstice d’Hiver, which rivals Sauternes, and Bise du Pres, which is a white port wine. You can also drop into the Cider House to taste the various types of regular and ice ciders.
Vignoble la Cache a Maxime
With its on-site restaurant offering traditional cuisine, wine tastings and fruit and cheese pairings, you can spend a full day at the Vignoble La Cache a Maxime. Visit here on Sunday and enjoy the delicious Sunday brunch for a trip outside the city limits. From June to September you can take in a Friday evening dinner theatre. The vines grown are mainly Foch, Ste-Croix, and Vandal-Cliche, which produce white, red and rose wines.