The wines of Nova Scotia

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Vineyard in Nova Scotia

“Wines of Nova Scotia?!?!… There’s a wine industry in Nova Scotia?” Those were my exact words when I was told about Nova Scotia’s numerous wineries. I was very surprised. However, as I explored the province, there were many factors that made the idea of a wine industry in Nova Scotia, in Canada‘s far eastern corner, less surprising. One factor blew me away: I discovered that Nova Scotia lies on the same latitude as famous wine regions such as Bordeaux and the Rhone valley – I had no idea! In addition, Nova Scotia has substantial French and German communities which settled in this area centuries ago. In fact, French settlers started growing grapes for wine in Nova Scotia as far back as the 17th century. However, the harsh climate and rudimentary methods made the production of fine wines almost impossible and the wine industry disappeared from Nova Scotia for several centuries. In the 1980′s, bolstered by improvements in wine production methods and a better understanding of the soil and climate, the first vineyards for commercial wine production began to re-appear in Nova Scotia, starting with the Domaine de Grand Pré winery. In the past five years, the wine industry has grown in leaps and bounds, producing many award-winning whites and sparkling wines.

A wine tour of Nova Scotia

As I toured the province, I made it a point to stop at various vineyards, especially those in the Annapolis and Gaspereau Valleys. The unique soil and mesoclimates of Nova Scotia are ideal for the production of Nova Scotia’s signature grapes such as the crisp L’Acadie Blanc. I also enjoyed the smooth and aromatic New York Muscat. The wineries of Nova Scotia have also developed their unique appellation: Tidal Bay. This fresh, crisp white is now produced by a variety of vineyards and is the perfect pairing for the province’s delicious seafood. The province has also become famous for its sparkling wines (great as an aperitif or with oysters) and ice wines (as an aperitif).

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Tidal Bay from Domaine de Grand Pré

Nova Scotian wines are the perfect pairing with the province's delicious seafood!

Nova Scotian wines are the perfect pairing with the province’s delicious seafood!

Some of the wineries I visited included Domaine de Grand Pré, Luckett Vineyards and Lacadie Vineyards (the producer of award-winning sparkling white wines).

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Domaine de Grand Pré – Nova Scotia’s oldest winery

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Wine-tasting at Domaine de Grand Pré

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Luckett Vineyards

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more wine-tasting… this time at Luckett Vineyards.

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The award-winning sparkling wines from Lacadie Vineyards.

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Tasting the fresh, crisp sparkling whites of Lacadie Vineyards

My favourite winery is also Nova Scotia’s oldest: Domaine de Grand Pré. Located in the verdant Annapolis Valley, it’s a beautiful vineyard that’s also home to a terrific restaurant (Le Caveau). I enjoyed a delicious lunch consisting of scallops and Atlantic haddock (fish & chips style). I highly recommend this vineyard for a lazy lunch, especially on a sunny day!

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Domaine de Grand Pré

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A fab lunch spot on a summer day: Le Caveau at Domaine de Grand Pré.

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Gorgeous scallops at le Caveau

I’d not heard about Nova Scotia’s wines before my visit to the province. What I discovered certainly impressed me. Despite the challenging climate and soil, the locals, through laborious research and endless determination, have succeeded in producing unique award-winning wines. To me, this is simply one more great reason to visit Nova Scotia. One more tip: when choosing your Nova Scotian wines, look out for the ‘Wines of Nova Scotia’ label (a lobster claw holding a glass of wine). This label is a guarantee that the wine was 100% produced from locally-grown grapes. Visit the Winery Association of Nova Scotia for more information.

Read other posts on Nova Scotia by Velvet Escape:

Note: I was hosted in Nova Scotia by the Canadian Tourism Commission. All opinions expressed above are mine.

 

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17 Responses to “The wines of Nova Scotia”

  1. Bob 06/11/2013 8:12 am
    #

    Hi,

    I really enjoyed reading through your blog posts on Velvetescape.com. I got a real sense of enthusiasm and passion in each post. Actually, I run Travelingtripster.com, a blog about my travel experiences. If you’re interested, I would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Just shoot me quick a e-mail and we can begin this potentially exciting affiliation together. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks,
    Bob

  2. Keith Jenkins 08/10/2013 9:45 pm
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    Yes, there is! The prices are pretty reasonable, around $10 a bottle or thereabouts.

  3. Morgan 08/10/2013 9:08 pm
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    Your post title elicited the exact same response from me, “There’s wine in Nova Scotia?” I would never have guessed! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Would you find the prices to be comparable to most other places?

  4. Keith Jenkins 03/10/2013 4:26 pm
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    Thanks for your comment Charu. They do indeed have apple cider!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  5. Charu 03/10/2013 2:51 pm
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    It seems as though every unimaginable region does wine. I tasted wine in Jordan…who would have thunk? And also, Michigan has first rate wines. I would have thought Nova Scotia had great apple cider, given the Quebec influence.

  6. Keith Jenkins 22/09/2013 5:25 pm
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    Neither did I, until I visited NS. I was very surprised! And impressed.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  7. Sand In My Suitcase 22/09/2013 5:18 pm
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    So interesting… We live in Canada (though the west coast) and didn’t know Nova Scotia produced wines. We know Ontario has some good wines (e.g., Iniskillin). And British Columbia makes some fab reds too (luv Black Hills “Nota Bene”) – Oliver is even known as the “Wine Capital of Canada” because so many wineries are found here. But Nova Scotia? Now we’ll have find a bottle here and try it…

  8. Keith Jenkins 20/05/2013 1:35 pm
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    Ooooh! And you have to have a lobster or two! :-)

    See you soon Nim!

  9. Nim Singh 20/05/2013 1:29 pm
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    Will be there pre GO MEDIA this year so might get to check out some of those vineyards for myself. not long to Montreal…. and Toronto…..

  10. Iain Mallory 22/03/2013 8:27 pm
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    I’ve never been to Nova Scotia but have always wanted to visit, now you’ve included wine into the decision Keith it’s convinced me I need to do so sooner rather than later.

  11. Keith Jenkins 21/03/2013 4:11 pm
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    Thanks Annie for your lovely comment. I can totally relate – like you, I’m always on the lookout for new wine locations. I was very surprised too and quite thrilled with this discovery.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  12. Annie of TravelShus 21/03/2013 3:40 pm
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    Wow, I’m thoroughly intrigued. Im always one to find a new wine location and really give it a chance, and I think canadian wine deserves a spotlight .Ice wine has always been a forte of theirs, but I’m happy to see there are other regions starting to makes waves.

    Thanks for making me notice!

  13. Keith Jenkins 18/03/2013 11:03 am
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    Hi Vanessa,
    Thank you for your lovely comment. I knew I should’ve visited Jost!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  14. Vanessa 16/03/2013 1:33 pm
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    Ah, beautiful Nova Scotia! I grew up there and try to get back for a visit every few years. Thanks for the awesome post!

    We always try to visit Jost Vineyards in Malagash (in Cumberland county). They have incredible wines at a beautiful location. I’m not a huge ice wine person, but apparently their ice wines are some of the best in the country. We always pick up a few cases before we go home – it makes for unique Christmas/hostess gifts if you are in other provinces.

  15. Keith Jenkins 14/03/2013 11:50 am
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    Thank you Peggy! I was there for a week last year. Loved it! :-)

  16. Keith, great article on NS Wines. Wish i had known you were writing this as several friends are owners of Vineyards there, including Benjamin Bridge which has won all sorts of awards. Nova 7 is one of my faves.
    On Serendipity Traveler’s annual Best of Nova Scotia tour in the summer we taste and dine at Grand Pre while visiting the Land of Evangeline. Glad you enjoyed the province.

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