Package: Art, Food and Wine Tour of Nova Scotia
Wed, Oct 5, 2016 to Sun, Oct 9, 2016
Here in Nova Scotia, we know some things can't be rushed. Producing fine food and wines and creating fine art take time. We take pride in our craftsmanship. In our traditions that blend the Old World with the New.
Our rugged landscape has captivated artists since the 1700s and our distinct terroir, tempered by ocean breezes, produces innovative wines that display the hallmarks of classic cuvees, with a Nova Scotia signature. With 14+ wineries, 22 grape growers, and 550 acres under vine in seven distinct regions, Nova Scotia's soil and mesoclimates create some of the most distinctive premium-quality grapes in North America. Tidal Bay, officially launched in 2012, is the first wine appellation for Nova Scotia. It displays the unique characteristics of our cool climate region and pairs perfectly with local seafood.
Your Art, Food & Wine gourmet adventure begins October 5, 2015 as we travel from Halifax to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg, founded in 1753 (distance: 1 hour). Our first stop is the Ironworks Distillery, located in the old marine Blacksmith's Shop, where Pierre Guevremont and Lynne MacKay began crafting their spirits by hand in 2009, using a German still and local ingredients. We’ll sample their vodka, rum, blueberry and cranberry liqueur, eau de vie and apple brandy.
Cordon Bleu Chef Martin Ruiz Salvador combines his classical French training with his own Nova Scotian roots at Fleur de Sel restaurant. We’ll stop here for lunch and sample wines from Petite Riviere Vineyard, made exclusively from grapes grown in the LaHave River Valley. We’ll travel to Petite Riviere Vineyards (distance: 40 minutes). The area has a unique terroir framed by the Lunenburg County’s rocky soil and the long growing season enhanced by the ocean’s Gulf Stream. It is ideal for making bold fruity wines. Petite, as it is called by its customers, is most famous for its Reds.
The Boscawen Inn, a Queen Ann style mansion built in 1888 overlooks Lunenburg Harbour and the Old Town. We'll rest here for our first night, with chefs Mary Ann Feeney and Madonna Boland of Sweet & Saucey Catering providing a sumptuous 3-course meal at the Inn.
Oct. 6th. After a leisurely breakfast, we'll travel through Kejimkujik National Park, to timeless Annapolis Royal (distance: 2 hours). We'll have lunch at Café Restaurant Composé, where unique Viennese cuisine is served with a river view. Annapolis Royal, founded in 1605, is the smallest incorporated town in Nova Scotia, but with over 130 registered heritage properties, it is one of the largest National Historic Districts in Canada. We'll chat with local artists at ARTsPLACE before heading west to Annapolis Highland Vineyards, established in 2002 by Karen and Brendan Enright. Winemaker Haley Fisher combines their estate-grown grapes with those sourced from other vineyards to reflect the terroir of the Annapolis Valley. We'll sample their wines before moving on to the tidal village of Bear River. Here you'll experience a different pace of life. No traffic lights, no fast food restaurants, no big box stores, this "Village on Stilts" is suspended over the tide with hillside homes and churches clinging to the steep slopes and streets that rise from the river. The eight artists of Bear River Studios are within walking distance from one another. We'll take time to explore the village and meet some of the artists in their studios. Nova Scotia cuisine takes centre stage at Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa, one of three Nova Scotia Signature Resorts where we'll spend our second night. A shuttle service to the golf course nearby is available for those wishing to play.
Oct. 7th. After breakfast we'll follow the Harvest Highway into the heart of Nova Scotia Wine Country. We'll tour Domaine de Grand Pre Winery, founded in 1978 as the first winery in Nova Scotia. In 1993 Swiss businessman, Hanspeter Stutz bought the winery and restored it. His son, winemaker Juerg Stutz and his family continue the tradition. We’ll stay for a 2-course lunch at their award-winning Le Caveau Restaurant.
Gaspereau Vineyards is our next stop. European-trained, Nova Scotia-born sommelier Gina Haverstock is their winemaker. The first winery to establish in the valley, Gaspereau Vineyards is situated on the edge of a picturesque, 35-acre vineyard. Best known for outstanding Rieslings, Gaspereau Vineyards specializes in fruit-forward, terroir driven whites, and earthy, robust red wines. We'll then head to Benjamin Bridge, founded by Gerry McConnell and his late wife Dara Gordon. Their goal is to create great sparkling wines and Vidal icewine. Benjamin Bridge has distinguished itself as one of Canada's top producers of sparkling wine and built a national following for its critically-acclaimed Nova 7, which has helped raise the profile of Nova Scotia's wine industry in Canada and abroad. Tony Aspler Canadian wine author wrote: "Without question, the best sparkling wines I have tasted in Canada." Winemaker is Jean-Benoit Deslauriers.
We'll end the day with dinner at Blomidon Inn, where we’ll stay the night.This well-known Wolfville inn and restaurant has been honoured for the past decade for having one of “the World’s Best Restaurant Wine Lists” by WineSpectator Magazine. The dining fare is crafted whenever possible from local Annapolis Valley products and fresh catches from the waters of Nova Scotia.
Oct. 8th: We’ll visit Harvest Gallery on Main St. Wolfville before heading to Luckett Vineyards in the Gaspereau Valley for a tour and lunch. Pete Luckett’s British roots are evident throughout his winery, including an authentic London Red Phone Box in the vineyard, where you're welcome to make a free call to anywhere in North America. Winemaker: Mike Mainguy.
Our next destination is Fox Harb'r Golf Resort & Spa on the Northumberland Strait (distance: 2.5 hours). We'll spend the night here overlooking the golf course and bay. Built in 2000 by Tim Horton's coffee co-founder Ron Joyce, this four-diamond luxury resort offers tennis, golf, a spa, Olympic-size pool, gym and sport-shooting. We'll enjoy a light dinner before a brisk walk exploring the grounds. For golfers, there will be time for 9 holes (reservations required, not incl. in price).
Oct. 9th We'll begin the day with a hearty breakfast before our final winery tour at Jost Vineyards in Malagash (distance: 20 minutes). Owners Carl and Donna Sparks purchased the vineyard from the Jost Family, who now own a micro-brewery in nearby Tatamagouche. With 59 acres, Jost is the largest and longest operating winery in the Atlantic region. Their legacy of winemaking dates back 400 years to Germany where Josts continue to produce great wines. Their 1999 Vidal Icewine was declared Canada's Wine of the Year at the All-Canadian Wine Championships in Ontario. This was the first time in the 20-year history of the championships that a Nova Scotia winery won this prestigious award.
After lunch at Jost Winery, we'll follow the Sunrise Trail along the coast to Crombie House, a private art gallery owned by the Sobey Family (distance: 2 hours). This former family home now houses one of the largest private collections of Group of Seven works in the world.
On our way back to Halifax, we'll stop at Visual Voice Gallery in Truro (distance: 1 hour), where owner and graphic artist Nuri Guerra awaits us with a farewell wine and cheese in her intimate gallery dedicated to Nova Scotia artists. Here, we’ll vote on our favourite Nova Scotia wine from a sample of six wines we tasted on our tour. (distance to Halifax: 1 hour).
Photo of Luckett Vineyards by Jenna Davis