Thursday, July 23. 2015
While taking a short break touring Southwestern Nova Scotia last week, I received an invitation to a ribbon cutting ceremony at the other end of the Province. This event, which took place on July 20th, was the ceremonial opening of an important joint venture between Fox Harbour Golf Resort & Spa and Devonian Coast Wineries. The Fox Harbour resort is the brainchild of native Nova Scotian, Ron Joyce, best-known for his leadership role in the iconic Canadian Tim Horton’s enterprise. Devonian Coast is the much-expanded version of Jost Vineyards, acquired by current owners, Carl and Donna Sparks in 2011. Devonian Coast is by far the largest viticultural enterprise in Nova Scotia, encompassing Gaspereau Vineyards in the Gaspereau Valley, Mercator Vineyards, just outside Wolfville, as well as the former Jost Vineyards in nearby Malagash.
Under a rainy sky, Nova Scotia’s Deputy-Premier and Finance Minister, Diana Whalen was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Despite the soggy weather, there was no mistaking how important this new venture will be to Cumberland County, as well as Nova Scotia as a whole. Fox Harbour has dedicated some 25 acres on the resort grounds to planting a new vineyard, with a further 25 acres under consideration for subsequent years. The first 10 acres have already been planted and will produce the first harvest in three years.
The planted section of the vineyard occupies a gentle slope, sweeping down to the shoreline and will be clearly visible to everyone arriving at the resort. Wines produced will be sold under the Fox Harbour Vineyards label and sold at the resort. Fox harbour residents will also each have their own row of grapes. As Carl Sparkes noted: “To have a world class resort like Fox Harbour participate in the Nova Scotia wine industry is a huge testament to how far we have come in recent years. The national and international exposure this brings to Atlantic Canada as a wine destination will benefit all wineries in the region.”
Jonathan Rodwell, Devonian Coast’s Director of Viticulture and Winemaking, brings a wealth of international experience to his role. He specialized in Fermentation Science, Viticulture and Enology at California’s celebrated UC Davis, subsequently spending many years in France, California and Italy, making wine and managing wine estates. He has opted to plant Nova Scotia's well-proven variety, l’Acadie, together with Riesling, in the new vineyard. The rationale is twofold: most importantly, to work with grapes that are best suited to the local terroir; secondly, these two varieties are well-suited to producing the sparkling wines as well as crisp, aromatic whites that are expected to be much in demand at the resort.
Rodwell has already left his stamp on currently available and much improved wines released under the Devonian Coast and Jost labels. Watch for my upcoming reviews of a selection of these wines which will be posted tomorrow, July 24th.