Oka Valley Quebec: Skip the Cheese, You Want the Wine.
Last year, Rivière de Chêne celebrated it’s 20th year of winemaking in Quebec. In 1998, with a desire and belief in the potential of his family’s land in St-Eustache, Daniel Lalande planted the first hybrid vines, on his family’s 7 hectares of land.
“We have come a long way”, says Lalande. “We have made a lot of mistakes, lots of removal and exchanges of vines. We have learned so much in the past twenty years that has helped us create great quality wines.”
Rivière du Chêne is making wine from both hybrid and viniferous varieties, and have recently expanded their vineyards and portfolio by gaining land in the Oka, west of Montreal. “We purchased this property a few years back and we decided to name it La Cantina in honour of my grandmother who was from Italy.” Of the 23 hectares of land at the Oka site, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling are planted. The site has excellent exposure, and excellent proximity to the lake, helping it keep away from Spring frosts which can be a very stressful time in our Canadian climate.”
Lalande is very excited about the results of the wine he has been making at his Oka vineyards. He believes that it is truly a special place and has amazing potential for future winemaking in Quebec. “We have the same degree days in this location as they do in Burgundy and New Zealand. This, along with the protection of vines with our geotextiles, we have every opportunity to make wines that are expressive of terroir.”
Both Grenon and Lalande have been working closely with CRAM, le Centre de Recherche Agroalimentaire de Mirabel, where a special experimental vineyard in Oka is being closely studied. “They know the land, the soil, the micro climate”, says Lalande. “We work together to create some of the best wine that is coming out of Oka. We know we have something really special here, we just have to keep developing it. It takes time”.
There are some exciting wines being made in Quebec, and Oka is starting to gain some buzz and attention. With the support of CRAM, lessons of the past, and keen, passionate winemakers like Hugo Grenon and Daniel Lalande, there is endless potential here.
For more info and where to purchase La Cantina products, head to :
Instagram : hugo.grenon