Reading our Labels
Wine writers have complimented us that our labels have an "abundance of information" and we couldn't agree more. Our goal is to enlighten buyers so they can make an informed decision in a marketplace crowded with marketing names and slogans. Here are five information nuggets that you'll find on our labels:
The most important information on our label is the Canada Organic symbol and certifying inspector, Pro-Cert. There is hard work, passion and risk-taking to make a certified organic wine and the status tells buyers that only natural inputs were used to grow and make the wine. You can't put organic on the label or website next to a wine unless it is certified with thorough inspections that include a traceability audit to ensure only organic grapes went into the bottle.
We declare the grape varieties that go into our blends on the back label. If you want to declare a varietal on the front label, current wine standards in Nova Scotia require at least 85% of the declared variety. An example is Estate L'Acadie, which is 100% L'Acadie blanc from our estate vineyard next to the winery.
We declare the geographic area where our grapes are sourced. We have several certified organic growers that we buy grapes from, and their certificates become part of our traceability. I'm a winemaker from British Columbia, a wine region that is built on a quality standard called Vintners Quality Alliance, VQA. In the early days, the VQA bottle mark contributed greatly to consumer confidence of 100% BC grapes. Now there is further refinement with smaller geographic areas such as Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Vancouver Island and more and more areas as they define their unique terroir. We follow the same format of declaring either Annapolis Valley, Gaspereau Valley or sometimes the larger geographic area, Nova Scotia, when the two areas (and a small new grower in Cape Breton) are blended.
We add dosage, called expedition liquour in France, to our traditional method sparkling wines when we disgorge. The goal is to balance acidity and quality enhancement -think of dosage as a thread that weaves all the components of sparkling wine together. We declare it on the back label in grams per litre (g/l) and it gives the buyer an indication of sweetness. For example Brut is a designation for sparklings that are between 0-15 g/l dosage, which most of our wines fall under. Remember that if the base wine had elevated acidity, which is not uncommon in our cool climate, the corresponding dosage might be high as well, but the taste might not be perceived as sweet.
We recently added a statement on our back label, "Suitable for vegan diets", after many of our fans asked for it. This means that we do not use any animal products in our wine - a practice that we have been following for many years.
These five pieces of information that we include on our labels are not required but we choose to include them to inform the buyer. I hope you find this useful next time you pick up a bottle of our organic wine.