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April 16, 2018

Wine lab under construction in Nova Scotia will support local grape growers and vintners

KENTVILLE, NS – Research to be conducted in a lab workspace being renovated at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centre in Kentville could lead to new knowledge and innovations for Nova Scotia’s burgeoning wine industry.

A 400 square-metre space is currently being converted into a wine research lab, part of a multi-dimensional research approach in support of Nova Scotia grape growers and vintners.

Research scientist Dr. Shawna MacKinnon, a food and wine chemist, has been hired to get the lab set up, oversee it and conduct research. She said on April 10 that renovations to the space began about three weeks earlier.

She said the goal is to gain new knowledge and transfer it to vineyards and wineries, contributing to their improved productivity and success. The research will fit hand-in-glove with a provincial government initiative to increase vine acreage in Nova Scotia to 2,000 acres by 2020.

“The whole purpose of this new Kentville research winery is to do research on grapes and wine for the Nova Scotia vineyards and wineries and to support their development, growth and expansion, but to also contribute to supporting vineyards and wineries across Canada,” MacKinnon said.

She said the initiative should provide a lot of insight for grape growers and wine producers. Researchers will be harvesting grapes, bringing them in to look at quality and evaluating them for different parameters that are important for deciding when to harvest.

There will be a space to crush and extract juice from grapes and to produce, process and bottle red and white wines. Several fermentation chambers are being installed so that the grapes can be fermented at different temperatures and volumes for experimentation. There will also be a wine cellar.

She said another aspect that will be particularly helpful to vineyards and wineries in the region will be tasting panels. They’ll be having sommeliers visit to assess the wines produced in the lab to help vineyard and winery operators decide which varieties to plant and how the vine performance of those varieties affects wine quality. This will help in the decision-making process when it comes to planting, harvesting and the protocols used to produce wines.

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