We visited three wineries and vineyards during our journey and had commentary by our guide throughout the day, but we began our experience with a three-on-three challenge to discern the scents that are commonly found in wines. My team managed to get the win by guessing more scents. It was an amusing way to get into the feel of what we would be doing for the remainder of the day.
Our first stop was at Sainte Famille, a lovely and welcoming winery. Of the three we visited, this was by far the most personal and warm. The owner met us and showed us around the vineyard before serving us samples of various wines made on site. It was facinating to learn more about the differences in wine flavours and scents, which I knew of only through talk my parents shared about wine (they make their own) and the very few times I’ve had wine to drink. If you have a chance to visit any winery in Nova Scotia, I’d recommend this one for the casual atmosphere.
Next we went to Domaine de Grand Pré, the province’s best known and most stylish winery. We toured the beautiful grounds (see the courtyard panorama) and saw more grape vines (I enjoyed noticing the differences between the species) before going to the terrace dining area of Restaurant Le Caveau, the Pergola. There we had more wine and delicious, high class meals. I had the Swiss Cheese Quiche (served with fresh green salad) as it was the vegetarian meal of choice. I was floored by how good it was; that was definitely a highlight of the trip. After lunch we visited the shop for more wine tasting and a look around the very nice, though small, art gallery. I can’t recall the name of the man who was featured, but his work was excellent. Before leaving I made sure to purchase a bottle of L’Acadie Blanc, a distinctively Nova Scotian wine that I enjoyed tasting at each site we visited.
Our final stop was at Gaspereau Vineyards, a vineyard and boutique where we were served fantastic cheeses and once again given many wines to sample. My favourite wine of the day was a maple wine served at Gaspereau. Those who know me know of my love for maple (I shared a story with my co-workers about my affinity for piping hot maple syrup freshly filtered – it’s the best sugar rush you’ll ever experience), so that wine was an obvious match for my palette. The range of flavours as a whole was the best aspect of this site. There I bought a pair of wine glasses and a cork screw made with a grape vine as the handle (it’s quite nice and will likely end up as a present for one of my wine-drinking relatives or friends).
I’m sure I drank more wine in this one day than I have in all my life. The day was tremendously fun and I’ll have no problem enthusiastically recommending it to guests of the hotel. If you’re a wine enthusiast and plan to visit Halifax (or live here and want to make a day trip to the valley), Valley Wine Tours can provide you with a wonderful time.