Château des Charmes
chateau des charmes
We are often asked how we got into the wine business. More than a few times the answer has been the above quote. Growing wine has been in our family’s blood for seven generations. We love everything about it; from nurturing the vineyards each year, to bringing the wines to life in the cellar and waiting for each to come of age so it can be released to be enjoyed. But what brings us the most joy is seeing someone savour our wine or celebrate an important family milestone at our winery. In our home wine is an important part of most family dinners. It is treated like another food group. Wine can make food taste better and food can make wine taste better.
Located in the heart of Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.
- Making wine is not what we do, it's who we are.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
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- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
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After a violent seven-year revolution, France granted Algeria independence in 1962. At the time Paul was General Manager of the Cave Cooperative de Marengo, one of Algeria's largest and most successful wine co-operatives. The mass evacuation of French citizens, one of the largest in human history, meant Paul, Andrée and young Paul-André had to leave everything behind and start a new life back in France. Unfortunately, many of the “pieds noirs", as French Algerians were called, did not feel welcome back in France. Re-establishing their lives proved to be very difficult.
After a frustrating year in France Paul picked up his family and moved to yet another continent, North America. His brother and a few cousins had found their way to Québec so Paul followed hoping for a fresh start. Canada appeared to be more welcoming. Finding work wasn't difficult for Paul even though winemakers were not a hot commodity back then. He found work with the SAQ, Québec's provincial liquor board. He had to dump defective wine. One particular Ontario wine caught his attention because it was being dumped due to a problem he knew how to fix. So he called the winery's representative in Montréal, assuming they could discuss the issue in French, to explain the problem and recommend a solution. He also suggested the winery may need an oenologist. The winery was Château-Gai. As luck would have it, their Vice President was due to be in Montréal the following day and a meeting with Paul was set. Within a month Paul and his family again picked up everything and moved, this time to Niagara. The only catch was Paul had to work in one of their Toronto stores for three months so he could learn English.
Over a 15 year career that included roles as Winemaker and Director of Research & Development Paul became convinced that the Canadian wine industry had to move away from its traditional grape source, the native labrusca variety, if it was going to survive. He began experimenting with classic European vitis vinifera varieties and by the early 1970's was producing small lots of fine wines that garnered much attention from wine writers throughout Canada and the United States.
By 1978 Paul was convinced the Canadian wine industry needed to adopt the estate winery model, long practiced in established wine regions, in order to re-position itself as a world-class winegrowing region. In partnership with lawyer Rodger Gordon, he founded Château des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake and planted Canada’s first commercial vineyard dedicated exclusively to European vitis vinifera grape varieties. This achievement had long been considered impossible in Canada's climate. He proved the nay-sayers wrong. and it eventually revolutionized the grape and wine industry. Only 10 years after the planting of that pioneering 60-acre vineyard, today known as our Creek Road Vineyard, the Wine Content Act of 1988 banned native grape varieties from table wines.
Paul has always believed in stewardship of the land on which his vineyards were planted. He has been dedicated to the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices in order to produce exceptional quality grapes now and for generations to come.
In 1994 Château des Charmes opened its new state-of-the-art winery and visitor centre. It was immediately hailed as an agri-tourism landmark. It was the first winery in Ontario purpose-built with the visitor in mind. This was long before there was a Wine Route or a winery tourism buisness model. Paul's vision of a world class Niagara wine industry led by high quality estate wineries has reached fruition. Today, the vibrant Ontario industry boasts more than 150 wineries, employs more than 6000 people and receives approximately 1 million visitors each year.
Paul is a fifth-generation French winegrower who graduated from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France with degrees in Viticulture and Oenology. His wines have been awarded medals at numerous national and international wine competitions. He has also been the recipient of many honours including a doctorate from Brock University, The Order of Ontario, The Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the inaugural Canadian Vintners Association Award of Distinction and The Order of Canada; all for his significant contributions to the modern Canadian wine industry. In 2011 Paul was awarded the LCBO Special Recognition Award.
MADAME ANDRÉE BOSC
Paul Bosc Sr.’s wife holds a B.A. from Brock University and a Masters in Public Administration from Niagara University, New York. Madame, as she is affectionately called, is a former French teacher who loves to welcome her former students to the winery. She is a tremendous ambassador for the winery. In 2006 she, along with her husband, were named Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Citizens of the Year and presented with the Lord Mayor’s Award of Excellence.
PAUL-ANDRÉ BOSC, President
Paul is a graduate of the University of Toronto. He is very active in wine industry affairs and in the economic and cultural development of the Niagara Peninsula. He is the past chair of the Canadian Vintners Association (CVA), the Canadian wine industry's national trade association. Paul is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Easter Seals Society of Ontario and the LCBO VQA Excellence Award. But at home he is simply dad to young son Alex.
MICHÈLE BOSC, Director of Marketing
Paul Jr.’s wife is an East Coaster who earned a B. Sc. from Dalhousie University. Her career started in the pharmaceutical industry in sales, sales training and marketing. As Director of Marketing for Château des Charmes she is the brand custodian and responsible for all aspects of the guest experience. This includes staff training and development, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as overseeing the hospitality programs at the winery. She is the winery representative on various marketing and tourism committees in the region and is the current Chair of Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When she is not busy trying to keep up with son Alex, you will find her in the Twittesphere, writing a new blog post or sharing wine country news on Facebook.
Practices & Techniques
In October 2011 Paul Jr. presented facets of this program to a group of more than 100 international wine industry professionals at the World Wine Trade Group annual conference in Santiago, Chile. The round table was called the International Forum on Sustainable Wine Production. Conference delegates agreed upon a set of guiding principles for the development of international guidelines on what it means to produce wine sustainably. Paul and his fellow panelists were then charged with taking those principles and over the next year establish programs and further intiatives to bring the guiding principles to life. November 2012 saw the conference held in New Zealand. The panelists presented their programs to the assembled delegates for discussion and ratification. You can read about the latest international developments here. With Paul taking an instrumental role in the development of these new programs, Château des Charmes is dedicated to leading the way to see their implementation in Canada.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
First commercial vineyard in Canada to be planted exclusively with vitis vinifera
Surrounds the original winery, present day warehouse
Some of our youngest vines can be found here (Riesling planted in 2007)
ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD
“St. David’s Bench” coined by the Bosc family and sub-appellation is named based on this term
Installed with the most extensive vineyard under-drainage system in the world in 1990
Home to our Grey Water Management and Recovery Program
Research vineyard first established here to examine the effects of high density planting and lyre canopy system grape quality. All grape varieties we grow are represented in these two blocks.
The slope of the vineyard is considered moderate – from the Niagara Escarpment at the southern edge to York Road at the northern edge.
Underground water run off from the Escarpment is rich in limestone. These vines use this water during the growing season contributing to the minerality found in the wines grown here.
Dedicated to producing single varietal bottlings
PAUL BOSC ESTATE VINEYARD
Château des Charmes’ most awarded vineyard Chardonnay was the first Canadian table wine to win a gold medal at VINEXPO. One of the very few vineyards in the region with southern-facing slopes. Site of the Bosc family home and Paul Bosc Sr.’s Arabian horses. To our knowledge, the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard is the only vineyard and working horse farm in the country
Home to Paul Sr.’s pioneering research into new grape varieties