An icon of the Ontario grape and wine industry, Paul Bosc Sr has won the Award of Merit.
He was honoured for his outstanding achievements over the last 50 years at the April 5 Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) annual general meeting.
“Paul had the first Ontario vineyard planted exclusively to vinifera grapes,” says Matthias Oppenlaender, chair of the GGO board. “He drove the industry forward with his research and never gave up. When there were problems with frost, he found a solution with wind machines. He leaves a legacy that will be felt forever in our industry.”
The Bosc success story goes back to 1964. After completing his degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Burgundy, Paul immigrated to Canada from France and became the Chief Winemaker and Director of Research and Development at Chateau-Gai Wines in Niagara. In this role, he began experimenting with classic European vinifera varieties, convinced that the Canadian wine industry needed to move away from native labrusca grapes.
In 1976, Paul founded Chateau des Charmes on a 60-acre plot of land on Creek Road, the first commercial vineyard dedicated to vinifera grape varieties. The winery’s first vintage was produced in 1978 and the current Chateau des Charmes Estate opened its doors in 1994 as a state-of-the-art winery and visitor centre. The Bosc family now farms 280 acres in four locations all within the St David’s Bench and Four Mile Creek sub-appellations.
Paul also believes in stewardship of the land and has been dedicated to promoting sustainable agricultural practices. As a member of the Sustainable Winemaking Ontario program, Paul participated in the World Wine Trade Group annual conference in 2011 and, with other panelists, worked to establish an agreement on sustainability principles.
In 1988, Paul was crowned Ontario’s Grape King, and has been the recipient of many honours since then, 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, The Order of Canada, and the LCBO Special Recognition Award.