BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Domaine de Grand Pré celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and, to mark the occasion, the winery just launched two new wines.
Coming from Switzerland to build a top quality winery, Hans Peter Stutz set down roots in Grand Pre - and they have flourished.
At an anniversary party June 13, he said, "with over 30,000 visitors last year, we have built a destination here at Grand Pre."
Stutz recalled his was the only winery around Wolfville 10 years ago, and he was the first grape grower to start a vineyard in the Gaspereau Valley.
"We now have four new operations around Wolfville:v the Wine Capital of Atlantic Canada. And, more will come very soon: Pete Luckett's winery will view all of us from the heights of Melanson Mt., and Benjamin Bridge will open a wine shop this fall."
Stutz recalled the effort of Grand Pre's initial vintner, Roger Dial, to start a winery, saying he chose a dream location "and, with all the activities around the UNESCO application, we feel very confident for the future."
He added the many awards garnered in the last 10 years confirm the family's strategy. Stutz paid tribute to his son, Juerg, the winemaker; daughter Beatrice, who runs Le Caveau restaurant with chef Jason Lynch, and the rest of the team "who live our attitude for quality, our long term thinking and our consistency."
Stutz sees opportunities for new, signature products.
"We have around 60,000 acres of unused farmland and, my question is, do the young farmers recognize this? We have to encourage these young people to go outside of our province or country to see what's going on in the consumer's world, and we also have to make sure they get a good fair value for their products. All these young people should know farmland is besides water, the most important issue in the next 50 to 100 years."
"All these young people should know farmland is besides water, the most important issue in the next 50 to 100 years." - Jürg Stutz
As a winery owner, Stutz continues to raise the issues of sales barriers.
"Why is it easier for me to sell 20 cases of wine to Boston than to our neighbouring province of New Brunwick? We have to open the domestic market for local Canadian products. The competitors outside Canada are just laughing about our provincial rules and regulations."
Stutz sees room for five to 10 more wineries in Nova Scotia. High standards will build a strong industry, with a top quality label.
Kings South MLA Ramona Jennex said Domain de Grand Pre is at the heart of the community after 10 years, part of the greater landscape and a major reason Nova Scotia is fast becoming a new world wine destination. Stutz deserves much recognition and praise for taking on the winery and helping to make the province's reputation.
"You made sure it was excellent."
Janice Ruddock represented the wine industry of Nova Scotia and complimented the passion and vision of the Stutz family. She hears four signature words of Stutz's, "We can do this," in her sleep.
Gordon Stewart, speaking on behalf of the restaurant association, noted his members are very proud of the restaurant aspect of the winery, Le Caveau, the Taste of Nova Scotia's best restaurant last year.
The event also launched two new sparkling wines for Grand Pre, a Cuvee Vidal and a Brut. Jürg Stutz explained how the Ice Cuvee and the Champlain are carefully made using traditional methods.
More anniversary events are planned for September and October, including a concert in the vineyard.