Featurepreneur: A Family Farm Turns State-of-the-Art Winery
By Genevieve Allen Hearn
Jocelyn and Michael Lightfoot have travelled internationally to research best practices in the wine tourism industry and they are bringing their bold ideas back to the Valley. Coming from a long line of farmers (eight generations to be exact), the Lightfoots have created a winery built to impress! Thinking big hasn’t kept the Lightfoots from putting love into every small detail, however. They have considered the minutia from hand-harvesting their grapes and using traditional basket press production, down to the beautifully storied labels on their wine bottles.
The Grapevine chatted with Jocelyn Lightfoot, a trained sommelier and co-owner of Lightfoot & Wolfville.
Grapevine (GV): What inspired you to start Lightfoot & Wolfville?
Jocelyn (J): We wanted to diversify the family farm and start a project together. A few very important things came together for us when we learned that our land was an extremely privileged viticultural site and more exclusively, the ability to successfully grow vinifera. (Grapevine note: Vinifera is a common European grape that is the chief source of Old World wine. This is a brave departure from using the hardy hybrid varieties that have been so successful in the Annapolis Valley region, such as L’Acadie).
GV: What experiences/services will your winery offer?
J: Our family’s local farming heritage and our organic and biodynamic practices all make for a unique experience at Lightfoot & Wolfville. The estate nurtures 35 acres of vineyard, raises heritage breed livestock, and grows its own produce for the winery kitchen. The hospitality centre will feature a retail boutique, tasting room, and wood-fired pizza oven and patio where guests can enjoy stunning views of Cape Blomidon. The underground barrel cellar and marquee tent provides the perfect backdrop for weddings and special events.
GV: What is it like being in business with your partner?
J: Given that we equally share the same vision for the future of this legacy project, it has been very rewarding to watch each other work to our respective strengths to achieve our goals together.
GV: Think 15 years down the road. Where do you see Lightfoot & Wolfville? Where do you see the wine industry in the Annapolis Valley?
J: Lightfoot & Wolfville would expect to be exporting across Canada and abroad and be a strong contributor to our local economy and a major local employer. In 15 years we envision that the Annapolis Valley’s growing wine region will be more focused, thus increasing local consumption through a better understanding of what wine styles and varieties we do exceptionally well here. Wine and culinary tourism in and around the region will grow exponentially. With more infrastructure and investment, there will be an increase of international tourists for longer stays. Already NS wine is well on its way, contributing over 200 million to the province annually, we would expect to multiply this several times over.
GV: What is the most valuable thing you have learned through opening your own business?
J: We are reminded every day that your dreams can be achieved if you put your mind to it.