Early Autumn Update
As we move out of a bustling summer season, with autumn and harvest quickly approaching, we’d like to pause and share the following news from the farm:
New team members
Matthew Patterson – Viticulturist
We are delighted to introduce Matthew Patterson, who joined the Lightfoot & Wolfville team in May as a full-time viticulturist. Matt spent the last nine years managing quality vineyards in British Colombia’s Okanagan Valley while completing formal viticulture training from Okanagan College and Washington State University. He and his lovely partner, Christina, are both from Nova Scotia and moved home to be closer to family and join this evolving industry as they raise their young children. Viticultural acumen aside, when we discovered Matt’s proficiency with the bagpipes, we knew he was the real deal and would make a natural fit back here on the East Coast.
Joining us from Germany for the upcoming vintage, Lukas is passionate about the entire process of winegrowing, from planting through to bottle. Lukas has worked in various different positions within the industry in numerous wine regions including Austria, the Netherlands, Curaçao, New Zealand, Germany, and Australia. Lukas met our Head Winemaker, Josh, while on holiday in Niagara a few years ago. Beside wine and travel, Lukas is interested in food, hiking and running. We feel fortunate to have Lukas sharing some of his experience with us and look forward to introducing him to the way of life in Nova Scotia.
The construction of our new retail facility/tasting room has begun and is progressing quickly! The building is now noticeable from the road just before Wolfville town limits on Hwy #1 (adjacent to Roselawn Cottages). Total construction is estimated to take 12 months. We look forward to opening our doors to the public next summer for tastings, on-farm sales, tours, and events. A professional rendering depicting the completed building is currently being created – keep an eye out for it in our next newsletter.
Drone photograph of the retail construction site – taken by Jamie Robertson of Grand Pré, August 13th 2016
It was a particularly busy spring this year in the barns and pastures at Lightfoot & Wolfville. We had four new lambs born, making our flock of Babydoll sheep eleven. Following the lambs, there were twenty-two Berkshire-cross piglets born to two sows.
Why the animals?
The animals help provide provide diversity to the vineyards, together creating a whole farm (think opposite of a monoculture). The mixed sheep, cattle, and pig manure is utilized in the creation of our compost; a cornerstone of biodynamic farming. This compost adds organic matter to the vineyards which is crucial as we do not use any chemical fertilizers. The Babydoll sheep have a second important job as organic lawn mowers. This time of year they keep busy grazing the pasture land around the lower block of the Wolfville vineyard. In the early spring they will go to work weeding within the vineyard rows.
Inspired by the farm-to-table food movement and fitting with our whole-farm approach, we plan to serve our own free-range, cured pork products in the retail facility, along with fresh produce from our on-site kitchen gardens. As biodynamic farmers, there is always this drive to create a truly self-sustaining operation. Ultimately, it’s important for us to know where and how the food we eat and serve was grown. Whatever we are unable to grow ourselves we will source from other like-minded farmers in our local community.
The 2014 vintage of the Lightfoot & Wolfville Ancienne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are now available for purchase at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, the Halifax Seaport Market on Sundays, and at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax. Due to the small-lot nature of these wines, quantities available are limited and moving fast.
Sold out wines
We have sold out of the 2014 Pinot Rosé and the 2013 Ancienne Reserve Chardonnay. There may be a few remaining bottles of each still available at Bishop’s Cellar. Those are the last so grab them up quickly if you’re interested.
The 2015 vintage of Pinot Rosé will be released in a few weeks’ time. Similar in style to the 2014, this dry rosé pairs beautifully with poultry dishes, making it the perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.
Our winemaking team is excited to soon share with you the first ever Lightfoot & Wolfville Riesling release. The 2015 Estate Riesling is now in bottle and will be released later this fall.
We will announce these releases closer to the dates (with details for opportunities to taste) via social media.
It was an honour to receive the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Nova Scotia Wines on July 22nd for our 2014 Ancienne Chardonnay. This award was designed to recognize the quality of locally sourced and produced wines, and honours the dedication and craft of those in Nova Scotia’s vibrant wine industry. Submissions are open to wines made from 100 per cent Nova Scotia grape content and recipient wines are chosen through a blind tasting by an independent panel of wine experts. We would like to congratulate Gaspereau Vineyards and Avondale Sky who also received this award.
Following a fairly mild, easy winter, the Annapolis Valley saw an average spring with normal rainfall. The summer season has been much warmer and drier than average. As a result, disease pressure in the vineyards is low. Warmer, drier years such as this are associated with quality wine production in our region. We welcome the potential for a slightly reduced crop for the trade off of enhanced flavour development. Smaller berry size, concentration of flavours, and less pressure from disease should provide some terrific wines. Overall, our Estate vines look healthy with a well-balanced crop and we are excited about the good potential for a quality vintage. This year, our goal is to produce approximately 4000 cases, a steady increase from 2500 cases last year. As always, anything could happen between now and harvest so we remain vigilant, hopeful, and humble while working with the forces of nature.
Photo of “Bud break” in the Estate Chardonnay block – mid to late May – falling in line with the five-year average for this property