Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bear River Vineyards

Within Bear River lies a sleepy vineyard-on the outside at least. Bear River Vineyards is quickly emerging as one of Nova Scotia's most adventurous wineries. Chris and Peg Hawes have a beauty on their hands. The wine store and tasting center is located within a barn structure attached to their home.

The winery produces 6 wines in total, with the 2005 Baco Noir being their best seller. My personal favorite however is Isoceles, a blend of Baco Noir, Marechal Foch and (yummy) Pinot Noir. Bear River's Red Eft, a Rose, came a close second.

The wine tour takes one's curiosity through a warm cellar and winemaking room, filled with the sweet smell of yeast and pulverized grapes. This was by far the most informative, interactive wine tour that I've ever been on. Chris took us through the entire process; from aspirations for his winery, through to his winemaking processes and objectives as a vitner.

We were fortunate enough to see and smell the process; a vat of Pinot Noir was fermenting in Chris' "workshop". He is the only vitner in the province gutsy enough to grow the 'heartbreak grape', nicknamed so due to its high-maintenance character. There was also a vat of Marechal Foch, aged only 7 days. We were lucky enough to get to taste this concoction. Though a newborn wine, this batch hold a lot of promise.

The 2008 Pinot Noir Harvest
Thousands of yeast cells having, as Chris described:
"a big farting party."

Touring though the facility, Chris showed us his Power Room. This winery is the only one in the province to use Bio-Diesel, Solar, and Wind energy to fuel its operation. From a sloping facility, enabling a gravity-fed winemaking process, through to Photo voltaic solar panels, supplying energy for all the winery's bottling equipment, Bear River Winery truly embodies the word 'green'.

Just harvested Chardonay grapes awaiting their turn to become the winery's
Greater Yellow Legs Chardonnay

Bear River Winery is also embarking on another 'first'. It is, not only the sole Pinot Noir producer in the province, but also the first Nova Scotian Winery to attempt production of Gamay Nouveau. Here they are, clinging to the vine to suck out the last bits of sugar.

Gamay Nouveau

Though my first impressions of the winery were warm and tingly ones, they quickly changed to excitement and anticipation for the wines to come. Many thanks to Chris and Peg for their warm hospitality and enthusiasm. They have a wonderful facility and great product, which makes Bear River Vineyards a one to keep your eye on.

Visit Bear River Vineyard's website at

1 comment:

Brewnoser said...

Um, Chris may have overstated his exclusivity with Pinot Noir. I have a case of this in my cellar, and it rocks!

"Jost Vineyards Limited Edition 2006 Pinot Noir was made from grapes nurtured by the family of Allan McIntyre and vineyard manager Wayne MacDonald at Racca Vineyards on the shores of the Minas Basin in Habitant. The wine which emerged was aged in French oak barrels resulting in an outstanding dry red wine with fresh berry fruit and smoky characteristics."

Plus, Benjamin Bridge produces a lot of Pinot Noir, they just harvest it a bit early and use it in their Methode Champegnoise wines, along with Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. They will not be out for a couple of years, yet, but when they do arrive....