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Newly opened Kentville research winery to strengthen Nova Scotia’s growing grape, wine industries


Research aims to improve wine quality, producers’ bottom lines

KENTVILLE, N.S. —

It’s a newly opened research facility that will further unleash the potential of Nova Scotia’s burgeoning grape and wine industry.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay was on hand to officially open the new research winery at the Kentville Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research and Development Centre on Feb. 28.

The purpose of the $1.8-million facility is to help grape growers and vintners further hone production techniques to take full advantage of Nova Scotia’s unique soils and growing conditions.

The winery will allow researchers to investigate how locally grown varieties, growing conditions and vineyard practices affect the chemistry of the grapes. This in turn influences the finishing characteristics in the wine, including taste and aroma.

MacAulay said the opening of the state-of-the-art research winery marks another step forward for the province’s “outstanding” grape and wine industry. The industries in Nova Scotia continue to expand as producers strive to create the best tasting wines possible.

Scientific research now taking place will help improve the bottom line for vintners and grape growers. He said all of this work would contribute to producing the best possible wine in the most efficient way.

“Without a doubt, the market is expanding and, as they’ve indicated here, the market is the world,” MacAulay said.

In 2018, the province’s 23 licensed wineries produced 1.5 million litres of wine, valued at over $23 million and employing more than 700 people.

Being a farmer for many years, MacAulay appreciates the commitment of agricultural research scientists to their given fields. Without them, the benefits of the new research winery couldn’t come to fruition. MacAulay calls their dedication and contributions “amazing” and said they would work day and night on a given initiative.

Researchers will also study wine making techniques, working with commercial wineries to evaluate the impact of fermentation and temperatures on wine quality. This work will include the identification and use of natural yeasts found in Nova Scotia. These could contribute to unique characteristics in the province’s wine profiles.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

What they said:

“Investment in this research winery is exciting because it is part of a larger investment that we’ve seen at our centre over the last few years, not only just in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of our scientific team.” - Dr. Benoit Girard, Director General, Coastal Region, AAFC Science and Technology Branch 

“The industry is now growing and maturing with research rather than with just people growing grapes in the ground. We really feel that that’s excellent.” - Bruce Wright, President, Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia

“We’re proud of a product that we’re marketing all around the world with the name Nova Scotia on it…we really are taking our brand, our soil and our sunshine and those wonderful flavours all around the world and introducing other people to the great wine that we produce here.” - Alex MacDonald, Assistant Executive Director, Winery Association of Nova Scotia

Did you know?

  • The 360-square-metre winery is part of a wine research program that includes eight scientists, a vineyard and an ongoing research project to map the grape varieties, growing techniques and conditions of every vineyard in Nova Scotia.
  • Taste sensory panels will be part of the winery, with sommeliers and local wine makers likely to be part of the panels to assess the flavor characteristics of the experimental wine.
  • The lab will complement the leading-edge wine research program at AAFC’s Summerland Research and Development Centre in British Columbia.
  • Approximately 1,200 acres or 485 hectares of vineyards were under production in Nova Scotia in 2018.

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