The Wine Lab: Canada’s next great wine region is Nova Scotia

The Ritcey Report

Written by Iconic Group
June 22, 2018

‘Burgeoning N.S. wine industry embraces cool temperatures, rocky soil to make award-winning wines’ – so went a headline in The Canadian Press (March 30, 2016) leading into a story by Melanie Patten1 about N.S. wines. Improbable? Not really.

Ms. Patten went on to state, perhaps a shade optimistically: ‘Past the rocky, ocean-battered coastline of Nova Scotia is an unlikely tale of success: a burgeoning wine industry producing palate-pleasers that connoisseurs say can rival what Champagne, France, has to offer.’ Our provincial government seems to share Ms. Patten’s enthusiasm.

Government invests in Wine Lab

Last June, agriculture minister Keith Colwell2 joined industry guests at a grand opening at Acadia University in Wolfville. He announced an additional investment of $916,750 for the Acadia Laboratory for Agri-food and Beverage – the so-called Wine Lab.

Said Mr. Colwell: ‘Our wine industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada and is quickly becoming known for its high-quality products. We want that success to continue and this lab will advance the industry’s efforts to pursue product development, innovation, and future growth. It’s all part of our commitment to creating jobs for young Nova Scotians and opportunity for the middle class.’

Success despite an impossible set of conditions

Winemakers in the Annapolis Valley have come to terms with an impossible set of conditions — cool temperatures and rocky, acidic soil — to create award-winning white and sparkling wines that, in the words of Ms. Patten, ‘are capturing international attention.’

She quotes Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, a winemaker with Benjamin Bridge3, who states: ‘There’s this cardinal rule that basically dictates a great wine always has the ability to highlight the strengths of where it comes from.’

One of about 20 Nova Scotia wineries, Benjamin Bridge is notable for its Nova 7, a pale, refreshing spritz made from grapes grown along the Bay of Fundy.

Mr. Deslauriers says that ‘part of Nova Scotia’s strength lies in its long grape-growing season where unspoiled vines can be plucked into November, allowing the fruit to retain its freshness at a moderate sugar content.’

Wine Lab funding deliverables

What follows are just a few of the practical advantages that the Wine Lab funding will deliver:

  1. The investment will help the lab become ISO certified (International Organization of Standardization).
  2. It will also cover the purchase of a laboratory information management software system and additional lab equipment for comprehensive testing.
  3. These purchases, along with the certification, will mean that Nova Scotia wine producers will no longer have to send their samples out of province for testing.


To paraphrase Ray Ivany, Acadia’s then president and vice-chancellor, this latest investment is an example of the ongoing commitment to support economic development in our region. Said Mr. Ivany: ‘Nova Scotia wines and winemakers continue to earn worldwide accolades and Acadia is proud to be part of this story.’
Nova Scotia’s wine industry accounted for almost $17.5 million in sales in 2016 and another $382,460 in exports. Long may its growth continue!

Dave Ritcey, The Ritcey Team, Scotia Wealth Management