Climate data project to continue for southwest NS

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Ingredients for the “perfect grape” found on the south shore

Sean Sears co-owner of Petite Riviere, Gerald Keddy MP, Dixie Redmond director for CBDC and Grant Redding chair of the board for CBDC gather to announce further funding for a climate study to identify suitability for high-value crops like grapes and blueberries.

 Amy Woolvett photo

By Amy Woolvett

Preliminary data is showing southwestern Nova Scotia as a prime area for growing high value agriculture crops like grapes, peaches and high-bush blueberries.

To provide a clearer picture of the potential for growing in the area the Shelburne County Business Development Centre (CBDC), in joint effort with South Shore Opportunities will invest in the second phase of a regional climate-data research project.

Focused on furthering the research collected in 2011 to 2013, phase two will include adding three new types of sensors to monitor wind speed and direction, rain and relative humidity as well as extending the data collection period an additional two and a half years.  This will provide potential investors with a more comprehensive set of data. 

A marketing strategy will also be created to promote these findings to prospective investors.

Sean Sears, co-owner at Petite Riviere said the data coming in is very promising.

“We are learning we have a region that is way better than Annapolis Valley,” he said.  “And as good as Italy or France.”

He said the added research will allow growers to know how many drought days there are in a row, an interest to certain wine makers like Bordeaux.   How many frost-free days there are and prove a record of milder winters.

He said all the ingredients for the perfect grape is on the south shore, the climate, the soil and the drainage.

“Our soil structure can create a wine that is world class,” he said.

The government of Canada is investing $223,880 in the project through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund.  The initiative also received an investment of $56,813 from the Nova Scotia Department of Rural and Economic Development and Tourism.

Seven municipalities spanning five counties provided a combined contribution of $52,500.

“This phase will provide us with the detailed climatic data and marketing plan we need to move forward and encourage investment,” said Dixie Redmond, executive director with CBDC.  “We know that southwestern Nova Scotia has an abundance of land and suitable climatic conditions for agricultural development but now we will have the facts to prove it.”

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