Clean Water
Matters!

The diverse ecosystems, working
landscapes, and vibrant communities
that inspire and sustain us depend on
clean water. Learn about pollution
reduction strategies.

Healthy Habitats
Connect Us All

Lakeshores, stream banks, and wetlands are critical to clean
water and biodiversity. Learn about efforts to improve
habitat connectivity in the Basin ecosystem.

We Care for
What We Know

Recreation fosters stewardship of the Basin’s rich
natural and cultural heritage by connecting people
to the landscape while supporting local economies.
Learn about ways to explore the Basin.

Informed Citizens
Make Wiser Choices

Citizens who have an understanding and
appreciation of water resources make informed
choices about actions that might contribute to
pollution. Learn about education programs.

    Culture & Recreation

    Drink the Wine…Savor the Scenery

    The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership founded the first U.S. International Wine Trail in the Fall of 2012 as part of the Heritage Area’s commitment to connect communities and conservation. The trail promotes sustainable economic development by showcasing the working landscape on all sides of Lake Champlain. The trail encompasses nearly 40 vineyards and cideries in Vermont, New York and Quebec. Though agriculture has long been a way of life in the Champlain Valley, commercial winemaking only began here during the 1980s. With advancements in cold climate viticulture, winemakers now grow more grape varieties that can withstand our chilly winters, producing high quality wines that rival those from major grape growing regions.

    Snow Farm Vineyard

     A Brief History of Grape Growing and Wine Making in the Champlain Valley

    The native species of grapes (Vitis riparia) that thrives in New York, Québec and Vermont are wild grapes that were first documented on the St. Lawrence River by French Explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535. Almost a century later, Samuel de Champlain tried to transplant French grape vines for wine making, but the cold climate kept the plants from producing. While some wine was made from native grapes, the early French settlers in the Champlain Valley imported most of their wine from France.

    grapes

    The treaty ending the Seven Years War in 1763 (known as the French and Indian War in the United States) ceded French control over Québec to the British. Trade then shifted to Great Britain, which produced spirits such as whiskey, rum and gin, with very little wine allowed in from France. It wasn’t until the 1970s that farmers in the region began to experiment with grape growing in earnest. By the 1990s, breakthroughs in viticulture (the study of grape growing/wine making) developed high-quality, disease resistant grapes that could thrive in this climate.

    wine barrels

    Winemaking Today

    These days, more and more of the landscape in the Champlain Valley is being dedicated to vineyards and cideries. Tied in with the strong local foods movement, the award-winning wines made here attract wine lovers to visit the region and sample the flavors of the landscape. Today there are dozens of vineyards with tasting rooms that welcome guests, give educational tours of their facilities, and allow a tasting of their wines. The Champlain Valley International Wine Trail was established to highlight the newest addition to the region’s rich agricultural heritage, and promote cross-border partnerships on all sides of Lake Champlain.

    For more information, check out the Champlain Valley Wine Trail Facebook page. Go here for a map of the area with participating vineyards and learn more about the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.

    Participating Organizations

    La Route des Vins
    Adirondack Coast
    Vermont Grape and Wine Council

    What is the State of the Lake?

    What is the
    State of the Lake?

    Learn about the health of Lake Champlain in the 2015 State of the Lake report. Read about trends in key indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Read the State of the Lake report

    Volunteers

    Make Some Waves

    From using lake-friendly cleaning products to volunteering with a local watershed group, you can help restore and protect the Lake Champlain Basin. Find out how you can get involved

    Track Our Progress

    Track Our Progress

    Explore the goals and actions of our partners and track our progress online with the Opportunities for Action website. View Opportunities for Action

    © 2017 Lake Champlain Basin Program
    Site design: Taylor Design
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    Lake Champlain Basin Program

    Lake Champlain Basin Program
    54 West Shore Road
    Grand Isle, VT 05458
    800-468-5227 (NY & VT)
    or 802-372-3213