Gaspereau Vineyards Opens its Doors
...the quiet and bucolic Gaspereau, with its perfect slopes and exposures, may well be the jewel in the crown of Nova Scotia viticulture.
August 23, 2004
The beautiful summer afternoon of August 19th marked a new milestone for the Nova Scotia Wine industry. The momentous occasion was the Grand Opening of Gaspereau Vineyards, the sixth grape winery in the province, and the first in the picturesque Gaspereau Valley adjacent to the Annapolis Valley outside of Wolfville.
Industry and trade people, representatives from the provincial government and the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, as well as a throng of supporters of Nova Scotian viticulture were all on hand to celebrate with the Jost family, owners of this new boutique winery.
Showing their support, nearly every other winery owner in the province was also present to congratulate the Josts on their new venture.
The winery will focus on the signature varieties of the province, New York Muscat and L’Acadie Blanc, with Lucie Kuhlmann, DeChaunac, Vidal and Ortega rounding out the balance of the product line-up. The quality of the wines from Gaspereau Vineyards has already been acknowledged with medal wins this past April at the All-Canadian Wine Championships, and again in August at the Taster’s Guild International Wine Competition in Michigan.
While vineyards have existed in the tiny Gaspereau Valley for nearly 30 years now, this is the first winery to open its doors here. It seems fitting that this important step has been taken by Hans Christian Jost, who has been at the forefront of the Nova Scotia wine industry for the past decade and a half. Hans Christian’s father, Hans Jost Sr. launched Jost Vineyards in Malagash on the Northumberland Shore in 1983. With studies at the prestigious Geisenheim Institute in Germany’s Rheingau region, it was clear that Hans Christian was being groomed to take over the family business. This transition would happen sooner than expected, with Hans Sr’s early passing. The winery suddenly fell into the young but able hands of Hans Christian, whose education would continue at the helm of the nascent family business. With a still uncertain future for a wine industry in the province, young Hans Christian forged ahead, maintaining contracts with growers, producing consistently improving wines, and perhaps the toughest battle of all -- changing perceptions about Nova Scotia wine in the mindset of the local market. Twenty years later, Jost Vineyards is unquestionably the leading grower and producer of wine in the province, and along the way the Josts have encouraged vineyard development in many distinct parts of the province, from the South Shore, to Cape Breton.
Originally planted in 1997, these meticulously tended vineyards clinging to the slopes of the Gaspereau Valley are the result of Hans Christian’s quest to identify the best places to grow grapes in Nova Scotia. Until the 2002 vintage, all the fruit from Jost’s 35 acre Gaspereau vineyard had been used to supplement the production at his Malagash winery. Subsequent harvest are strictly for producing wines at the new winery that reflect the distinctive character of this special vineyard location.
Since the first commercial vineyards were planted in Nova Scotia back in the mid 1970’s, many have suspected that the quiet and bucolic Gaspereau, with its perfect slopes and exposures, may well be the jewel in the crown of Nova Scotia viticulture. With the opening of the Gaspereau Vineyards, and the tremendous quality of its wines, this would-be appellation is well on the way to proving that hypothesis correct. It won’t be long before Gaspereau Vineyards has company in the valley. Slated for opening in the near future is the Gaspereau Valley’s second winery, Benjamin Bridge, which will concentrate on sparkling wines made from Nova Scotia’s signature varieties L’Acadie Blanc and NY Muscat. Until the sparkling production begins, the fruit from the Benjamin Bridge property is under contract to Gaspereau Vineyards and is being produced as a vineyard designated bottling of Muscat. Along with the other farm wineries of the province, Gaspereau Vineyards wines are available from the winery tasting room and store, or at the Halifax Farmers Market.
The addition of Gaspereau Vineyards to the Nova Scotia wine scene demonstrates that a local wine industry, based on locally grown fruit, is not only viable but, indeed, prosperous and growing. The new winery also brings the industry one step closer to attaining a sufficient critical mass of wineries to justify a proper Wine Trail -- a crucial element for Nova Scotia to be perceived as a legitimate wine destination with our local wineries being recognized and appreciated as a significant part of the province’s all important tourism sector.
Bravo to Hans Christian Jost, his family and his dedicated staff of industry professionals for their continued service to the Atlantic Canadian wine culture!