Unfortunately, this summer was so jam-packed, I didn’t get to complete everything on my to-do list. The top of my “did do” list was completing the Wines of Nova Scotia wine passport. However, I wasn’t totally defeated. This summer’s highlights were first-time visits to Luckett Vineyards in Gaspereau in the spring, and first-time visits at both Petite Riviere Vineyards in Petite Riviere on the South Shore and Avondale Sky, near the Bay of Fundy over Labour Day weekend.
Petite Riviere Vineyards
Let’s get this out of the way: I grew up in Lunenburg County, where Petite Riviere is located, and we excelled in mangling the pronunciation. If you want to sound local (or locally knowledgeable), the community is pronounced “Puh-teet Ruh-veer.” It looks French, but that’s about it.
That said, my inaugural visit to Petite Riviere Vineyards was a delight. Located on a steep hill in the LaHave River Valley, the winery is built on a steep, sunny hill just a short drive from the Atlantic Ocean.
The tasting room is located on top of the hill, with a nice patio giving you a sweeping view of the grapes below. The cozy tasting room features a rustic piano and a long bar for tasting and wine education.
I tasted a few of their wines, and made the pleasant discovery of the 2011 Wedding Dance, a light sparkling, and rosé called Lulu featuring their Leon Millot grapes.
After the tasting, I took the long way back to my car and got to see some of the grape-growing in action. This summer’s hot, dry weather has been pretty terrific for our province’s grape growers, and I’m one of the many people excited to see what sort of amazing wine is coming our way.
Avondale Sky Winery
The next day, I had an epic road trip driving around Route 215 in Hants County and taking in some tidal bore rafting. After hearing their story, which involves floating the church which now their shop up a river, I was looking forward to visiting Avondale Sky Winery.
The shop and tasting area is spacious, and retains many of the features of the building’s former use.
This is the first year for Avondale Sky’s retail operation and I had a great time getting to know the wines of Avondale Sky, picking up another great rosé called Lavender, and a L’Acadie Blanc, featuring Nova Scotia’s signature grape. Afterward, a winery staffer took me on a short walk around their grounds, so I could take a look at their grounds and see all of the great grapes growing on the vines.
Again, after our hot, dry summer, it’s shaping up to be a great grape harvest, if these L’Acadie Blanc grapes are any indication.
While I made a good dent in my wine passport this summer, I will definitely again next year to get a perfect score!