Nova Scotia’s Vintners: Exemplars

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Nova Scotia is home to plenty of wonderful things. Ranging from the physical grandeur of the Cabot Trail to the sensational scallops of Digby, Nova Scotia has its fair share of beauty and quality. Adding to the array of attractions is a broad assortment of wineries, most of which can be found in the Annapolis Valley.

The sheer delight of driving over hill and into the valley lit with the flame of fall foliage is surely something you have already heard described. Chances are locales and travelers alike have done a brilliant job of sharing their experiences. They probably included the crisp apple notes of Domaine de Grand Pré and then teased you with stories of frolicking through one of the many u-pick orchards.

Like the other wine regions of Canada the Annapolis Valley is stunning to look at. This gorgeous geography is a great pairing with your favourite red, white or ice wine. What sets this wine region apart is its sense of community.

As I let Grand Pré’s symphonic Reserve Foch linger on my palate the staff were giving me suggestions of what wineries to check out. At Gaspereau, the staff weren’t challenged by the fact that I had visited other vineyards earlier. In fact, they told me what wines they enjoyed from their competitors. Actually, I think to use the word competitors might be a discredit to the community. Sure, on paper they are business competitors but it seems that Nova Scotian vintners don’t perceive each other as threats to their businesses.

Juxtaposed to this is the Niagara wine region. While sampling the wines in southern Ontario I mentioned one winery that my group and I had just come from. Immediately the employee responded by diminishing their competitors. What came to mind was a child calling another kid “copycat” in the school yard.

Why don’t Nova Scotian wineries behave like children? I’m not entirely sure. Many people would tell you that it’s because of the friendly nature of Atlantic Canadians but some of the vintners have immigrated to their bountiful vineyards. Others might tell you it is because they need to get along to get a strong piece of the market share but they really are not the Bay Street suit types.

Perhaps the wrong question is being asked here. We should be asking why vintners in the Niagara and other regions aren’t acting like those in Nova Scotia. Name calling and slandering are things that kids and hormonal teens do. Wine is classy, refined and inviting. Vintners can really get behind their product and live according to these qualities.

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