With its vibrant approach to producing hybrids and fruit wines, New Brunswick wine is a great way to experience this Canadian province.
Most people do not consider New Brunswick a place to discover wine, but the destination is an emerging wine region with ten wineries. I visited seven of those ten. From the biggest producer, Magnetic Hill Winery, the ambassador of the area, to the small boutique grower, there is an eclectic mix of wines from marquette and osceola to fruit and maple wines. New Brunswick wine is a budding industry. Here are my highlights from exploring New Brunswick wines.
The New Brunswick Wine Region
The common thread throughout New Brunswick is vineyards and grapes growing by the sea. The salt air and ocean breezes play an essential role in the viability of this region.
The soils tend to be sandy and clay loam. Near the Northumberland Strait, one finds red soil.
Two events opened the door to winery development. In the late 1990s, the government opened the doors to farm-based/cottage wineries. In 2015, the New Brunswick Government started a program allowing wineries to sell wine in select grocery stores. These actions helped to expand the New Brunswick wine industry.
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The best way to describe the wine industry in New Brunswick is they produce cool-climate wine created by warm, friendly people.
The people are cordial and hospitable, but I went in with a Californian’s concept of fruit wines and became pleasantly surprised by the quality, thus changing my attitude about the wine.
Magnetic Hill Winery
Now considered the largest winery in New Brunswick, owners Jeff and Janet Everett of Magnetic Hill Winery were looking to move from a strawberry and raspberry U-Pick farm with a very short season to something more viable and reliable income-wise. Since the government opened the door for farmers and wineries, it created an opportune time to convert the business. The idea of using the produce they already grew for wine enticed them.
While planning to use their existing farm for a winery, an 1867 estate in Magnetic Hill became available. The property’s history, magnificent views, and location near a popular tourist attraction intrigued them. After restoring the estate, the winery opened in 2005 with three fruit wines: strawberry, raspberry, and rhubarb. Since 2008, the Everetts have been adding to their portfolio.
Magnetic Hill Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
They planted grapevines and rhubarb on the property. Those first vines did not necessarily take due to the area’s winter weather. After exploring the grapes grown in Niagra and Minnesota, they planted marquette and osceola. The first substantial vintage was in 2017.
Everett’s son Zach became winemaker after deciding not to continue his schooling as an engineer and architect. Zach loves combining agriculture, art, science, travel, language, food, business, marketing, and branding into his job as winemaker.
Zach Everett Magnetic Hill Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
Today, Magnetic Hill Winery makes 40 wines and cultivates 30 varieties; nonetheless, Zach feels he needs to experiment to discover what grape best represents the New Brunswick wine scene.
Favorite Magnetic Hill New Brunswick Wines
Blending osceola with ES 2317 and adaalmina, Lodestone White is a fresh wine with lemony flavors. Think pinot grigio meets sauvignon blanc.
Marquette 2021 displays sweet and savory flavors because the wine uses the apasimento style of drying the grapes, using dried grapes instead of fresh fruit.
A non-vintage cranberry wine, Mystique is refreshingly light and dry, perfect for Thanksgiving.
Magnetic Hill Mystique Vin De Canneberge. Photo by Cori Solomon
Winegarden Estate Winery
Probably one of the oldest family-owned wineries in New Brunswick, Werner Rosswog immigrated from Baden Baden, Germany, in 1983. A banker by trade, his family had a winery in Germany. Originally a hobby, Werner’s vision opened the door to the wine-growing industry, making Winegarden Estate the first private winery and distillery. They obtained their license in 1991. The winery started with a distillery using local apples.
Winegarden Estate Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
The 300-acre property has 7 acres planted with vines. Today, Werner’s son, Steffen, and daughter, Elke, run the winery. Their niche product was blueberry and apple wine, but they moved into growing other varieties.
Elke Rosswog – Winegarden Estate. Photo by Cori Solomon
Favorite Winegarden New Brunswick Wines
L’ Acadie Blanc
This Ontario hybrid is the chardonnay of the Maritimes. L’Acadie Blanc displays fresh, light flavors of pear and pineapple.
The name of this Canadian fortified port wine combines vine (for the wine) with ur (for liquor). The Vineur reminds me of a ruby port with a lighter, fresher, and fruitier demeanor.
Winegarden L’ Acadie Blanc. Photo by Cori Solomon
Richibucto River Winery
Family-owned Richibucto River Winery represents a winery with the largest vineyard making wine in New Brunswick. It was established in 2005 by Alan Hudson, who owned the property for 20 years before planting 22 of the 75 acres with grapes. Before growing grapes, Alan worked as a forestry contractor. The property started as a Christmas tree farm and moved to growing Buckwheat to cultivate the soil by reducing acids before planting grapes. Richebucto’s first vintage came out in 2008. In 2010, they opened the winery and tasting room.
Alan is self-taught but worked with several wineries in Nova Scotia to perfect his craft. Today, Alan’s son Derek works with his father as winemaker.
The Hudson family of Richibucto River Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
The vineyards overlook the Richibucto River, which empties into the Northumberland Strait. The Hudson’s grow 20-plus varieties of cool climate French and Minnesota hybrid grapes, including marechal foch, l’acadie blanc, marquette, osceola muscat, and frontenac. The goal is to produce clean, crisp whites and balanced reds.
In addition, Richibucto has partnered with Country Liberty, a clothing line, to make white and red wine.
Favorite Richibucto River Winery New Brunswick Wines
The Mystique 2019 wine offers lemon, lime, and green apple flavors.
Serenity 2021 is a blend of five varieties that exude citrus flavors.
Acadian Red 2020
The Acadian Red 2020 celebrates the Acadian culture. It displays aromas of florals, particularly jasmine, and exhibits flavors of plum and pomegranate.
Frontenac Reserve 2021
My favorite at this tasting was the Frontenac Reserve 2021. The frontenac is a slightly sweet, almost port-like wine, making it a lovely balanced dessert wine.
Richibucto River Winery Serenity. Photo by Cori Solomon
Vinerie Des Fruits
There is something very European about Vinerie Des Fruits. It might be the pastoral landscape, which is very serene and inviting. Owned by Jeff Richard and Annie Vadnais, most fruits grow on their property. They purchased the 128-acre property in 2010 and, in 2013, started working on the land. They planted various fruits over the next four years, including honeyberry, pink, white, and red current. Today, 7.5 acres are planted.
Jeff Richard and Annie Vadnais Vinerie Des Fruits. Photo by Cori Solomon
Walking the property is a treat as bursts of yellow, purple, and green catch your eye, followed by bushes filled with berries. Tasting the fresh fruit along the way, especially the honeyberry, adds to the experience.
Honeyberry, also known as haskap, is a new super fruit that reminds me of a blend of wild blackberry and blueberry. Its color is similar to blueberry. The difference is that while the blueberry is round, the honeyberry looks like a teardrop.
Vinerie Des Fruits Honeyberry bush. Photo by Cori Solomon
Favorite Vinnie Des Fruits New Brunswick Wine
Tasting each wine both with and without ice, I preferred without ice. Although all the wines were excellent, my favorite was the Mistelle Honeyberry.
Waterside Farms Cottage Winery
Waterside Farms Cottage Winery lies across the road from the Bay of Fundy. Raised by a family that produced wine in Europe before moving to Canada, Ed Mantell grew up making wine. Hence, creating wine from the blueberries he cultivated on his property was only natural. With his wife Linda, they have produced fruit wine for 17 years.
The winery produces light rhubarb, tart Cranberry, and three styles of blueberry wine.
Waterside Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
Favorite Waterside Farms Cottage Winery New Brunswick Wine
The dry blueberry was my favorite.
Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery
Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery is the passion of Bill Fitch, a physician by trade, who purchased a run-down existing vineyard, creating the sailboat-themed winery it is today. Situated on 6 acres, planted between 2000 and 2002 on latitude 46, the winery opened in 2018 and lies along the banks of the Petitcodiac River in Memramcook, New Brunswick.
Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery. Photo by Cori Solomon
The vineyard soils contain loam, sand, and clay. Ten varieties of grapes are planted, including l’acadie blanc, frontenac blanc, seyval blanc, ES 2-3-17, and osceola muscat in the whites and frontenac red, marquette, petite perle, and sabrevois in the reds. Sabrevois is a gamay like grape. Frontenac gris is used for Rosé.
Winemaker Stefan St Pierre came to Latitude 46 as a volunteer. From his background as a Sommelier, he moved up to winemaker and excels at blending hybrids.
Favorite Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery New Brunswick Wines
Côte d’Orange 2022
Côte d’Orange 2022 is a seyval and frontenac gris blend, revealing wonderful strawberry flavors.
Regatta Red 2020
The Regatta Red blends frontenac, Marquette, and sabervois, delivering intense aromas and a big complex body with dark fruit and earthy flavors.
Red Sails 2021
Red Sails 2021 combines marquette with frontenac. It is aged in oak tanks and stainless steel.
Blushing Goose 2023
The Blushing Goose 2023 is a dessert wine made from gooseberries, offering a nice balance and not overly sweet wine.
The non-vintage Maple Wine ages in oak and exhibits maple and caramel flavors.
Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Winery Wine. Photo by Cori Solomon
Verger Belliveau Orchard
Belliveau Orchard is one of Canada’s biggest apple growers in the Petitcodiac River Valley. It started in 1932 when Sébastien Bourgeois returned to his home village, where he thought the conditions for growing apples seemed excellent due to the rolling hills of clay loam and the climatic effects of the Bay of Fundy. He started with 100 apple trees; today, 70,000 trees populate the property. Upon his death, Sébastien left the estate to his wife, Dora. In 1956, Dora sold the orchards to Fathers of the Holy Cross. Father Azarias Massé renamed the orchards Verger Belliveau. Father Massé ran the business until he sold the property to his foreman, Louis Bourgeois, in 1967. In this case, the property left the family to return eleven years later. The orchard remains in the Bourgeois family.
Verger Belliveau Orchard and Fields. Photo by Cori Solomon
Today, they grow apples, pears, pumpkins & squash. There are over 30 varieties of apples on the property. They run a you-pick and supply apples throughout Canada.
Verger Belliveau expanded into the cider market about 20 years ago. They now create cider and wine from apples, pears, and blueberries.
Favorite Verger Belliveau New Brunswick Wine and Cider
Scow Craft Cider
Scow Craft Cider is named after scow boats. They are the flat-bottomed boats used mainly for transporting bulk material. Scow cider is made of both apples and pears. My favorite utilizes four types of apples.
Crooked Pear Wine
Crooked Pear Wine was another favorite, with lovely pear aromas.
Verger Belliveau Orchard Canadian Cider Scow. Photo by Cori Solomon
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