Annapolis Valley Wine Tour
Annapolis Valley, a valley and region in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, is known for its farmlands and some of the best growing areas in Canada. This tour takes you on a trip to the heart of it all. At its widest point between North and South Mountains near Grand Pre are four wineries; you will visit two of them on this tour.
The first stop will be Falmouth, the summer hunting and fishing grounds for Canada's first people. In the 1600s, the French Acadians began to move into this area (which they called Pisiguit), and develop the fertile land that it is today. Having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, the Acadians were the first to settle in the area, around 1685. During Queen Anne's War, in response to the French Raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, in the Raid on Pisiquid, a military officer named Benjamin Church burned the village to the ground and took prisoners to Boston. One of these prisoners was Acadian leader Noel Doiron.
Not far from the shores of the Avon River you will find - and tour - Sainte Famille Wines Ltd., a small family owned vineyard and winery located on an original Acadian village site known as La Paroisse Sainte-Famille De Pisiquit, which was settled around 1685. They are dedicated to the art of growing quality grapes and vinting them into elegant premium wines.
The tour continues to Gaspereau Winery, one of the younger wineries in the Annapolis Valley. This boutique winery showcases one of Nova Scotia's prettiest vineyards, which hugs the steep hillside overlooking the Gaspereau Valley. Opening its doors in 2004, this winery is winning accolades for its rich, full-bodied reds such as DeChaunac and Lucie Kuhlmann; and its flavorful whites such as L'Acadie Blanc, Seyval Blanc, New York Muscat and Riesling; as well as other premium estate-grown and limited-edition wines that reflect the care and passion of the owners.
Reviewer: Vicki Keune
This tour was one of the best I have ever been on. The two wineries were superb and the wines were awesome. The countryside was very enjoyable and the driver did a great job. I like that there were only 6 of us on this tour
Reviewer: Diane Jung
We enjoyed our tour and our tour guide Ken. He was very knowledgeable and fun to be with.
Reviewer: Wm John
Liz and I had booked the Annapolis Valley Wine Tour through Shore Excursions Group and their agent, Molega Tours. Our instructions indicated we would be met at the end of the terminal gangway by an individual representing Molega. Unfortunately, our cruise ship docked at a terminal within the restricted area of the port and we were instructed to take a shuttle to a different terminal outside of that area. We did so but were initially unable to find our guide. Another guide, from the same company, made some calls and learned that our contact was at the original site. Brian MacDonald, of Tours By Towncar, had been engaged by Molega Tours and he quickly determined that many people were being directed to shuttle to another terminal and he concluded we must have been in that group. Brian introduced himself and we set out to drive through Annapolis Valley to meet up with others on that tour. Along the way to the first stop we discussed other sites and information we would like to see and learn of in Nova Scotia. We toured the countryside as Brian, a retired teacher, told us of the history and culture of his home province. He complimented what we had learned the day before of the French fortification at Louisbourg at Cape Breton. a National Historic Site of Canada and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what today is Canada. I was able to reconnect with my studies of how the French impacted on the discovery and development of my home area on the Great Lakes. He also told us that in the 1600s, the French Acadians began to move into this area (which they called Pisiguit), and develop the fertile land that it is today. Having migrated from Port Royal, Nova Scotia, the Acadians were the first to settle in the area, around 1685. At his suggestion we drove through small villages as he told of the impact of the relocation of Acadians by the British in 1749 primarily because the Acadians were resisting the British firmly taking control of peninsular Nova Scotia through establishing Halifax and, within eighteen months, building fortifications in the major Acadian communities. The first winery we visited was Sainte Famille Wines Ltd., a small family owned vineyard and winery located on an original Acadian village site known as La Paroisse Sainte-Famille De Pisiquit. Eight other people had already arrived by bus and we joined in at the tasting of L'Acadie Blanc 2012, Avon Blanc 2012, and Avon River Red. Liz and I then shared a sample of Wild Blueberry and Maple Wine. The latter was an undisguised experiment for us. To my taste the L'Acadie Blanc was a delightful choice. As we learned of 18th century life, we also rode through the region to see multiple views of the Bay of Fundy as well. ""The Natural World, Greatest Tides: The greatest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy.... Burntcoat Head in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, has the greatest mean spring range with 14.5 meters (47.5 feet) and an extreme range of 16.3 meters (53.5 feet)."" With Brian's guidance we viewed the bay near Kingston at low tide from the advantage of looking out over ancient, still viable dikes built by the early Arcadians to develop farmland from the sea in the same way as the the Dutch farmers accomplished. Then he drove to an overlook near Clementsport to see a greater picture of the expanse of the bay. We finished observing the Lower Sackville harbor with a few fishing boats and a unique measure of the tides. Then we continued on to the second winery, Gaspereau Winery, one of the younger wineries in the Annapolis Valley. Here we sample the Gaspereau Muscat, Gaspereau Triomphe d'Alsace, and Gaspereau L'Acadie Blanc. Again, the L'Acadie Blanc was most impressive. A magnificent tour was salvaged from a chaotic beginning and made our day all we had planned. And we tasted wine varietals we had never tasted before... our original purpose of the tour.