Nova Scotia’s Grape Escapes Good Cheer Trail Tour, Wine, Spirits & Cider

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I’m in my happy place, I’m booked on a wine tour. Actually, I’ll be taking part in a wine, cider and spirits tour. Does it get any better than this? Picking me up from the Blomidon Inn in Wolfville I am joining a dozen or so other adventures on the Grapes Escapes Good Cheer Trail Tour. No matter when you visit Nova Scotia there is always a wine tour available. From an Ice Wine Festival tour in Feb-March to the Good Cheer Trail tour that takes place May to October. Plus there is lots more on offer from Grape Escapes. They even offer a Beer Bus through Taste Halifax. I’ve chosen the Good Cheer Trail tour as it offers more than just Nova Scotia wine tastings. I’ll also sample a locally made cider and a brand new distillery making some distinctly Nova Scotia liqueurs. Let’s start the tour!

Grape Escapes Wine & Spirits Tours Nova Scotia

 

The Grape Escapes Good Cheer Trail tour includes five stops. 1 brewery + 2 wineries + 1 distillery + 1 cidery. It starts in Halifax with the first stop at a brewery along the way to Annapolis Valley. It makes no sense for me to drive the hour into Halifax only to come all the way back to Wolfville, so I’ve requested a pick up at the Blomidon Inn and will skip the brewery portion of the tour. I’ll save that for exploring on my own time.

All aboard the Grape Escape tour bus

The first stop on the tour takes us to Luckett Vineyards where we will enjoy our wine tasting over lunch on their outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards. This is not my first taste of Luckett Vineyards wine. I’ve been enjoying it at many restaurants since I arrived in Nova Scotia a few days ago.

Amazing patio and view from Luckett Vineyards

In total, we sample about four different wines with our lunch which is included in the tour package. From their sparkling wine to their Tidal Bay and my favourite the Buried Red. Just like the name suggests it is buried 8 feet deep and aged in French and American Oak barrels for 13 months.

A little wine tasting with lunch at Luckett Vineyards

Lunch is served at Luckett Vineyards

We have a bit of time after lunch to explore and shop the tasting room. I go exploring as I saw a flash of red in the vineyards and have heard there is a surprise feature you won’t find at any other vineyard. There is a red British phone box that actually works. You can make a call if you are lucky to get a connection. Someone beat me to it so I had to wait before I could make my call. A little bit of Jolly Olde England in the heart of a Nova Scotian winery.

Need to make a call? There is a Britsh Telecom phone bx at Lucket Vineyards

We head back onto the tour bus as it is time for us to visit the second winery, L’Acadie Vineyards. Known for making exceptional Traditional Method sparkling wines and for being 100% Organic since they began making wines 25 years ago.

L'Acadie Vineyards

We start in the vineyards where all great wine begins. A brief overview of what it means to farm an organic vineyard and make organic wines.

Out in the vineyard at L'Acadie Vineayrds

Next, we head into the tasting room for a four wine sampling. I love sparkling wine and love to start every party or occasion with a glass of bubbly. The 2014 Estate L’Acadie was one of my favourites in the non-sparkling category. A perfect wine to pair with seafood and cheeses. Hmmm, Lobster Mac & Cheese?

L'Acadie Vineyards sparkling wine tasting

L'Acadie Vineyards Estate L'Acadie 2014

Our next stop is the Barrelling Tide Distillery in Port Williams, located just outside of Wolfville. A relatively young distillery, they are already making a name for themselves in the area. They produce Vodka, Gin and Run (almost a Rum but not barrel aged enough to call a Rum) plus 6 different fruit and berry Liqueurs.

Barrelling Tide Distillery

After a brief distillery tour, we were allowed to sample a thumbnail of anything they made. I tried it all! All fantastic but of special note to visitors is the unique Haskap Liqueur. What is a Haskap? I had to ask as well. It looks like a longer Blueberry and has a taste similar to a Blueberry and a Raspberry combined. Rich in antiocidents this Liqueur is good for you. wink wink.

A tour inside Barrelling Tide Distillery

Rum, Gin Vodka & other liquers for tasting at Barrelling Tide Distillery

Our last and final stop of the day brings us into downtown Wolfville to the Annapolis Cider Company.

Annapolis Cider Company

Cider is one of the newest and biggest trends in craft beverages and one of my favourite drinks to enjoy on a hot summers day. At Annapolis Cider Company they only use apples grow from orchards in the surrounding areas, so it is 100% local and each batch will taste a little different from the others.

We start in the production area and actually get to sample Cider straight from the tanks before carbonation. This is the raw product and wow does it taste different than what I expented.

Annapolis Cider straight from the tank

From production tanks to the bar, we now get a proper tasting flight of Ciders to try. These are not all for me, although I would have done my best to finish them.

A whole lot of Annapolis Cider tasting flights

AMAZING. Quite possibly my favourite stop on the tour and one I came back to visit as it was only a short walk from the Blomidon Inn to downtown. A full pint of Cider before dinner was in order. The taps are always changing so I recommend a tasting flight before you order a full size. They are all delicious and I can’t wait to come back for more.

Leave the driving to Grape Escapes and enjoy a fun adventure sampling some of the good cheer made right in Nova Scotia. This was a perfect afternoon adventure and one I give two thumbs too. Happy drinking.

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Disclosure: General

Thank you to Nova Scotia Tourism for their support in making this travel series possible. My views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change. What shall I do with my life?” 30 Day Adventures was born from that status update.

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