Federal grape investment adds vines and scientists in Kentville

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on July 7, 2016

Federal scientific staff, Christianne Deslauriers, left, Mark Hodges and Benoit Girard watch Kings Hants MP Scott Brison water the grape vine he just planted in the new Kentville vineyard.

Wendy Elliott, Kingscountynews.ca

KENTVILLE - One more L’Acadie grape vine went into the new two-acre vineyard at the Kentville Research and Development Centre.

Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board, planted and watered it himself on July 7.

He also announced $400,000 to support a new wine grape research program at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Kentville Research and Development Centre.

The program will help Nova Scotia's award-winning wine industry grow, Brison said, with new information about varieties, growing techniques, and processing that will help grape growers and wineries take full advantage of the region's unique microclimates and land.

Three new federal scientists will be hired, Brison said, to complement existing research at the centre. The scientists will work directly with grape growers and vintners to map every vineyard in Nova Scotia. They will also record the unique characteristics of each microclimates and terroirs and the production and management practices at each location.

Speaking to the grape growers and winery owners in the audience, Brison said, there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of passion in this industry, which can help bring prosperity to small town and rural Nova Scotia.

Benoit Girard, director of research, development and technology transfer, called the new program very exciting.

“There’s a lot of potential, but we research,” he said, “in terms of growing vines, growing the right varieties, topography, soils and pests. In this cold climate, we also need to look at bud hardiness.”

Quick Facts

Kentville researchers will collaborate with the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Department at Brock University, and will work closely with the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, the Grape Growers of Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and local academic institutions to share best practices in the grape wine industry. The work will complement wine research being conducted at AAFC's Summerland Research and Development Centre in British Columbia, at academic institutions and within the industry across the country.