L'Acadie Vineyards Blog
Welcome to the L'Acadie Vineyards blog and winery news
We are pleased that our 2015 Prestige Brut Estate earned a bronze and 88 points at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards held in London, England. Scoring in the top 15 sparkling wines in Canada at this prestigious wine competition, this is the third vintage in a row for our certified organic and vegan Prestige Brut Estate to be awarded. Grapes are from the same block of our organic and vegan estate vineyard planted with L’Acadie blanc in 2006 on ancient seabed soil of schist, sandstone and slate gravels.
“We bought our 30 acres of paradise in Gaspereau back in 2004 inspired by the soil and location potential for sparkling wine. It is so satisfying to earn international awards for our sparkling wines that are rooted over a metre deep into organic living soil.”, Bruce Ewert, co-owner and winemaker L’Acadie Vineyards.
Spring Wineshop Opening
Wineshop and Tastings
Our wineshop at our Gaspereau winery near Wolfville opens May 6, 2022. Wine tastings and wine tours are by appointment and outside again this year to ensure COVID safe and intimate experiences. Masks are required in the wineshop.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30-5pm, Sundays 12-4pm
We are very excited to greet visitors this tourist season with our award winning still and sparkling wines!! Certified organic and vegan, from soil to glass!!
2021 Tiday Bay - we join other wineries of Nova Scotia is presenting our style of Tidal Bay, crisp and dry with enhanced minerality from our rocky ancient seabed terroir. Certified organic wine and certified Biocyclic Vegan wine, from soil to glass. Vertical tastings available while our library of 2020 Tidal Bay lasts!
2021 Star - It's back! We haven't released Star for several years, and many will remember this past award-winning white wine. Rich and weighty from skin contact of the ripest vegan and organic grapes from 2021!
2020 Joie de Vivre - our newest sparkling wine, charmat method! A huge crowd pleaser and perfect for spring entertaining with many vegan food pairing options such as fresh salads and cold pasta dishes.
How to Visit Us
There are many ways to visit us in the Gaspereau Valley.
Self Drive - we are about an 8 minute drive from exit 9 off of highway 101. Directions
Tour Partners - book your day of visiting Nova Scotia wineries with any of these incredible wine tour companies,
Magic Winery Bus - on Thursdays and Fridays
Wild Grape Wine Tours - choose Escape Through the Vines tour
Both names start with “bio” and there are other similarities, but Biodynamic and Biocyclic Vegan practices diverge when it comes to animal use.
Our winery in Gaspereau, Nova Scotia is certified Organic, grape growing and winemaking, and recently also certified Biocyclic Vegan from soil to glass. Our reasons for following these standards are that organic vegan wine is good for the planet, animals and people. Most people are familiar with Organic farming but may not have heard of Biocyclic Vegan or Biodynamic farming. Let’s compare all three.
There are many pesticides allowed for grapes, surface and internal acting. Grapes are listed as one of the dirty dozen, a list of heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables published by the Environmental Working Group. Hybrid grapes are fairly disease-resistant but more and more disease-susceptible vinifera grapevines are planted in Nova Scotia every year. Organic production follows the Canadian Organic Standard, the practice of producing food without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms (GMO), and certified organic is required to be able to certify your winery to Biodynamic or Biocyclic Vegan Standards.
Living Soil and Fertilizer
All three practices promote healthy microbial life in the soil. The concept is that the farmer manages the soil so that it can provide for the vine, rather than the conventional approach of feeding the vine directly with synthetic fertilizers. Biocyclic Vegan and Biodynamic farming both rely on enriching cover crops between the rows to hold carbon (regenerative agriculture) and to transfer atmospheric nitrogen to the soil. Compost teas, either plant residue or animal manure-based, are used to grow beneficial organisms to increase and stimulate life in the soil and on the vine. This is the first diverging practice - Biocyclic Vegan prohibits anything from animals so only plant residue teas are allowed such as composted grape pomace and there is a reliance on cyclical humus management with composted plant material. A second difference is the spiritual approach of Biodynamic - planting by calendar and using preparations such as burying cow horns filled with manure.
All three practices promote harmony with nature. They support ecological protection and animal welfare, and the Biocyclic Vegan approach goes further by excluding all animals, both working animals and inputs from them, recognizing that there are deep ethical considerations. Biodiversity practices that follow this ethos strive for a higher level of harmony than Organic. Biodynamic has animal use required and takes into account the rhythms of nature with a more spiritual approach.
Both Biocyclic Vegan and Biodynamic have human development at their core, nuturing the social and economic development of people.
Organic winemaking is the logical final step to shepherd a wine to the bottle. The Canada Organic Standard has a limited list of natural and non-GMO additives that are allowed and the resulting organic logo on the bottle signifies traceability and third party inspections to give consumers confidence. If the wine is not certified organic with the logo on the label, the grapes can be from conventional sources, even if the winery estate vineyard is certified organic. Both Biocyclic Vegan wine and Biodynamic wine have their own additional logo and the same disconnect in traceability happens if they are not on the label. The major difference for the Biocyclic Vegan Standard is that it prohibits all animal inputs in winemaking, which can include gelatin and egg whites.
This is where the divide widens considerably in Biocyclic Vegan’s favour. By prohibiting all animal inputs, it is not supporting the well documented global warming impact of the livestock industry. Biodynamic farming has animal use as its foundation with manures and preparations using animal organs, but has non-intensive and lower yielding requirements to lessen its environmental impact.
A final note. Our reasons for choosing the Biocyclic Vegan approach from "soil to glass" are rooted in a love for all living beings. As we grow our winery and inspire others, it is important to be informed and know that we all can make a difference.
"When you know better, you do better" ~ Maya Angelou
This Valentines Day give your loved one a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care. Vegan and organic wine embrace the planet and show that you care for all living beings, and what’s in the bottle.
Vintage Cuvee Rose - Traditional Method Sparkling. Aged in bottle 15 months to complete harmony goal with juicy cherry and strawberry flavours and a hint of brioche
Joie de Vivre- Charmat Method Sparkling. Dry with enhanced minerality from estate grapes on ancient seabed soil of schist and sandstone gravels. Concentrated citrus, lime, strawberry and slight toast with long creamy finish.
Available at NSLC, Bishop's Cellar, Harvest Wines and Liquid Assets at the airport.
This is the symbol of love this season. Look for it on our bottles.
Love for the environment, love for animals, and love for people.
The cycle of a winemaker’s year is very apparent in the non-winter months with bottling and opening wineshops in the spring, grape growing in the summer, and harvest and vintage in the fall. But what does a winemaker do in the winter? It’s more than you think,
Yes, winemaker activity closely follows the cycle of the vine, illustrated above from an article by Wine & Spirit Education Trust. But a winemaker is definitely not dormant like the vine in winter. Here are typical activities that keep me busy in January, February and March.
- Fermentation – most ferments are finished by December but we quite often have several wines still popping away in January. The old saying is you need to know more to do less and shepherding the wines to their potential means lots of monitoring!
- Filtration – we use a cellulose pad filter to clarify wines and those finished cloudy, yeasty ferments get ample time to settle before we progressively filter them to finer and finer levels.
- Bentonite – a natural clay called bentonite helps clarify and protein stabilize wines. It is an important part of making vegan wine. Each wine has a bench trial in the lab to determine its individual bentonite requirement before it is added in the cellar.
- Blend Trials – harvest and vintage is a very busy time in the cellar and we try keep as many options open as possible so that we can measure, taste, calculate and blend (repeat) later. It starts in December when we have the most family palates available to give opinions on sparkling blends, Tidal Bay and many other blends. We usually submit a tank sample for the Tidal Bay taste panel in January. And order our sparkling bottles from France.
- Excise and other compliance requirements – count, count, count: inventories of tiraged sparkling, bulk tanks and finished wines and tonnage from previous year for Excise, NSLC and NS Agriculture reports. These reports become an important part of traceability audits
for our certified organic wine inspections. Many permits are due for renewal this month.
This is the time of year when Mother Nature gives Nova Scotia a full-on winter. The influential “warm” Bay of Fundy gets chilled to 5-6C and we feel it. Our vineyard manager and crew start pruning our Gaspereau vineyard on the best days, and tanks and barrels of wine in the cellar chill naturally.
- Wine Shows – luckily wine trade understands the cycle of a winemaker and many festivals, trade shows and educational symposiums are scheduled in February. We went to the Vancouver Wine Festival three years in a row before the pandemic, my home province.
- Packaging – planning, and ordering, labels, closures, cartons, shippers. We start bottling new vintage wines in April.
- Disgorging – even if we disgorge traditional method sparkling every week in November/December we usually need to do it again in February for orders. And for wine competitions, especially international.
- Wineshop and Tasting Room – start hiring and planning for the season opening of our wineshop, wine tastings and wine tours. This always seems to come early, and as the shoulder season gets busier in our emerging wine region perhaps late April opening will be normal in the future.
- Organic and Biocyclic Vegan certification renewal – we submit our plans for the whole year of winemaking and viticulture activities and inputs. It is a lot of work by myself and our vineyard manager as we reflect on the past year’s successes and areas for improvements. We follow the plan all season, document everything and get inspected in the fall.
- Online Store and Wine Clubs – we open our online store and ship across Canada weather permitting. We start planning allotments for wine club members – three shipments/year, May, August and November.
- Bottle Charmat Method sparkling – this is new for our winery and the cycles of sparkling production in our two specialized charmat tanks include a March bottling after sitting on its yeast lees for 3-4 months.
Last year, we achieved certification to the strict Biocyclic Vegan Standard based in Europe, the first farm and winery in North America. This vegan wine certification is a significant addition to our environmental stewardship, scaffolding the benefits of our certified organic status to new heights. Coupled with health benefits and animal welfare, you can see why it is so popular in Europe.
We had been looking for a certification for our vegan wines and were so happy when we found Biocyclic Vegan based out of Germany and Greece. We discovered that they certify the whole operation including the vineyard as well, and ours scored very high because of organic practices, biodiversity and not using animal inputs since 2017. The estate vineyard has been certified organic since inception, the first in Nova Scotia, and we released organic wines in 2008. Compelling reasons are better terroir flavours from living soils, healthy wines avoiding pesticide residues and, more significantly, protecting the environment from pesticides and synthetic petroleum-based fertilizers, both high carbon-generating practices. Biocyclic vegan practices raise the bar even more.
Biocyclic vegan agriculture means purely plant-based organic farming. This form of cultivation excludes all commercial livestock farming of animals and does not use any inputs of animal origin in viticulture or winemaking. Special emphasis is placed on promotion of biodiversity, healthy soil life, closure of organic cycles and on systematic humus build-up. Vegan viticulture enhances our environmental stewardship by avoiding products from the high carbon-generating livestock industry and instead using constant cover crops (also called green manure) between rows for regenerative agriculture carbon management. Composted grape pomace - stems, seeds and skins from every vintage, is significant for further sustainable management of our soil’s nutrition and microbial life.
Biocyclic Vegan certification recognizes our extra sustainable efforts and care that are beyond organic, veganic, and we embrace their principles for the good of environment, animals and people.
2021 National Wine Awards of Canada results
2018 Vintage Cuvee
Gold medal, 93 points, results
Wine critic and judge Michael Godel,
"Brilliant autolysis in sparkling wine that speaks in the glacial till vernacular of Nova Scotia bubbles. A cogent yet balanced stick of Annapolis Valley dynamite, cumulative of salinity, fruit and bitters. Last tasted blind at NWAC2021, October 2021.
From the frost year (June 5th), a blend of l’acadie and seyval blanc in a sparkling wine that shows the formers’s resilience, having raced out to meet bloom, veraison and harvest dates. In a 30 per cent crop but vines that bounced back the following year for a full yield out of harvest. A wine that meets the LV twain, somewhere between the fruit first sparklers and those of the longest tirage. The length of this is more than surprisingly impressive from a wine that looks for a new slate in every vintage. A wine of trials, investigations and experiments. Not at the toast ceiling but consistently malolactic and in that 8-12 g/L dosage. Truly a Brut style and middle of the road in the most complimentary way. Drink 2022-2026. Tasted September 2021."
Wine critic and judge Michell Bouffard,
"Rich and toasty on the nose and the palate with notes brioche and lemon rind mingling. Tangy acid with chalky texture. Very good. Dosage well integrated."
Bronze medal, 89 points, results
Wine critic and judge Michael Godel,
"Just about properly picked early to preserve acidity and not allow the soft, cloying and flabby nature of a late harvested l’acadie to gain traction. Expressive of the intense nature of the early ripened grape so that fruit remains, vitality persists and balance hangs in the mid-palate. What still l’acadie can be though picking just a day or two earlier would have really sealed the deal. Drink 2021-2023. Tasted blind at NWAC2021, October 2021."
National Wine Awards of Canada Judges. Penticton, British Columbia. October 2021