It’s the Labor Day long weekend, and it got me thinking of how much love goes into making a bottle of wine. When we enjoy our favorite red, white or sparkling beverage this weekend, let’s take a moment to salute the labors of multitudes of hard-working people. From grape growers, viticulturists, vintners, field workers, to bottlers, distributors, and of course retailers just to name a very few.
Right here in Nova Scotia, there are 22 grape growers and almost two dozen wineries. They contribute 196 million dollars to the Nova Scotia economy and we have an Atlantic Wine Institute based at Acadia University. On a national level, the wine industry contributes 6.8 billion dollars to the national economy. I bet you never realized how much you were helping the local, provincial and national economy by opening a bottle of wine, did you? Well now you can feel even better about enjoying your favorite beverage.
Canada is one of the premier producers of ice wine, getting renowned for ice wine internationally. Ice wine is made from grapes that have frozen on the trees, and harvest is usually done in late fall, or even as late as January, when temperatures have dropped below -10 degrees. And then the grapes are pressed while frozen to produce a sweet concentrated piece of heaven. One of my absolute favorites is an ice wine from right here in Nova Scotia. The Borealis by Benjamin Bridge is a little piece of heaven. Gorgeous amber color in the class and rich sweet flavors of apricots and peaches. It’s elegant and I would rather have this for dessert than any chocolate convection. I’m not kidding. And for this Labor Day weekend, I am thrilled and super excited to be visiting this vineyard and meeting the winemaker. That’s how I’m celebrating Labor Day and I couldn’t be happier.
Before I move on, I have to salute another local wine, that I tried yesterday for the first time. It’s from Avondale Sky winery, and it was their 2013 Tidal Bay. For those of you that don’t know what Tidal Bay is, it is Nova Scotia’s signature wine. Tidal Bay reflects the terroir, coastal breezes and cooler climate of its birthplace. And each one is different. The wineries have guidelines that they have to follow, and a list of grapes they can use, but essentially each one is different. Each Tidal Bay is also a signature of the winemaker from each winery. My friend Dan told me he recently tried a Tidal Bay and loved it and then the next night tried a different one, and didn’t like it. I love the fact each one is different. This one from Avondale Sky was rich in the mouth and crisp and bright all at the same time. Beautiful flavors of apple and peach and some warm toastiness. I loved it. Here’s what the winemaker had to say and you get to appreciate how each Tidal Bay is unique:
“This wine is a blend of nine separate ferments. A complex combination of different yeast, different fermentation vessels (96% Stainless, 4% Barrel fermented), different levels of natural sweetness, different terroirs, and of course different grapes were used to build as much complex character into this wine as possible.”
Here’s what I have on my menu this weekend
And this is the wine I’m going to be having with it
You know how much I love discovering new wines. Especially great wines with great price tags that don’t break the bank. The Pierre Amadieu Cote du Rhone is a fantastic blend of Syrah and Grenache. One of the surprising things I learned on my journey to becoming a Sommelier, was that the poorer the soil, the richer the wine. And the grapes for this wine were grown in soil that was poor and stony. Well it produced a great wine, and at $17.99, (yep, under $20) makes me love it all the more. Rich plums and blackberries with a hint of oak. No matter what you plan to throw on the grill this weekend, this could be your wine. Pierre Amadieu is a family owned and worked winery in the Cote du Rhone region of France, and have produced a wonderful wine. Hats off to them this Labor Day weekend.
Long weekends and wine go hand in hand together. And this long weekend, stay safe and drink responsibly. But do take a moment to enjoy your favorite beverage as we say goodbye to Summer. (sniff sniff!) And salute all the people who were responsible for bringing that beverage to you.
Till next weekend, Cheers