The surge of Nova Scotia wine

As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. This has never been more significant to Nova Scotia wine than now. Just this past March, the All-Party Parliamentary Canadian Wine Caucus, the Canadian Vintners Association and its partners (one of which is the Winery Association of Nova Scotia) announced the results of a research study into the Canadian wine and grape industry for 2015. The findings overall are significant but the results here in Nova Scotia are spectacular. More tourists than ever are visiting our Nova Scotia wineries and the overall economic impact of the wine industry to the province now stands at a whopping $218 million dollars.  I would venture to say that Tidal Bay, our Nova Scotia appellation wine, is a major contributor to this recent wave of success.

Tidal Bay is a style of wine that has very strict standards. It is a light white wine that has bright aromatics and a crisp backbone of acidity. To ensure this style of wine, only permitted grape varieties can go into the production of Tidal Bay and all of which must be farmed in Nova Scotia. It must adhere to certain winemaking principles to ensure that the wine smells like Nova Scotia and tastes like Nova Scotia. Just like the most successful appellation wines coming out of the Old World each potential wine needs to pass a blind tasting of approved judges to make sure the wine embraces this sense of place and style. Only then can the wine call itself, Tidal Bay.

A Tidal wave, also known as a bore or surge, is a natural phenomenon that can only be witnessed in a few places in the world where the conditions are just right. Lucky for us the Bay of Fundy coast, here in Nova Scotia, is one of those places. A tidal wave is so strong that it pushes up against the natural current of the water and can reverse the flow.  Just like a tidal wave, our signature wine, Tidal Bay, has reversed the thinking of our cool-climate region and driven the current of consumption and acceptance of our wine forward.

The story of Tidal Bay is an intriguing one. Just like a tidal wave reversing the current, the starting point of many great things usually begins with a disturbance from the usual way of thinking. Tidal Bay is no different. The idea was brought to Nova Scotia by Canadian icon in the wine scene, Peter Gamble. The idea was simple, collaborate as a region to create a Nova Scotia wine that celebrates our climate. A white wine that encapsulates the resulting crispness and aromatics that no other climate in Canada, let alone the world can duplicate.  Do so to secure Nova Scotia’s distinctiveness and bolster a Nova Scotia wine style as a collective.  It is also no coincidence that the style of Tidal Bay wine is perfectly suited to be paired with the food that our region is already known for, seafood. It’s a perfect pairing and an idyllic story of collaboration.  Since the inception of Tidal Bay in 2010 with only 6 wineries producing and a few hundred cases were sold, to the 2015 vintage featuring 12 wineries and surpassing 10,000 cases sold; it’s a Cinderella story of sorts about the little wine region and wine style that could.

You can see the evidence of the success of Tidal Bay everywhere you go. More Tidal Bay is on restaurant lists throughout the province then ever before, events have been created to celebrate the wine and this winter there were empty shelves of Tidal Bay everywhere. With the government investment into vineyard expansion in the province, more and more grapes suited for Tidal Bay production are being planted to support the wineries amped up production to keep up with the swell of demand.

The wine industry of Nova Scotia has created something exceptional with Tidal Bay. In just a few short years, fine wine drinking folks of our province have embraced the wine as their own and are sharing the story near and far. It is the telling of this story about the little obscure wine region of Nova Scotia and the wine style that could that is gaining momentum. But the amplitude of this tidal wave of success can be driven faster and further with each and every one of us. Continue to share the story, continue to support our farmers and continue to drink Tidal Bay. Just as Aristotle once observed, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Tidal Bay is a collective Nova Scotia wine. A distinctive wine style crafted by our climate, embraced by our winemakers and celebrated by us, the people of the province. It is this collaborative effort that will drive Nova Scotia wine and this Tidal Bay surge forward.