By Allrecipes Staff

Oh, Canada!

It may surprise you that British Columbia, Canada, has a truly thriving wine industry going. The idea of wine grapes growing in the frozen north would seem to raise a lot of questions: Isn't it too far north? Too cold? Too gray and rainy? You might think the answer would be a resounding "yes" to all.

But the fact is, not only does British Columbia's industry thrive, it is excelling at warm-weather grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, along with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

You see, the wine country in British Columbia is actually a desert. In fact, it includes the northernmost stretch of the Sonora Desert--the same desert that includes Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona! While there are no saguaros in BC's wine country, you can expect to come across the occasional lizard or the odd bevy of desert quail.

In eastern British Columbia, mountains block the advance of rainy weather being pushed in from the Pacific Ocean. The result is full-on desert conditions in the eastern side of the mountains, which translates into days that are long, sunny and warm (during the growing season, anyway) and nights that are crisp and cool--ideal conditions for achieving wines balanced between ripe fruit and mouth-watering acidity!