Before visiting Nova Scotia I am not sure if I even knew that Canadian wine was a thing! One of the centres of the Canadian wine industry is the lovely Annapolis Valley and the town of Wolfville Nova Scotia. This beautiful area contains wineries, cider houses, breweries, dairies and all sorts of delicious producers. There are quite a few different ways to experience the wonderful Wolfville Wineries, food and wine. Here is my Ultimate Travel Guide!
Wolfville Wineries – How to Get to Wolfville
Halifax is the closest international airport and the main airport for Atlantic Canada. It contains pre-clearance for US customs which is super helpful.
Wolfville is one hour by car from the airport. It is also just over an hour from the city of Halifax. To explore the area the best option is definitely to hire a car.
If you are short on time Wolfville wineries can be visited as a day trip from Halifax. Get organised ahead of time by booking here for a Wolfville day trip that focuses on sparkling wine and cider and book here for a day trip that will take you to several of the main wineries in the area.
Don’t forget to get take out travel insurance before you go – here are some great deals on travel insurance.
Wolfville Wines to Try
The most well-known type of wine in Nova Scotia is Tidal Bay. This was the first wine appellation received by Nova Scotia. These crisp whites are the perfect match for the fantastic seafood of the region. The appellation is not exact.
To constitute a Tidal Bay wine all grapes used must be from the region and of the approved varieties – the key grape being L’Acadie. However, the mix is up to the winemaker. The key is that it demonstrates the required fresh taste, the correct balance of acids and has less than 11% alcohol.
As you would expect in a country with the climate of Nova Scotia, winemaking is focused primarily on whites and lighter reds. In addition to the Tidal Bay Wine, you will see Chardonnays and Rieslings. Sparkling wine is popular.
Reds are still available with quite a bit of pinot noir. Finally, don’t leave without trying Ice Wine. It is similar to a dessert wine but not quite as sweet so a bit more dangerously drinkable!
To find out more about Nova Scotia wineries and wine visit the Wines of Nova Scotia website.
Wolfville Wineries to Visit
The oldest winery in the Province, this is perhaps the most well-known winery in Nova Scotia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The property and surrounding area are absolutely stunning. Guided tours of the property are offered twice a day between May and October. Don’t leave without having a wander around – it is so lovely! Many a wedding has been held here and it is easy to see why!
There is a small charge to do a tasting. Make sure you try the whites and of course the Tidal Bay! Domaine de Grand Pre is also well known for its Riesling. There are several reds and sparklings on offer. For me, the highlights were the Pomme d’Or Ice Cider and the Ice Wine. Both are quite sweet but not as sweet as a typical dessert wine and are wonderfully unique to Nova Scotia – which is of course what we all want to experience when we travel!
Top Tip – Literally down the road from Domaine de Grand Pre is the very cute Tangled Garden. The Tangled Garden is a beautiful herb garden through which you can stroll as well as a store. The owner Beverley McClure produces jams, jellies, ice cream and much more. All the products are made from the onsite ingredients and are produced in small batch quantities for maximum flavour.
This is Nova Scotia’s newest winery and it is stunning! The building is the perfect mix of a classic farmhouse and modern architecture. The high ceilings give it a lovely open feel. The tasting room is huge and I particularly fell for the stunning lighting! There is also a large outdoor seating area for food and wine.
On to the wines! Their winegrowing practices are all organic and biodynamic. The wines that Lightfoot Winery are best known for are their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling.
Top Tip – Lightfoot and Wolfville is the only one of the wineries in Wolfville that is easily within walking distance of the town of Wolfville. They also tend to be open till 6pm, a bit later than some of the other wineries. I thought this was the perfect last stop on a winery tour day if you are staying in Wolfville as you can drop the car and stroll back when you feel like it!
Lucketts Winery sits on a hill with stunning views over the Gaspereau Valley. The Luckett vineyard has a quirky English theme and features the only British Telphone Box in a Vineyard in the world! Free calls can be made to numbers across North America!
I love the names of Lucketts Winery wines – they are mostly British in theme with names like Phone Box Red and the Old Bill. This was also the home of the best red that I drank whilst in Nova Scotia – the Black Cab.
L’Acadie is the Nova Scotia’s premier producer of sparkling wines. They only do bubbles. They also have a sparkling rose as well as a cider.
The first winery in the Gaspereau Valley, this is a boutique vineyard best known for its Riesling. They also have a lovely Tidal Bay, a couple of reds and roses and even a maple wine!
The vineyard has a lovely outdoor seating area with fantastic views where you can sip and enjoy charcuterie.
Blomidon Winery offers Tidal Bay, Chardonnay, several reds and some sparklings. They are open every day for tasting during peak season and also have a stand at Halifax Farmers Market.
St Famille produces eight white grapes and four red. Their L’acadie white is award-winning. They have a larger range of reds than most wineries in the area and also do sparklings.
Technically speaking Planter’s Ridge is in the nearby area of Port Williams but it is still an easy drive from Wolfville. Their tasting room is particularly stunning with high beam based ceilings and some amazing views.
They have quite an extensive range of whites – Tidal Bay, L’Acadie, Chardonnay, Riesling plus several reds and a rose. No self-respecting Wolfville Winery wouldn’t have their own unique speciality wine and for Planter’s Ridge, it is their Sparkling Mead.
Top Tip – literally down the road from Planter’s Ridge Winery is the fantastic Fox Hill Cheese House. Don’t miss a visit – and don’t miss the chocolate milk! They don’t do lunch – more tastings – so if you’re hungry try the Noodle Guy in Port William. He has an amazing reputation. I didn’t make it there so if you go drop me a line and let me know what it’s like!
Avondale Sky Winery is the oldest vineyard in the province but it is one of the newest wineries. The Avondale Sky Winery offers a wide range including sparkling, rose and ice wines as well as small lots.
Top Tip – Check Your Dates: Make sure you check your dates when booking a trip to Wolfville Nova Scotia! Many of the wineries are only open between May and October and within that time frame, some are only open on weekends.
Top Tip – Wolfville Farmers Market: If you’re not able to get to all the wineries you would like the next best option is to go to the Wolfville Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. Many wineries in the area have stalls at the market so you can see if you can try the wines of anyone you might have missed. There are also loads of other great things to see and eat at this atmospheric farmers market.
Another great uniquely Nova Scotia drinking experience is the amazing Ironworks Distillery and their award winning rum – Find out all about them plus the Top 16 Things to do in Lunenburg here
Wolfville Wineries Map
Wolfville Wine Tour Options
Good news! There are loads of great options when it comes to a Wolfville Wine Tour so you won’t need to spit! Here are a few options:
This double-decker hop on hop off bus has three departure times a day (1030, 1130 and 1230 every Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun late May to mid-October). The bus travels on a loop to Lightfoot and Wolfville, Domaine de Grand Pre, Luckett Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards and Gaspereau.
They also do fantastic sounding food and wine day tour that starts and ends in Halifax if you’re not able to get to Wolfville for an overnight stay.
Wine Tours Nova Scotia run a mix of private and public tours that leave from Metro, Wolfville or Windsor. Their routes also cover micro-breweries, food stops a distillery and cider.
Offer a mix of public and private tours. They have a range of different daily tour options that run between May and October. They also have some other tour options that run during the off-peak season. Pick up points are Halifax and Wolfville.
Wolfville based, Wild Grape Tours run 4 regular tours on set days of the week. They also offer private tours. Most tours run between 1130 and 430pm. Pick up can be at your place of accommodation if near Wolfville or meet at a central point in Wolfville.
Wolfville Restaurants at Wineries
The majority of Wolfville restaurants at wineries are not open for dinner so do make sure you check ahead.
1. Le Caveau
Located at Domaine de Grand Pres, Le Caveau was voted one of the world’s 20 best winery restaurants. The location is stunning and the chef has his own cookbook. This is definitely one to book before you leave home!
Le Caveau is open for dinner as well as lunch.
2. Lightfoot and Wolfville – The Patio
The back of the Lightfoot and Wolfville is a fantastic outdoor eating area. The centrepiece is the wood-fired oven which produces a range of gourmet pizzas. There are also several nova scotia seafood-based meals on the menu. Open for lunch.
3. Crush Pad Bistro – Lucketts Winery
This is the restaurant at Luckett Vineyards. The menu is a mix of modern country fare with salads, boards, pies and lots of delicious sounding options.
4. D’Vine Morsels Restaurant
The restaurant at the Avondale Sky Winery is open for lunch only Tuesday-Sundays in peak season. The small seasonal menu is a mix of salads, steak and fish and some tasting plates.
For pizza try La Torta. If you’re looking for something special don’t miss a 3 course extravaganza at the Blomidon Inn! The food is fantastic and features local seafood heavily. They are open for lunch and dinner.
Where to Stay in Wolfville
The best place to stay in Wolfville is the lovely Blomidon Inn. It has a fantastic location on the main street making it easy to get everywhere. This gorgeous old Inn has 31 different bedrooms and it truly does feel like staying in someone’s lovely home. The restaurant is fantastic as pointed out above.
Other Things to do in Wolfville
Apart from the wineries, the highlight of my stay in Wolfville was visiting the Saturday morning Farmer’s market. Try to plan your trip so that you are able to attend!
The other great thing to do in Wolfville is to visit the Annapolis Cider Company and enjoy a tasting. It is located on the main street in town.
If you Can’t Get to Wolfville
If time is tight and you can’t make it to Wolfville to visit these fantastic wineries visit the Halifax Farmers Market. Several of the wineries and other foodie places I have mentioned in this post have stalls there. The Halifax Farmers Market is open every day but there is a more limited range of suppliers during the week. If you can try to get there on a Saturday as this is the peak trading day.
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Thanks very much to Visit Nova Scotia for helping me to plan and sponsoring my trip to fabulous Nova Scotia.
Also published on Medium.