Great wines, no matter their origin, are available practically everywhere. To walk into a retail wine store is to be inundated with choices of labels, varietals, wine regions and so on. Some bottles promise new taste experiences, while others stand for hard-fought reputations.
In fact, few products throughout the ages have been traded, shipped, distributed as extensively as wine. This is because it offers, as a singular product, the inimitable experience of tasting nuances and complexities that came from the terroir and craft that is particular to a place of origin in ways few other products capture. It is mystery captured in a bottle.
So why purchase local wines?
As a pioneering wine region, to say that the pre-conditions are not optimal for the growing of vines in our neck of the woods would be an understatement. Our winters regularly reach temperatures able to kill even some of the hardiest cultivars. And having a vine survive is not enough; it must then be able to produce grapes worthy of making wine.
But herein lies the adventure! Our members here in New Brunswick are contributing to the enduring human tradition of expanding grape-growing and wine-making to new frontiers. Using all the farming know-how necessary to coax thriving plants from the land, guiding them throughout our topsy-turvy seasons, and then shifting gears to work our magic in the cellar, we are quickly learning how to navigate these seas.
Anyone who would have last tasted NB wines 10 or 15 years is sure to be pleasantly surprise by the quality coming out of NB wineries today. Our neighbours in Nova Scotia are familiar with this experience, having crossed the bridge from disparagement to international admiration at the speed of light, and there are endless similar stories coming from other wine regions in Canada and beyond.
Yes we employ local labour, yes we contribute to rural economic development, yes we create tourism destinations, yes we work with nature in order to achieve a decent livelihood, but we are motivated above all else by the collective belief that something is worth doing here, that our pains of trialing cultivar after cultivar, of making costly blending mistakes, of dealing with misbehaving machinery, and so on, will not be wasted. We wish to elevate the grapes and the fruit bounty of our region to the making of excellent vines.
People should purchase local wines because they want to. Because they are excited to discover flavours, colours and textures that are specific to a time and place in our industry’s development. Because the wines, as the people making them, are dynamic. Because they are delicious. Because they tell a story.
Vice-President, Vins NB Wines