Nova Scotia, Canada may not be on your radar when thinking of wine tourism. You may want to reconsider that, especially if you’re going to be in Atlantic Canada, also known as the Maritimes.
Called “Canada’s Original Wine Region” because the country’s first vineyard was planted there in 1611, Nova Scotia’s wine region is an emerging wine tourism area established around 40 years ago. There are about 25 wineries, most of which are small family-run boutique places. Many of them are clustered in the Annapolis Valley, which is only about an hour from Halifax, the province’s capital, so it’s an easy day trip from that city.
Nova Scotia is accessible via land, sea, and air. My mother Benita and I ventured to the wineries in Annapolis Valley as a shore excursion while on a recent cruise. I’m very glad we did. I’ll share our experience at the wineries in Nova Scotia in an upcoming article.
Here are four reasons why you should visit the wineries of Nova Scotia.
The Wine Region is One-Of-A-Kind
Nova Scotia wine is distinctive. All of the wineries are no more than 12 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and they’re all on ancient seabed, influenced by the world’s highest tides and surrounded by large bodies of water, like the Bay of Fundy. As a result, the region is known for dry, crisp, acidic wines with a slight salinity.
The wineries produce a variety of wines, particularly white and sparkling wines, as well as rosé wine, light reds, and some dessert wines. Several of the wineries will make icewine (one word in Canada, two words elsewhere) when conditions permit.
However, many of the varietals grown here are relatively unknown and not grown elsewhere, such as L’Acadie Blanc, Leon Millot, Baco Noir, and New York Muscat.
One fun way that the region’s wineries have embraced their uniqueness is by celebrating their own signature appellation and white blend, called, appropriately, “Tidal Bay.” It is produced exclusively in Nova Scotia. A wine must meet strict guidelines for it to be allowed to use this name. Fourteen of the wineries produce their own version of Tidal Bay, and tastings and courses are dedicated to it.
2. The Wines Win Awards
But the wines of Nova Scotia were surprisingly good, given that this is still a relatively young wine region. Many of the wines we tasted were of high quality, and have won a number of national and international awards. For instance, earlier this year, a Nova Scotia wine – Prestige Brut Estate 2017 by L’Acadie Vineyards – won a gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the world's largest wine competition.
Chances are you’ll like the wine!
3. The Experience is Reminiscent of the Wine Tourism of Yesteryear
Visiting the wineries of Nova Scotia was a refreshing – and endearing – throwback to wine tourism of days past. Remember back when you could simply roam, discover a new winery, and fall in love with a little place? You can do that here.
The atmosphere everywhere was low-key and relaxed. There was no shtick; it wasn’t commercial. Walk-ins were welcome. The wineries were not at all crowded, we were never rushed, and the staff seemed genuinely happy to share their time and knowledge. Everyone was incredibly friendly. Some of the wineries even still offer free tastings. The area is bucolic and picturesque; visitors are encouraged to bicycle from winery to winery.
4. You Can’t Find These Wines Elsewhere
The wineries of Nova Scotia will gladly sell their wine, but they don’t export much, particularly internationally. These wines are like stumbling onto local gems that no one else is familiar with. We made some purchases but were restricted by the limits of what we could take on the ship. I would have bought more wine if I could. This is an opportunity to stock up and surprise your friends with wines they likely have never heard of, let alone had before.
We hope this information on four reasons why you should visit the wineries of Nova Scotia helps you if you’re considering travel to Eastern Canada. Sociable! (the Nova Scotia version of “cheers”!)
If there are any up-and-coming or off-the-radar wine regions we should add to our to-visit list, please share! We’re at email@example.com.
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