(POSTED: August 23, 2006)
Winemaker Sees Red
With the number of commercial wineries in the province poised to move into double figures, Hanspeter Stutz says the time to be satisfied with producing medium quality wine has long past.
Stutz is the owner of Domaine de Grand Pre, which produces 16 different wines, several of which have earned medals at national competitions. He says the only way for Nova Scotia’s wine industry to continue to grow is to concentrate on turning out top quality products, especially those that are unique to the province.
"We know we have a beautiful L’Acadie Blanc here . . .You can taste 15 different L’Acadie Blancs in the province and you have more or less 15 different flavours," Stutz says.
"It’s the wine maker’s choice — you can find L’Acadie Blanc with a light, sweet underbase, you can find a very clean, dry L’Acadie Blanc like ours."
At least six of Nova Scotia’s wineries produce L’Acadie Blanc, a white wine made from grapes which were first planted here in 1978 and are prized for their suitability to our climate.
Wine lovers who visit wineries in the Annapolis Valley have the choice of several versions of the wine.
"They actually sample three different L’Acadie Blancs on our tour, at Sainte Famille, at Gaspereau Valley Vineyards and at Domaine de Grand Pre," says Sean Buckland of Valley Wine Tours.
"And because of the different terroir and the different micro-climates of each winery, the L’Acadie Blanc is very different at all three."
Now, Stutz is working to convince everyone in the winery association to work together on a signature red wine for Nova Scotia. He got the idea when he kept getting calls to try the wines of small private local growers who grow one or two rows of grapes, and blend different varietals together. He found some of these wines surprisingly good, although he points out picking one row of grapes is a different process than harvesting five or 10 acres.
Jost Winery in Malagash has enjoyed positive reviews of its Trilogy, a red wine that’s a blend of Baco Noir, Leon Millot and Marechal Foch grapes, and Stutz says he and Hans Christian Jost share similar goals and philosophies.
"The idea is to formulate some rules that say, perhaps, five wines must be included, different varietals like (Marechal) Foch, Lucie Kuhlmann, Baco Noir, Leon Millot and perhaps a Castel or something for number five. These are the varietals that must be in this wine to call it . . . whatever we call it. The rest is the fantasy and creation and innovation of the winemaker," says Stutz.
"It’s quite a challenge in the industry — the red wine drinker is the wine connoisseur, generally. If we talk about a culinary experience, we have beautiful white wines and, it’s nothing against white wines, but the challenge is to produce an excellent, top red wine."
"If you hear ‘Chianti’ you know it’s from Italy, Tuscany. If you hear ‘Heritage’ it’s a blend, a signature red from B.C. We can create something like this, so when you hear the name it equals Nova Scotia."