Canada Day is probably the day of the year most synonymous with afternoon BBQs—what better way to celebrate than with wine from a Canadian family winery? These wines will work in any BBQ situation: they're all good value, easy drinkers with big flavours that will stand up to smoke.
The Konzelmann family had been making wine in Germany since 1893 when they immigrated to Canada in the 1980s. They settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake and were officially the seventh winery to open its doors in Ontario. This wine is a lighter and fresher version than most Pinot Blancs. Expect characters of apple, pear, chai spice, lemon, and ginger, with the faintest spritz. The best part? It costs $12.15. (12% alcohol)
What would any BBQ be without Riesling? I wrote a Canadian Winery Spotlight last week on Harper's Trail, a young winery in a brand new region around the town of Kamloops, BC and the Thompson Valley. The 2013 'Pioneer Block' Dry Riesling isn't totally dry, but it has so much fresh acidity that you wouldn't suspect it (that's the best thing about good Riesling: balance and tension). This wine packs citrus characters with melon, green apple, and subtle grassy notes. ($20, 12.2% alcohol)
I've always liked the freshness of the Meyer Family's Gewürztraminer, which comes from a single block of 20-year-old vines near Okanagan Falls. While some Gewürztraminers can be oily and highly perfumed, theirs balances citrus and grapefruit notes with spice and has a refreshing quality that is a requirement when enjoying wine outside in the sun. ($18, 13.5% alcohol)
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.