NS: Shelburne County wine country?

Amy Woolvett
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The Coast Guard

It has been a running joke by some that the county with its often-sunny climate and warmer winters is in the banana belt of Nova Scotia, but recent studies have shown this to be somewhat true.

Municipality of Shelburne map courtesy of the government of Nova Scotia.

[SHELBURNE, NS] - It has been a running joke by some that Shelburne County with its often-sunny climate and warmer winters is in the banana belt of Nova Scotia, but recent studies have shown this to be somewhat true.

Year two of a three year climate study revealed some surprising results after climate data, including temperature and solar radiation, has been polled every 10 seconds at 42 spots in southwest Nova Scotia.

“Collectively, the evidence for the 2012 period strongly supports the notion that the southwest nova region has comparable, and in many cases superior climatic suitability for high value crops such as peaches, high bush blueberries and grapes, than the agricultural standard represented by the Annapolis Valley,” stated the report.

There have been recorded data demonstrating higher heat units, longer frost-free periods and relatively milder winters.

The study also revealed that there were 20 more frost-free days than other areas of the province where grapes are being produced.

“Where there are longer frost-free days it becomes a highly desirable area for high value crop production,” said Dixie Redmond, from the CBDC who helped to find funding for the project.

The study was a regional initiative funded by the federal, provincial, municipal, industry and CBDC.

It said that only one station, located on Cape Sable Island, had a heat unit accumulation below the threshold for wine grape production.

“In general, the west end of the province was the mildest…It is noteworthy that when one compares the stations with the mildest winter minima in each corridor, the Kentville Research station actually had the coldest winter minimum temperature and it is the benchmark station for grape growing in the province.”

They further stated that the wine grapes would be better suited to be grown in the southwest of the province rather than in the Annapolis Valley.

Redmond said that with this knowledge they hope to ‘sell’ the optimal weather conditions as prospective wine grape growing areas for wineries.

“There is enough data collected to market the region for these desirable crops,” said Redmond.

There be a public talk explaining the data and what it means to the area at the Shelburne Community Centre on June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Organizations: Coast Guard, Kentville Research, Shelburne Community Centre

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Shelburne County, Annapolis Valley Cape Sable Island

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