Guide to Canada’s Best Wines 2020 – Top Pinot Gris/Grigio

Announcing Canada’s Top Pinot Gris/Grigio

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Category Overview by John Szabo MS

Pinot gris/grigio continues its domestic and international expansion, slowly and stealthily edging its way up the charts of the world’s most planted grapes. Global acreage has more than doubled since the turn of the century, riding on the wave of popularity generated by the easy-drinking, crisp and light northern Italian pinot grigio style. As a relatively early ripener (it’s a mutation of pinot noir, after all) it is unsurprisingly well suited to a broad swath of Canadian vineyards, from the cool edges of Prince Edward County to the warm reaches of the Southern Okanagan, changing character quite dramatically along the way.

Pinot gris has long been a BC specialty, second only to Chardonnay in terms of volume and acreage among whites. But I was surprised to learn that in Ontario, too, the variety has now edged past riesling to become the second most voluminous white variety, after, again, chardonnay (VQA Annual Report 2020). I say surprised because, with only a handful of notable exceptions, pinot gris is on the fringes of my local fine wine radar.

Most Ontario wineries, it seems, treat the grape as an easy cash generator, produced in a simple, light, crisp dry or off-dry style, all stainless steel-aged, designed for release early in the spring after harvest. It’s destined for tasting rooms and the lower shelves of the LCBO’s general listings; few are sent for critical review. And that’s fine. Wineries must of course earn money. Whereas ambitious chardonnays and rieslings abound, ambitious Ontario pinot gris are few and far between. Those that are, stand out.

BC, on the other hand, has a much broader roster of ambitious pinot gris producers. The warmer climate of the Okanagan favours a slightly more voluptuous style, accented occasionally by barrel fermentation and ageing, creating multi-layered wines with greater complexity.

Our list of the country’s best pinot gris this year reflects this ambition split: seven of our top 10 collective favorites are from BC (the Okanagan in particular), and three from Ontario.

Where pinot gris does excel nationally is in terms of value. $30 will get you pretty much the top kit. You’ll pay much more than that for the top chardonnays. And stylistically, pinot gris in the low-yielding, dry, barrel-aged style compares very favourably to chardonnay (there’s more pinot gris in white Burgundy than you’d think). The wines on this list are all worth discovering, but, be sure to read our full reviews to know the varied style details of each. They range from crunchy and minerally, to broad, round, and creamy, and in some cases, off-dry.

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

The top 10 Pinot Gris/Grigio in Canada:


CedarCreek Platinum Simes Vineyard Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($38) 

50th Parallel Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($26) 

Stag’s Hollow Winery Pinot Gris Parsons Vineyard 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($30)

Gray Monk Odyssey Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($29) 

Organized Crime Pinot Gris 2019, VQA Beamsville Bench ($21) 

Tawse Pinot Gris Lawrie Vineyard 2019, VQA Niagara-on-the Lake ($27) 

Wild Goose Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA British Columbia ($20) 

Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris 2018, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($19) 

Rosehall Run Hungry Point Pinot Gris 2018, VQA Prince Edward County ($26)

Noble Ridge Reserve Pinot Grigio 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Falls ($23)

More Top Pinot Gris/Grigio

Garry Oaks Pinot Gris 2018, Salt Spring Island ($29)
Tightrope Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($23)
Volcanic Hills Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($24) 

See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($20)
Roche Pinot Gris Texture 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($22)


Redstone Pinot Gris 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($25)
Sandhill Pinot Gris Terroir Driven Wine 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($22)
Church & State Pinot Gris 2018, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($23)


Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Pinot Grigio 2018, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($21)
Inniskillin Okanagan Reserve Pinot Gris 2019, BC VQA Okanagan Valley ($22)

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

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