When you think of visiting wineries, I bet you don’t think of Nova Scotia wineries. But, I bet you do imagine traveling down country roads that meander through beautiful valleys, arriving at properties with stunning views. You probably also imagine visiting lovely and unique tasting rooms surrounded by lush vineyards. Well, I can tell you as a lover of wineries, you will be pleasantly surprised by the ones in Nova Scotia and their wines. Nova Scotia wineries do produce red wine. However, the tidal breezes, warm sunshine, and crisp air make for some of the best white wines I have had.
For this winery adventure, we concentrated on wineries in the Wolfville area. We tasted and learned about grape varietals that were new to us like, L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval Blanc, and Lucie Kuhlmann. We found out that Nova Socia has been growing grapes for wine since the 1600s even though The first winery did not open till 1978.
Domaine De Grand Pre
Our first stop was at Domaine De Grand Pre which was the first winery in NS. Our first impression as we walked through the door was, wow. This wine shop and tasting room rival any in California. Cacilia, the wine store manager, was our host for the wine tasting. We are lovers of big, bold, heavy, reds and we knew the reds here would be much lighter. Cacilia suggested we try some whites first and I am glad she did. They were amazing.
Nova Scotia wineries produce a special regional wine, known as Tidal Bay. A tidal Bay wine is a white blend. Therefore, they all must follow the same standards in making this wine. Typically they are crisp, aromatic white wines.
Grand Pre’s Tidal Bay, along with their Riesling were two of our favorite wines here. Nova Scotia Reislings and Muscats are much drier than these same varietals from other areas that produce these types of wines. When we drink white wines, we prefer wines that are crisp with a fruity or floral bouquet and that are not sweet.
Part of visiting wineries is hearing their story. So, if you are like us, you have dreamed of owning a winery. A Swiss businessman and today’s owner had the vision for this winery. He bought a grape farm, replanted all of the grapes and restored the property making it what it is today. Family owned and operated Grand Preis an amazing winery. Four family members are working for the winery from the winemaker to the restaurant manager. Yes, they have also had an award-winning restaurant as well. You can tell this family puts their heart and soul into this winery.
Our second winery visit was to the boutique winery of Gaspereau. Sitting on 50 acres the vineyard is mostly hand harvested. The tasting room, a large red barn blends into the surrounding pastoral area. So, the vibe is casual. But I can tell you they also had some fabulous white wines. Our host was Robin, and she was extremely knowledgeable about the vineyard and the wines.
Our favorite wine was their Tidal Bay. The Tidal Bay is delicate and refined and not too sweet. Apparently, we are not the only ones who like this wine. Along with other awards, it took Double Gold in 2017’s All Canadian Wine Championship.
After Visiting Gaspereau, we went back to Grand Pre for lunch at Le Caveau Restaurant. Since the day was beautiful, so we ate outside. Tables are set in a garden setting making for a lovely view as you dine. Their chef focuses on regional Nova Scotia foods prepared with a global flair. Needless to say, everything was fantastic!
Benjamin Bridge Winery
Next, we stopped at nearby Benjamin Bridge also located in the Gaspereau Valley, near the Gaspereau River. They started the winery in 1999. Their first wine was out in 2004, and the tasting room opened in 2017. Benjamin Bridge Vineyards offer tastings on the hour beginning at noon and ending at three. They are passionate about what they do and want to provide an in-depth, informative tasting experience. They also offer private tastings and tours by appointment.
The vineyard location of Benjamin Bridge with its cool climate is similar to the Champagne region of France. So, Benjamin Bridge has distinguished itself with its sparkling wines and limited edition luxury wines. We loved the sparkling wine, Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve. It was incredible! As a result, I am not sure that I could tell it was not from Champagne, France.
I do recommend you stop at Luckett Vineyards. We did. Of course, we took the iconic picture of the red British telephone booth. Unfortunately, we did not do a tasting. We tried to do a tasting and ask some questions, but they had a big party there and a couple of buses. They were too busy, so we did not stay for a tasting.
Planters Ridge Vineyard
The last winery we explored was the artisanal winery, Planters Ridge. As we found out, they are a relatively new winery in the area. Their 150-year old, renovated timber-framed barn serves as a tasting room. The owners bought the property in 2010 and sold their first vintage in 2013. In Addition, they have a lovely patio that overlooks their vineyard where you can enjoy a glass of wine or enjoy your tasting.
Leah was our tasting hostess. She not only described the wines but gave us the history of the winery. We generally are not fans of rieslings, but here we loved their riesling. It is a delicate and a refreshing dry white wine.
Explore Nova Scotia Wineries
Being wine enthusiasts, who lived in California and visited wineries all the time, we did not have big expectations for the wines in Nova Scotia. Our assumptions were unfounded. If you are looking for big, bold, heavy reds, a visit here will be disappointing. However, if you love visiting beautiful wineries and trying unique wines, you will be thoroughly delighted in Nova Scotia. In addition, if you prefer white wines, you will be more than delighted. Make sure you try each winery’s Tidal Bay wine. Each of these wines is similar yet unique and amazing!
Watch our wine trail video
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