Between the Bushes at Lunenburg County Winery
I don’t have many regrets in life. It’s never been my style to spend time pondering what should have been. But that rare but distinct “should-have” feeling bubbled up from under the surface while paying a recent visit to the Lunenburg County Winery.
The Lunenburg County Winery is owned and proudly operated by Heather and Daniel Sanft, parents of the young Hans Sanft, my first year roommate at Acadia University. While I had only briefly met Heather and Daniel while rooming with their son in Eaton House way back in 2001, our brief interaction last Saturday afternoon left me thinking that I really should have gotten to know my roommate’s family…. and their business! Not only might I have been exposed to the opportunity to drink (perhaps free?) a wide variety of wine and spend my late August weekends sauntering between the bushes of their 100-acre high bush blueberry farm, my career as a chartered accountant may have been supplemented by a creative life in fruit wine making.
The Sanfts are a family of many great talents. Their entrepreneurial spirit provides local Nova Scotians and visitors the opportunity to witness the farm-to-table phenomenon. A visit to their farm may also arouse in-depth discussions of family history and genealogy – one of Heather’s great passions aside from basket weaving. It is important to note that she could easily be a full-time comedian – I experienced an unintentional ab workout during the visit from many fits of laughter.
Nestled just off the South Shore in Newburne, Lunenburg County, about a 20-minute drive from the Bluenose’s birthplace at Lunenburg wharf, the winery shares its home with Hackmatack Farm, a commercial high-bush blueberry farm. It will come as no surprise, that their products are primarily fruit-based, offering a wide variety of 100% Nova Scotia fruit wines – you name the fruit and as long as it’s produced somewhere in Nova Scotia, they are probably making wine from it.
As if Peach, Strawberry, Pear, Cherry, and Cranberry weren’t enough, Lunenburg County Winery’s line of products also includes a Honey Wine, several varieties of dessert wines, and three wines made from exclusively Nova Scotia grapes.
During our visit last weekend, Kelly and I picked up a few items from the Winery Shop to bring home and sample:
1) Their flagship Blueberry Wine (available at most local NSLC stores)
2) A bottle of King’s Kiwi – one of the winery’s most famous and innovative products made from Arctic Kiwis produced locally in Centreville, Annapolis Valley (also available at your local NSLC)
3) Rhous Brook Rhubarb – at Heather’s suggestion, we opted for this unique summer treat to pair with Sunday dinner (more on the take-home pairing experience in a minute…)
Kel and I selected Rhous Brook Rhubarb to take home and pair with BBQ pork chops (I’ll spare you pork puns, as I exhausted my inventory of pig jokes during my Meadowbrook Meat Market blog), beets, spinach and roasted new potatoes. Using the wine as the theme for the meal, we went ahead and prepared delicious rhubarb chutney to compliment the pork. The Rhous Brook Rhubarb was the perfect compliment to this summer dish, offering up a crisp, full-bodied flavor with a hint of mint.
If visiting the Sanfts, tasting their assortment of delicious fruit wines and/or picking a few pints of high bush berries to take home isn’t enough to get you jumping from your seat, tossing your smartphone aside and taking a trip to Lunenburg County Winery yourself, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Highway 324, the main road between Lunenburg and Newburne, has recently been paved and offers an incredible (somewhat hilly) route through Nova Scotia’s less discovered cycling roadways. As the summer warms up and you dust off your bike gear, why not consider the road less travelled? A beautiful route, limited traffic and the promise of some of Nova Scotia’s most delicious fruit await you.
If you are planning on making your way to Newburne, be sure to see if Heather will be working the day of your visit. Both she and Daniel are a wealth of knowledge on topics ranging from agriculture to food pairings to European history. Their passion for what they do is infectious and is clearly evident in the tasty variety of products Lunenburg County Winery produces. A chat with them is an essential part of the Lunenburg County Winery experience.