Nova Scotia wine: The old and the new

One of the newest and most exciting wine regions in North America is also one of the oldest. Nova Scotia first cultivated grapes for wine as early as the 17th century. Now, producers in the province have taken it up again, and are starting to make a name for themselves.

I spoke to Gillian Mainguy of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia to find out more about the region’s products and growing reputation for high-quality wine.

Sparkling wine

The future of sparkling wine in Nova Scotia is nothing short of effervescent. Industry experts are particularly excited by this variety, which some insiders compare to France’s Champagne. Because the industry is so small, there’s tremendous hope that as it grows, its reputation will too. And as production of sparkling wine grows, so will its national and international distribution.

Tidal Bay

Nova Scotia is home to the first appellation wine in North America: Tidal Bay, an aromatic white wine made by twelve producers. It’s a fresh, crisp wine that reflects the terroir and ocean breezes of the province, and pairs beautifully with seafood.

Each of the Tidal Bay wines are taste-tested annually to ensure quality standards are upheld. An independent panel blind-tastes the wines, giving them a pass or a fail. “If they fail, they get feedback on the reason for the failure,” Mainguy says. “The reasons might be a lack of aromatic quality, crispness or acidity, for example.”

All the hard work has paid off as Tidal Bay becomes more popular – each year, every producer has increased production.

Cooperation

Cooperation has been key to the success of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia. From the beginning, competing vineyards have been eager to support the association and strengthen the appellation. It’s a big win for everyone as Nova Scotia becomes nationally and internationally known for excellent wine.

And similarly, now that the association is up and running, it works together with Wines of BC and Wines of Canada to promote Canadian wine together at international trade shows.

Advice for restaurateurs

If you already feature Canadian wines on your menu, Nova Scotia wines are a perfect complement. “Canadians feel a lot of excitement and a sense of pride when they try our wines,” says Mainguy. Benjamin Bridge sells its sparkling wine, Nova 7, across Canada, and Jost wines are available throughout the Maritimes, in Manitoba and in Alberta.

If you want to know more about adding Nova Scotia wine to your program, Mainguy can assist with education or outreach. Contact her through the Association at info@winesofnovascotia.ca.

Author

Beth Pollock is a communications and content marketing expert. Working with Restaurants Canada, she has edited and published two newsletters (RC Insider and BITE); developed the RC Show website; managed social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram); and written press releases, blog stories, operational manuals, and an op-ed for the Globe & Mail. Beth is also a freelance writer who has written for a number of publications about food, travel, and children’s books, and has written over 600 posts on her personal blog, Of Muses and Meringues about recipes and her personal travels. She has published three books for children.