Nova Scotia Tidal Bay Wine
Since 2011, Nova Scotia wineries have been producing the region’s signature white wine style known as Tidal Bay. Tidal Bay is an appellation of origin wine, created by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia in the model of fine European wine regions.
To obtain the Tidal Bay designation, all wines must be made from specific grape varieties, include 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes, follow a strict set of standards and be approved every year by an independent blind tasting panel.
These standards were created by a committee of winemakers, sommeliers and wine experts and are strictly enforced throughout the winemaking process, from growing to bottling.
Wines can be a combination of the approved grape varieties, but must demonstrate the distinctive taste profile that reflects the classic Nova Scotian style: lively fresh green fruit, dynamic acidity and characteristic minerality. Tidal Bay wines must also be relatively low in alcohol and no more than 11%.
How Tidal Bay is Made: The Rules
- 100% Nova Scotia – all grapes used to make Tidal Bay must be grown in Nova Scotia
- Signature Grapes – the majority of the wine must be made individually or from a combination of Nova Scotia’s signature grape varietals including L’Acadie Blanc, Seyval, Vidal or Geisenheim 318. Other varieties are permitted to add aromatic seasoning but cannot dominate the final character of the wine.
- Vinification – the wines must be vinified in an inert container such as stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the wines. The wine can be aged in up 20% new oak but if the wine tastes oaky, it will be rejected by the tasting panel.
- Concentration – to ensure the concentration of flavours, the yields (amount of grapes as measured in tonnes) per acre of vineyard has a threshold. For Tidal Bay it is four tonnes per acre.
- Balance – To ensure the wines strike the right balance of body, acidity and fruitiness, wineries must adhere to minimum and maximum alcohol standards, minimum acidity levels and maximum sugar levels.
To become an official Tidal Bay wine, each year, wineries submit their wine to a five person independent tasting panel that has been established to assess any wines that wish to use the “Tidal Bay” appellation. The panel is composed of the region’s top wine writers, wine educators, independent wine experts and sommeliers. Each vintage of each wine is assessed, and the panel’s decision is final.