2014 – A Good Year
What’s makes a good year for a winery in Nova Scotia? Hot days and cool nights, grapes that survive inclement weather, an opportunity to drop fruit, and a successful harvest. All of that happened this year!
2014 has been a great year for us as winegrowers and also marked the launch of our online presence to the world. Thank you to the many who have joined our newsletter and are following us on Twitter and Instagram. Your feedback, replies, follows, and Tweets allow us to share our stories and photos and are an essential part of growing our business.
We have thoroughly enjoyed working with our community of winemaking friends as viticulturists over the past six years, and are now poised to begin our next chapter, as we gear up to launch our wines in 2016.
Nova Scotia doesn’t usually see winter temperatures in the -20 range, but this year was an exception. Our vines survived, due to exceptional nutritional balance, but then we had a late frost and a hurricane to contend with! Burning bales of hay at the bottom of the vineyards in May to drain cold air away from the vines cured the frost problem, but then on July 7, Hurricane Arthur blew through. Strong winds and driving rain damaged our Muscat, reducing this year’s crop of that varietal, although it still achieved exceptional quality.
On the positive side, we’re happy to report that the benefits of creating balance in the natural systems through biodynamic viticulture are becoming increasingly clear. This is both exciting and affirming for us to witness. Our oldest plantings—Chardonnay from 2006—have become more immune to natural disease pressure. Our Pinot Noir also did particularly well, benefitting from a favourable summer after the slow start to the growing season. For both of these grapes, we were able to drop half the fruit and create varietal still wines.
…and Natural Expansion
Becoming fully self-sufficient has meant we needed to expand our crush pad and invest in more of our own equipment. It felt like Christmas in September when our new tanks, crusher/de stemmer, peristaltic pump, and custom vibrating sorting table arrived!
We’ve also added 4.5 acres of these rare and classic vinifera to our Oak Island vineyard:
- Chenin Blanc – Traditionally grown in Loire, France its speciality is making crisp – sometimes long-lived – wines with a varying degrees of sweetness.
- Scheurabe – Often referred to as a Riesling that has read the Kama Sutra. A German Riesling cross capable of producing intense, refreshing dry and sweet style wines. Often lending notes of lemon grass, grapefruit and cassis. A rare and almost extinct variety.
- Sauvignon Blanc – We planted for its aromatic notes of zest, bell pepper, and crispness.
- Kékfrankos – A German red also called Blaufränkisch and Limberger. It can produce wines with smooth tannins with very deep rich extraction, and spicy notes.
These grapes were chosen based on climate and soil chemistry, and will give us a leg up with future wine styles including, sparkling, still, and sweet wines.
Ongoing and Upcoming
Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards joined the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, while Mike was asked to participate as a board member on the new Nova Scotia Wine Development Board. Also new this year, he sits on the Kings County Federation of Agriculture (KCFA) Board.
We were very honoured and humbled by all of the positive accolades we have received this year by numerous wine writers and critics such as: Mark DeWolf, Jonathan Wilson, Sean Wood, Moira Peters, Craig and Jeff Phinney, Michael Godello, and David Lawrason.
And lastly, please help us congratulate Rachel Lightfoot on her graduation from Brock University’s Wine and Grape technology program!