Earlier this summer, 12 Nova Scotia wineries released their Appellation Tidal Bay vintage 2015 wines. This marks the sixth year of this increasingly successful, distinctly Nova Scotian wine. Together with the now iconic Nova 7 and internationally recognized traditional method sparkling wines, Tidal Bay has become emblematic of the distinctive vibrant style produced by Nova Scotia’s unique cool-climate terroir.
The original concept for what became Tidal Bay was the brainchild of well-known and highly respected wine-industry professional Peter Gamble. After more than a decade in winemaking and winery management, Gamble was appointed founding Director of the Vintners Quality Alliance. In that role, he worked with winemakers in Ontario and British Columbia to define standards for appellation wines, travelling widely and spearheading efforts to gain international recognition for Canada as a high-quality wine producer.
Subsequently, Gamble has spent a good deal of time in Nova Scotia, first as lead consultant to Benjamin Bridge, playing a major role in that winery’s successful development of world-class traditional method sparkling wines. He continues to work closely with Benjamin Bridge as well as with emerging star Lightfoot & Wolfville. Gamble fervently believes in the unique qualities of Nova Scotia and sees great potential for the region.
Gamble conceived the appellation idea in September 2009 and subsequently presented the concept to the board of the Winery Association of Nova Scotia later that same year. He followed this up with a formal proposal to the board in spring 2010, obtaining general agreement to proceed. The model was based on well-established European appellations developed to highlight specific styles of wines, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vinho Verde, Soave and Chianti, where establishing formal appellations served both to protect and promote these high-quality regional wines.
While other regions have pulled off appellations very successfully, as Gamble says, “it’s not a given.” Doing so requires a region that presents a really strong terroir in the wines produced there, especially when, as in these examples, a broad number of grape varieties are permitted in the blend. “Nova Scotia,” he says, “is blessed with this … there’s a really piercing, really defined sense of terroir in the wines. And to my mind, this terroir is as distinctive as in any wine region on the globe, with the possible exception of northern Germany.”