Château des Charmes is nestled into the St. David’s Bench in the Niagara region and first planted vines in 1978. Their vitis vinifera vines , which conventional wisdom dictated could not survive in Canada, were hand-picked by wine industry pioneer and Member of the Order of Canada recipient, Paul Bosc Sr.
This region is largely lakeshore plains with a bedrock of limestone. It enjoys loads of sunshine and low wind. The Château des Charmes vineyard takes advantage of this area’s attributes, and paired with their now 30+ year old vineyard, produces sustainable wines with Winemaker and Director of Oenology, Amélie Boury at the helm.
Amélie holds an MSc. in Biotechnology from Institut Sup’Biotech de Paris. She graduated from the University of Montpellier, France with an MSc. in Viticulture & Oenology; the prestigious ‘Diplome National d’Oenologue’. Having made wine in The Alsace, she moved to Canada in 2011.
1) What appealed to you most about having a career in winemaking?
There is no recipe for winemaking. It is an ongoing process that requires passion and dedication. The dedication brings knowledge and the passion keeps you going. Each vintage is a different “baby” and it is the winemaker’s job to elevate it to its best. The challenge is to know your grapes and to be able to continually adapt to the elements to create the best vintage. That challenge is my motivation.
2) How were you introduced to Niagara and why did you choose to currently base yourself in this region?
I was first introduced to Canada when I finished my engineering degree at the Wine Research Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I returned to France after that experience and was then recruited by Château des Charmes to return to the Niagara Region – in retrospect it was perfect timing and a great opportunity. Alsace where I worked before and Niagara have similar climates and both are known for their Rieslings. With Château des Charmes, I could have brought together my research and development skills to make wine. All of the passion, challenges, and love made the rest.
3) Canadian wine is often the underdog, over looked in favour of wines from old world regions. How do you think we can elevate our status internationally?
I think we have to believe in our potential. We have it all: a cool climate, different regions, appellations, sub appellations excellent Terroir, and some of the best winemakers in the world. We make great wines in Ontario that we should all be very proud of. We need to keep working hard making wine and promoting what we do best!
4) What is the most exciting Canadian wine you’ve tasted lately, and why?
Honestly with harvest, I have enjoyed much more beers than wine lately. With couple craft breweries in Niagara, there is always something to my taste!
5) What Château des Charmes wine are you most proud of ?
Our Gamay Estate. It is my favorite varietal to drink and to work with. French Beaujolais has a special place in my heart and when I drink our Gamay, I close my eyes and I’m there!
6) What is the latest trend in wine you don't think will last?
Click here for a glimpse behind the scences at Chateau des Charmes' harvest and production process. Chew Street's 6ix Questions series explores food and culture with food and wine industry changemakers from around the world.
Megan Munro is a lifestyle, food, beauty & travel writer. Her passion for travel has taken her to 36 countries and she now calls Toronto home. Follow Megan at @immfab