Tidal Bay: Nova Scotia’s Signature Wine

Vineyards in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley/photo by Gavin Gangille via Wikimedia Commons

Canada’s Nova Scotia province—located on the Atlantic Coast and including several islands—is known for the Cabot Trail (hailed as one of the world’s most scenic drives), the Halifax Waterfront, Peggy’s Cove (a charming fishing village), whale watching, music festivals, and delicious lobster.

These days, the area is also known for its wine. More than 20 wineries are currently producing world-class wines in Nova Scotia—hailed as Canada’s smallest and coolest-climate wine region.

Nova Scotia produces a range of wines, reserving particular pride for a unique style of wine known as Tidal Bay. The name “Tidal Bay” is strictly regulated and reserved for still (non-sparkling) white wines produced from 100% Nova Scotia grapes. Tidal Bay wines are fresh and crisp in acidity, dry to off-dry, moderate in alcohol (11% abv is the maximum permitted), and highly aromatic. They are ideal to pair with the area’s abundant seafood dishes and are billed as Nova Scotia in a glass, reflecting the climate, terroir, and culture of the region.

The requirements for use of the name “Tidal Bay” (as defined by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia) include the following:

  • 100% Nova Scotia grapes
  • A minimum of 51% (combined) of the final blend must be comprised of primary grape varieties. These are:
    • L’Acadie Blanc (complex hybrid [Cascade X Seyve-Villard 14-287] created by Ollie A. Bradt of Ontario)
    • Seyval Blanc (complex, French-created hybrid)
    • Vidal (complex, French-created hybrid)
    • Geisenheim 318 (German hybrid [Riesling X Chancellor])
  • Secondary grape varieties—including Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Chasselas, Ortega, Siegfried, Osceola Muscat, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Petit Milo, and Cayuga—are optional, but may be included up to a (combined) total of 49% of the blend.
    • Other grapes grown in Nova Scotia (tertiary varieties) are permitted to be included in limited amounts (up to 15% of the blend).
  • A maximum of 2% residual sugar (although there are exceptions based on the wine’s acidity and overall taste profile)
  • Limited, minimal, or no skin contact
  • Little or no influence of new oak
  • The wine must be vintage-dated and approved by a five-person tasting panel 

Peggy’s Cove (Nova Scotia)

With the number of grapes (and potential blends) allowed in the final mix, every Tidal Bay wine has the potential to be unique. However, during my research (and tasting) I found the following aroma/flavor descriptors to be apt: peach, apricot, pear, green apple, citrus (orange, tangerine, lemon) candied ginger, mineral/minerality, mint, and flowers.

Outstanding producers of Tidal Bay include Benjamin Bridge, Domaine de Grand Pré, and Jōst Vineyards.

Nova Scotia produces a wide range of other cool-climate wines in addition to Tidal Bay. On your next road trip through this beautiful area, be sure and seek out the region’s sparkling wines, piquette, crisp white wines (Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are standouts), icewine, and Cabernet Franc rosé. 

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About that name: The Bay of Fundy—one of the many natural wonders of Nova Scotia—is located between the Canadian province of New Brunswick and the island of Nova Scotia. The funnel-shaped bay is home to some of the highest tides on the face of the earth; the tidal surge can be as high as 43 feet (13 meters). In comparison, the worldwide average tidal range (height difference between high tide and low tide) is 3 feet and 3 inches (1 meter). The Bay of Fundy experiences two high tides a day, each about 12 hours and 26 minutes apart. With each high tide, 100 billion tons of seawater flow inland.

As the tide recedes, miles of ocean-front property makes itself available to hikers, picnickers, and bird watchers—every summer, the area is visited by 30,000 migrating sandpipers (and the folks who follow them). It’s no wonder Nova Scotia’s signature wine goes by the name “Tidal Bay.”

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

The Outer Limits is my series of appreciative posts about small, obscure, or out-of-the-way wine regions.

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

One Response to Tidal Bay: Nova Scotia’s Signature Wine

  1. Pingback: Tidal Bay: Nova Scotia’s Signature Wine - Wines of Nova Scotia

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