Nova Scotia vineyards assess frost damage

About a week before the G7 summit, the owner of Benjamin Bridge Winery learned one of his sparkling wines would be served to seven of the world‘s leaders.

But while President Emmanuel Macron of France was tasting a Nova Scotia sparkling wine in Charlevoix, Que., Gerry McConnell’s vineyards suffered through one of the worst frosts he’s ever seen, which made it a bittersweet weekend.

“It‘s really unheard of to have these cold temperatures at this time of the year,” McConnell said.

He is still assessing the damage, but he says the Winery Association of Nova Scotia is holding an emergency meeting to try and get a sense of how wineries have been affected.

He says they want to develop a plan and also consider whether they should approach government for assistance because of the unusual severity of the frost.

Pete Luckett, the owner of Luckett Vineyards, called it a “helter skelter of crazy weather conditions” and added his vineyard is in “pretty tough shape.”

He says the frost has caused a "major loss" of grapes for wine making this season. There might even be some losses for next year and he says he’s looking for “clarity” from government.

“We have questions to ask this year,” Luckett said. “Are we able to bring in other grapes from out of province to make our wine? That‘s the answer we need.”

But, as vineyards wait for those answers, they need something else – sunshine – and they got some Tuesday.

“Today is a Cracker Jack day,” Luckett said. “This is the first day we‘ve had some lovely sunshine. We need more of that!”

It’s not just the vineyards. The Wild Blueberry Association of Nova Scotia is so concerned about field damage, growers have had surveyors checking the fields for the last week. They were holding a board meeting Tuesday night to hear the results of those surveys.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.