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No sour grapes in North River

Joan Gibson celebrated her Thanksgiving weekend by harvesting grapes for wine at Goose Landing Vineyard in North River.
Joan Gibson celebrated her Thanksgiving weekend by harvesting grapes for wine at Goose Landing Vineyard in North River. - Fram Dinshaw
NORTH RIVER, N.S. —

Scissors snipped at the vines, as bunches of grapes fell softly into buckets.
And Joan Gibson laboured with a smile, joining roughly 30 other people harvesting grapes for wine at Goose Landing Vineyard Sunday.
“It’s an ode to the harvest,” said Gibson, of Truro. “It’s a Thanksgiving thing. It makes you feel like you’re connecting back with the old-time harvesting.”
Gibson helped harvest about 6,000 lbs. of grapes at Goose Landing Sunday. Later, the crateloads of product, about three tons in all, was loaded onto a truck and taken to Benjamin Bridge winery in the Gaspereau Valley.
Once there, Goose Landing’s grapes will be used to help make Benjamin Bridge’s trademark Nova 7 hand-crafted wine.   
But reaching the final product requires hours of labour from hands like Gibson’s.
Cutting bunches of grapes into buckets brought back memories of Gibson’s own youth.
As a child, Gibson and her parents would drive down to her great-uncle’s farm in the Annapolis Valley every fall. 
Gibson would often join him as he harvested his crops, staying in the fields from 5:30 a.m. to sunset. At the end of each visit, Gibson and her parents would “load up the whole car with the harvest and bring it home.”
“It gave me a huge appreciation for the long and hard days the farmers work,” said Gibson. “Our ancestors had to work so much harder than we do to get food on the table and we just go to the grocery store and pick it up and maybe don’t have the appreciation of all the labour that did go into it.”
For Goose Landing Vineyard, all the hard labour this year is paying off.
The grapes harvested on Oct. 13 will be enough for about 2,000 bottles of wine. 
This year’s bumper crop is a far cry from last year, when frost wiped out most of Goose Landing’s grapes, resulting in no harvest.
Vineyard co-owner Al Bégin said the harvest was a chance for volunteers to learn about Nova Scotia’s growing wine industry and the process of “grape to glass.”
“We’ve always done this as a community project,” said Bégin. 
After the grape harvest wrapped up around midday, the volunteers enjoyed some wine-tasting and cold-cut snacks.
Goose Landing’s vineyard is approximately one acre at 592, Hwy. 311 and also includes Raging Crow Distillery Inc. The operation is run by Bégin and partner Jill Linquist.

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