DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ: Old world charm, uniquely Nova Scotia wine

DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ: Old world charm, uniquely Nova Scotia wine

Article: Amy Savoury
Portrait: Michelle Doucette

The minute you step foot on the grounds of Domaine de Grand Pré you are immediately swept away by welcoming hospitality and an acute attention to detail. The lush gardens and immaculately tended vines engage you and draw you up the hill to the cobblestone courtyard, leaving you to wonder, “Where am I?” You could easily have landed in the old world. Here, European charm is carved into every stone; it’s a place where time stands still. But it’s the authentic warm welcome that you receive from the Stutz family that makes you want to stay for a while. Old-world warmth awaits you right in the heart of Nova Scotia wine country. 

The Grand Pré winery is the oldest farm winery site established in Atlantic Canada.  It is hard to believe that it was 17 years ago, after years of thoughtful renovation, that Domaine de Grand Pré first opened their hearts and their doors, welcoming visitors to their oasis and delivering a Nova Scotia wine experience like none other.

Family owned and operated, the winery is an operation built on love and passion for Nova Scotia and exceptional wine and food. Hanspeter Stutz, owner, operator and father, is a visionary who first took the leap of faith back in the late 1990s. He believed that something special could be built to grow the Nova Scotia wine industry and help create a world-class destination. And he did so with the help of his son Jürg, a Swiss-trained winemaker, and his wife, Cacilia who manages the guest experience in the wine shop. His daughter Beatrice, who exudes authenticity, is the reason for the top-notch culinary experience at the onsite restaurant, Le Caveau. This is where locally sourced food is crafted into culinary delights by her extraordinary chef (and husband), Jason Lynch.

In the beginning, Domaine de Grand Pré had just four wines in their portfolio, but over the years that has grown to over 20. Through their agriculture and winemaking practices, they are adding diversity and depth to the style of wine made in Nova Scotia. They are challenging themselves to continually raise the bar on quality for others to follow, while never veering from the commitment to growing and making wine that embodies the land and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley. And they are focussing on growing grapes specifically developed for our cool climate, and transforming them into quality wines with pure Swiss precision.

The Domaine de Grand Pré experience offers wonderful wine, exquisite food and authentic hospitality, all in a serene pastoral setting. Be prepared to get captured by the old-world charm.

Champlain Brut

A great example of the potential of L’Acadie Blanc and Seyval Blanc made into a traditional method sparkling wine. Playfully named Champlain in honour of the explorer who mapped our shores (not to be confused with the Champagne region of France, where this classical method of producing sparkling wine was created). Deliciously vibrant on the nose with a fine mousse of bubbles which leads directly to an edgy Nova Scotia finish.

2016 Vintners Reserve Riesling

Made during our spectacularly dry and warm growing season of 2016, this wine is racy, vibrant and complex. Intense ripe fruit erupts from the glass, but it’s when this wine is in your mouth that the real party starts. Electric and lush, the ripe fruit sweetness is immaculately balanced with fresh lime acidity. Drink this wine now or tuck a few bottles in your cellar; I can only imagine that this one will get better over time.

2016 Tidal Bay

Made from Jürg’s signature blend of L’Acadie, Seyval, Vidal, Ortega and New York Muscat grapes. In fact, it is the same blend that he has used since crafting their first Tidal Bay back in 2010. I guess we could call this his Tidal Bay calling card, and every year it is equally delicious, though this vintage may be his best yet! Perfectly expressive of this signature style, this white wine is, simply put, Nova Scotia in a glass.

2013 Tribute

An homage to our terroir, our people and our passion, while honouring our Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Planter heritages. This red wine is an interesting blend of Marquette, Cabernet Foch and Castel grapes. Medium weight and displaying soft red fruit with integrated American oak influence, it is a versatile, easy-drinking red. It’s the perfect wine to toast our heritage and reflect on all the things that influence Nova Scotia wine.

2016 Muscat Ice Wine

If I could sum this wine up in two words, they would be “simply stunning.” This small release icewine (only 600 cases were made) was crafted from Muscat grapes grown, frozen and picked at John Warner’s vineyard. Concentrated and intoxicating aromas of candied tangerines lead to a luscious mouth feel and a brilliant caramelized pineapple finish. Barrel fermentation and aging add complexity and length to this rare, sweet treat.

Canada 150, Red & White

Exciting and new, these limited edition wines will only be available this summer to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Two beautiful blends, a red and a white, are perfect choices to collect and celebrate Canada with this summer. 


Meet the Maker

WINEMAKER: Jürg Stutz

STUDIED WINEMAKING AT:
Wädenswil, Switzerland

FAVORITE GRAPE TO MAKE WINE WITH: L’Acadie Blanc, because of its versatility.

WHEN YOU’RE NOT DRINKING NOVA SCOTIA WINE, WHAT IS IN YOUR GLASS: New Zealand, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: No fuss, crisp and clean. Let the grapes do the talking!


4 Things to Do at Domaine de Grand Pré 

Join a tour and tasting

Take advantage of guided tours and tastings offered three times daily in the summer (11 am, 3 pm and 5  pm) for a nominal fee. Learn, explore, taste and experience the Domaine de Grand Pré story. No reservation required.

Dine at Le Caveau Restaurant

Extend your stay with a meal either in the intimate dining room or outside on the stunning vine-covered pergola. A seasonally, locally inspired meal awaits. Open for both lunch and dinner in the summer months.

Take in live music under the vines

If you can visit on a Thursday evening in July or August, treat yourself to an evening outside under the vines with live music. Imaginative cocktails, sangria by the pitcher and tapa-style plates await you. Always popular with locals and visitors alike. Arrive early to get a seat, and prepare to be entertained late into the evening under the stars. Weather permitting.  

Experience the harvest table in the vineyard

An exciting new addition to the Grand Pré winery experience this year. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for details about intimate evenings at their newly constructed harvest table in the vineyard. Exclusive and small-scale (think 6 to 12 guests), these evenings are guaranteed to be magical and memorable experiences. 

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