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Wind Down With Some of the Best Wines From Nova Scotia

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Did you know that around 80,000 people visit Nova Scotia each year? Tourists head out to Canada’s second-smallest province for cycling, fishing, and exploring the sandy beaches. Not many people know that this northern peninsula is also home to some of the most notable wines in the world. 

If you’re looking for some of the best wines on the Canadian mainland, Nova Scotia is the place to go. From white to red wines, countless varietals call “Canada’s Ocean Playground” home. 

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about wine from Nova Scotia. 

The Best Wineries in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia wineries are broken down into different regions. Each region has its characteristics.  

Annapolis Valley — East

Did you know that winemakers started growing grapes in Nova Scotia in the 1600s? The Canadian province was one of the first areas where grapes were grown in North America, and it all started in the Annapolis Valley. 

Eastern Annapolis Valley is referred to as the province’s wine country. There are 12 wineries in the area. 

Some wineries you can visit include:

  • Benjamin Bridge Vineyards
  • Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyards
  • Blomidon Estate Winery

You can’t go wrong with those options. 

Annapolis Valley — West

French settlers planted some of Nova Scotia’s oldest grapevines at Bear River Vineyards hundreds of years ago. Now the vineyard features stunning vistas of the Bay of Fundy. 

In addition to growing traditional wine grapes, the wineries in the western Annapolis Valley also make fruit wines with peach, plums, and raspberries. 

Check out the following wineries in Nova Scotia:

  • Casa Nova Fine Beverages
  • Bear River Vineyards
  • Beavercreek Winery

They’re as good as they sound!

Southshore

Nova Scotia’s Southshore region is mainly known for its coastal villages and beaches. A few wineries in Southshore feature distinctive wines, including fruit wines. 

Southshore’s wineries include:

  • Bulwark Craft Ciders & Muwin Estate Wines
  • Petite Riviére Vineyards
  • Lunenburg Country Vineyards

You’ll find a good variety of choices. 

Northumberland Shore

There’s only one winery currently located among the coastal inlets and rolling hills of Northumberland Shore. Jost Vineyards might be the only one in the area, but it’s also the largest winery in the province. Jost Vineyards is a pioneer in the wine industry and shouldn’t get missed. 

Cape Breton

Cape Breton is known for the Cabot Trails and one winery, Eileanan Brèagha. The winery overlooks the beautiful Bras D’Or Lake. The name comes from the owner’s Gaelic heritage and the gorgeous views of the islands on the lake. 

A Guide to Wine Tasting in Nova Scotia

Wine tasting is one of the most sought-after Nova Scotia attractions. There are a few ways you can approach wine tasting in the region. For example, you can focus on one region and visit all the wineries there. 

You can also book a wine tour through different companies in the area. Some also provide transportation, so you don’t have to worry about finding a designated driver. 

Are you planning a big event, like a birthday or bachelorette party? You can check out Nova Scotia’s Magic Winery Bus. 

The Magic Winery Bus is a double-deck bus that stops at various wineries. You can select different packages to choose from. Some of the packages offered include meals and tour guides. 

DIY Wine Tasting

If you can’t take a formal tour, you can easily plan your own wine tasting excursion to Nova Scotia. For those wanting to spend less money, start your day at Luckett Vineyards. They offer an inexpensive tasting fee that lets you sample around five wines. 

Stop for lunch at Mercator Vineyards. You can enjoy a picnic lunch while exploring the grounds. Domaine de Grand Pre is a short walk away from your next stop. 

Finish up your day with dinner at the Evangeline Inn. It’s a local favorite that also serves wine. You can top the night off with some homemade pie or crisp. 

Why Nova Scotia Is a Great Destination for Wine Lovers

If you’re planning a wine trip, your automatic reaction might be to make your destination the Napa Valley in California. Nova Scotia offers the same caliber of wines in a unique and picturesque location.  

Similar Climate to France

You might not consider Canada a region favorable to growing grapevines because of the intense winters the country gets. Nova Scotia has a cool climate with moderate winters. While they can’t make bold reds like Italy or California, they can produce other types of wine. 

Annapolis Valley has similar soil and climate to the Champagne area in France. While the sparkling wine produced in the Annapolis Valley can’t be called champagne, they still make it using the same methods. If you’re looking for sparkling wine, you might want to explore Benjamin Bridge Vineyards. 

Different Grape Varietals

Winemakers in Nova Scotia grow the same grapes that you can find in Switzerland, Germany, and France. However, the grapes grow differently in Nova Scotia. That’s because the region is closer to the water and the land is slightly different. 

While winters in Nova Scotia are milder than in other parts of Canada, the weather can still be unpredictably wet or cold. The grapes need to be disease resistant and hardy. 

Most of the grape varietals in Nova Scotia wine are hybrids. Some of the hybrid varietals include:

  • Cabernet Foch
  • Baco Noir
  • Cayuga
  • Leon Millot
  • New York Muscat

Winemakers have also been experimenting with common grapes or grapes originally from Asia or Europe. Another term is vinifera. Some of the original grapes winemakers work within Nova Scotia include:

  • Chasselas
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Gris

If you’re looking for the best white wine, you’ll find it in Nova Scotia. 

Explore the Best Wines Nova Scotia Has to Offer

You can find some of the best wines in the world right in Nova Scotia. Don’t miss out on what Eastern Canada has to offer wine lovers. 

Did you find this article helpful? Explore our blog to see more articles about traveling to Canada. 

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Sipping Your Way Through Napa Valley

If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a perfect weekend in Napa Valley, you’re missing out. 

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STAY AT A B&B OR DON’T STAY AT ALL

     A charming Bed & Breakfast will only amplify the quaintness of the whole experience. There are plenty of reasonably priced options available in the area. If you can sneak out on a Friday, it always makes for a better weekend if you can wake up at your B&B on Saturday morning.

ACTIVITIES GALORE!

     It’s hard to believe and potentially unnecessary, but there are plenty of great activities in Napa Valley that don’t involve wine tasting.

Oxbow Public Market: This lively market is perfectly nestled right against the Napa River. It’s full of plenty of vendors selling all sorts of fresh produce and also contains numerous restaurants. So this is a great place to grab a quick lunch.

The Silverado Trail: This beautiful trail just about runs the entire length of Napa Valley. It has amazing views and can be a perfect place to clear your head and get your calm on. And if you’re more of the active type, it’s great for biking!

Greenhaus Day Spa: What’s a weekend getaway without a trip to the spa? Greenhaus Day Spa in downtown Napa is widely considered the best spa in the area. Get the full treatment with a relaxing massage, a cleansing facial, and the all-important mani-pedi combo.

WINERIES ON WINERIES

     If we’re talking about Napa Valley, we’re talking about wine. There are plenty of amazing wineries and vineyards in Napa, but here are our personal favorites.

O’Brien Estate: This is one of the most popular wineries in all of Napa and actually requires booking your tasting in advance. Make sure you try the Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pride Mountain Vineyards: This vineyard requires a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. The whole property covers about 235 acres and has gorgeous views in every direction. When it comes to wine, their claims to fame are their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Merlot.

V. Sattui Winery: While the wine here is truly excellent, this spot is also great for a picnic lunch. You can grab everything you need in-house: the cheeses, the fresh bread, the antipasto spreads, and a nice bottle of wine and then grab one of the many picnic tables outside and take it all in.


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Food

Is A 24-Hour Vacation… Possible?

Five locations where a 24-hour vacation is completely possible.

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     Have a long layover? Maybe a day to kill during a longer trip? Or just like to get out of town? If any of those apply, these five cities are the best places in the world to spend a 24-hour vacation! 

ISTANBUL

     Istanbul is the ideal one-day vacation destination for the historian, as it lies right on the Bosphorus river, the geographical division point of Asia and Europe. The architecture in Istanbul is truly breathtaking as some of it has been there since the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Can’t-miss attractions include the Topkapi Palace, the former home of the Ottoman sultan, the Hagia Sophia, a sixth-century mosque, and the Grand Bazaar, which is the oldest covered market in the world. And if you have any extra time and feel like relaxing a bit, enjoy one of the city’s numerous Turkish baths, or historichammams.

AMSTERDAM

     Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it owes a lot of its beauty to its architecture. You could spend an entire day there just walking in and taking in the buildings and you wouldn’t feel like you’ve wasted your day. If you don’t feel like walking, there are also daily boat tours that travel along the many canals that run through the city. Not to mention the countless museums in Amsterdam all with amazing works of art. And of course, no Amsterdam vacation would be complete without a trip to the Anne Frank house.

 

SEATTLE

     The jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle may seem like a big city, but what makes it attractive for a short trip is the fact that many of its best attractions are all very close to each other. Even with only 24 hours, you’ll have enough time to take in the Museum of Pop Culture, the Space Needle, and the world-famous Pike Place Market. Try to throw one of those fish if they’ll let you. It’s harder than you think!

HONG KONG

     Hong Kong is one of the biggest and fastest-moving metropolitan cities in the world. The sights and views and endless and bountiful in this lively city. Be sure to check out the giant Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, and of course the Hong Kong Museum of History. If you’re a tea nut, rumor has it that the MingCha Tea House has some of the best tea in the city. And the best part about Hong Kong? Unlike the rest of China, anyone visiting from North America or Europe don’t have to get a visa in advance. 

REYKJAVIK

     Reykjavik is the capital of one of the most scenically beautiful countries in the world, Iceland. It is the home of the famous Blue Lagoon, the geothermal spa that you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed more than once. There you can also find the architectural feat, Hallgrimskirkya. Which is just an enormous, beautiful church. And, if you’re feeling saucy, take a tour of the Phallological Musem, which is a museum entirely dedicated to, well, phalluses.

 


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Food

Making The Stop At Roadside Attractions

Taking the time to stop and enjoy the roadside attractions.

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     Road trips aren’t just about point A & point B; it’s about the journey. The highways of America are filled with unique roadside attractions that divert your attention when traveling to your roadside attraction. Instead of driving past these attractions, let’s examine the best. 

CABAZON DINOSAURS

     You may recognize these roadside dinosaurs from the movie “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” These two giant concrete dinosaurs named Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex are located in Cabazon, CA. You can find these behemoths just West of Palm Springs, California on the 10 freeway. Dinny and Apatosaurus measure 150 feet and Mr. Rex a Tyrannosaurus Rex is 65 feet. You can even make your way inside the T-Rex’s head!

Sadly, the original owners sold the roadside attraction in the mid-90s and the new owners put a Creationist museum on the property. 

CARHENGE

     Head to Alliance, Nebraska next time you are driving through the heartland of America and stop by Carhenge. It’s the full-scale replica of Stonehenge in England… but made with junker cars. Artist Jim Reinders studied the original sculpture while living in England and came home to make the statue as a memorial to his recently deceased father. Made with 39 cars, which were upended and dug into the ground.

PENNDOT ROAD SIGN SCULPTURE GARDEN

     A small art school in Pennsylvania came up with the brilliant idea to repurpose old street signs and turn them into a wonderful piece of roadside art. Allegheny College sponsored the attraction and students created all the art. The art spans a quarter-mile stretch of Smock Highway just southwest of Meadville, PA. If you are traveling through Pennsylvania this summer, stop by.

CADILLAC RANCH

     If you are driving through Texas, chances are you are cruising Interstate 40, which drives through Amarillo. This is where you’ll find Cadillac Ranch, a huge art installation made by three hippies from San Francisco, CA. They took a bunch of old Cadillacs and buried them hood first into the ground, then covered them with graffiti.

PORTER SCULPTURE PARK

     When driving through the barren wasteland of South Dakota on Interstate 90, around 25-miles West of Sioux Falls, you’ll stumble upon the Porter Sculpture Park. Imagine huge metal sculptures in a wide-open field and the only backdrop is Mt. Rushmore off in the distance. You’ll find over 50 huge sculptures on the 10-acre park. The biggest piece of art is easily the giant bull’s head, which measures 60-feet-tall, which just happens to be the same size as the face on Mount Rushmore.


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