“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).
Some of the wineries I visited included Domaine de Grand Pré, Luckett Vineyards and Lacadie Vineyards (the producer of award-winning sparkling white wines).
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!
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:
- How to Eat a Fresh Lobster
- A Stroll Along the Halifax Waterfront
- The Colours of Lunenburg
- Picnic at the Bay of Fundy
Note: I was hosted in Nova Scotia by the Canadian Tourism Commission. All opinions expressed above are mine.
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Yes, there is! The prices are pretty reasonable, around $10 a bottle or thereabouts.
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?
Thanks for your comment Charu. They do indeed have apple cider!
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.
Neither did I, until I visited NS. I was very surprised! And impressed.
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…
Ooooh! And you have to have a lobster or two! 🙂
See you soon Nim!
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…..
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.
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.
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!
Thank you for your lovely comment. I knew I should’ve visited Jost!
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.
[…] @velvetescape – Speaking of Canada and getting hammered, did you know that there’s a wine industry in Nova Scotia? I sure as hell didn’t, but now that I do I’ll have to schedule some time to hop up […]
Thank you Peggy! I was there for a week last year. Loved it! 🙂
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.