The Travelling Wineberries: A Little Nova Scotia Goes a Long Way

The Travelling Wineberries: A Little Nova Scotia Goes a Long Way

The tourist season in Nova Scotia has begun! The vineyards and wineries are open and busy, the Magic Wine Bus is on the roads, and visitors from all over are arriving daily in the Annapolis Valley. As locals we see them arrive and enjoy our inns, restaurants, galleries, shops, and shows. But when they leave, what do they take with them? What memories or experiences stick with our visitors long after they’ve headed back home? A happenstance meeting with some wine region tourists offered a little glimpse into the interesting ripples that extend out from our tidal Valley. Somewhere in an office building in Ontario, as apparently they are known to do, four women might just be toasting Gina Haverstock (Gaspereau Vineyards celebrated winemaker), but we’ll get to that.

They call themselves the Travelling Wineberries and for seven years Velda Warren, Maureen McDonald, Sheryl Ferguson, and Megan Keast have been getting together and getting out to vineyards and wineries to learn more about the grapes, the wines, and their own evolving tastes. Part of their mission as a group was to stop feeling intimidated by wine. “People stick with what they know,” says Maureen. “Wine tours expose you to different wines. To begin with, all I drank was Merlot. Now I have the ability to know what my pallet is. I can make the conscious choice of what to pair with food.”

In late June of this year, The Travelling Wineberries were in Nova Scotia to visit Domaine de Grand Pre, Gaspereau Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards, and Luckett’s, as well as taste the selection of Benjamin Bridge wines at a recent evening at Blomidon Inn. But this wasn’t their first exposure to the wines of the Annapolis Valley. Velda’s daughter attended Acadia, and on her first visit here, she was surprised to find herself in an eastern wine region. Velda recounts, “I was surprised to see the number of winery signs. I purchased a Tidal Bay from each winery with the intent of enjoying it with Sheryl, Megan, and Maureen. Maureen hosted an evening of wine and seafood. We paired a different Tidal Bay with each dish and we added wine to the dishes of scallops, muscles, and chowder.” She recalls, “The dinner started at 4pm and ended at midnight. It was a big success. We ended the evening with a cake to celebrate the Nova Scotia wine industry.”

On another trip, Velda visited Gaspereau Vineyards. “We were so pleased to learn that the winemaker was a woman. Gina’s Red has become a family favourite”, she says. Later visiting Annapolis Cider on Main Street in Wolfville, Velda was surprised to learn that Gina was also one of the owners. It inspired an impromptu toast: “We had a toast to Gina, the entrepreneur! She became a bit of a ‘hero’ for us, as we enjoyed our cider. As working professionals who’ve researched gender diversity and female equality in the workplace, Gina seemed to have broken through the proverbial glass ceiling in her career – a wife, a mom, and a successful business woman” says Velda. “We were also told that while juggling all of this, she took every Sunday away from her work to spend the entire day with her family and friends, she seems to have established some healthy boundaries between work and family. We created a hero figure in this woman whom we had never met – and to this day we still give a toast to Gina.”