The wines of Nova Scotia may not get as much attention as those from other wine-producing regions around the world, but local winemakers hope that will soon change.
With more than a dozen wineries currently operating in the small province and more on the way, there’s no doubt the wine industry in Nova Scotia is growing. While casual wine drinkers may not recognize many of the varietals here,–L’Acadie, Seyval Blanc, and Marechel Foche–these unique grapes are producing some award-winning wines in the region.
Wine touring in Nova Scotia is easy and inexpensive; several of the province’s best wineries are clustered together near Wolfville, which is about an hour’s drive from Haliax, and most offer tours for free or very cheap. You can come for a guided tour day-trip or drive yourself and stay for a few days, mixing in wine-touring with some of the area’s other attractions.
If you’re interested in wine touring in Nova Scotia, here are some tips for planning a trip:
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The following vineyards are located in the Annapolis and Gasperau valleys, a short drive from Wolfville or one hour from Halifax.
L’Acadie Vineyards – complimentary tastings
Domaine de Grand Pre – complimentary tastings, tours $7 by appointment, restaurant onsite
Blomidon Estate Winery – tours (by appointment) and tastings $4, picnic area onsite
Gasperau Vineyards – complimentary tours and tastings
Sainte Famille Wines – tour and tasting prices vary (tours by appointment)
Muir Murray Estate Winery – complimentary tours and tastings
A few tips for visiting:
- If you’re set on a tour, be sure to call ahead as most places require an appointment.
- Tour companies servicing the area include Go North Tours, which offers pickup from Halifax or Wolfville and stops at three wineries for $100-$130 per person from June to October. Tours can be customized or combined with whale watching. Ambassatours Gray Line also offers several single and multi-day tours that visit the wine regions of Nova Scotia.
- While you can easily do a day-trip from Halifax to wine country, if you want to spend more than a few hours here consider staying overnight in Wolfville or–for a more rural retreat –at the cottages at L’Acadie, which overlook the vineyards and go for $150 a night.
- For those who will be driving, plan on no more than three wineries per day, with a stop for lunch, and don’t overindulge. (Remember to spit!) If you’d rather not drive, book a tour or stay in Wolfville and walk or bike to Gasperau or Muir Murry, which are only three kms from town.
- The best time to visit is summer; many wineries operate on very limited hours in winter months. Another festive time is harvest season, during the Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival, which takes place from mid-September to mid-October, with special tastings, charity grape stomps, winemaker dinners, and special accommodation packages. Or check out the winter icewine festival in February.
- When drinking wine in Nova Scotia, look for the logo of a lobster claw holding a wine glass. This symbol means the wine is 100% Nova Scotian.