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The 2012 Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium’s rising tide will float your boat

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The Atlantic wine scene is growing healthily, as you'll see when the Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium comes to town. The theme is "rising tide," as in "a rising tide raises all boats," which may seem cliche, given the region and city we're talking about, but there's more to this than the obvious Maritime link.

While regional wines, particularly sparkling wines from Nova Scotia, have created a buzz, there's a long way to go before we are mentioned in the same breath as Napa Valley, Bordeaux or even Niagara, Ontario. We may never be, but that's OK. It's not about being famous, it's about tourism and jobs---and for that we need investment.

The thought behind the symposium is that industry leaders should share best practices to help everyone grow better grapes and make better-quality wine. In turn, raising the reputation of the region, increasing tourism and encouraging investment in new plantings and infrastructure.

Held approximately every three years in Wolfville, the 2012 version is different---it's in the city, it's larger than ever and features a more impressive array of speakers.

A veritable who's who of North American wine will gather at the Westin Nova Scotian for both the educational and delicious: the tastings, lunches and especially the gala dinner, showcasing some of the best wines of Atlantic Canada paired with the cuisine of one of Halifax's best, chef Raj Gupta.

Among the luminaries speaking at the symposium is Sandra Oldfield, winemaker and owner of Okanagan Valley's Tinhorn Creek Winery, a multi-award winning winery that recently opened Miradoro, a new winery restaurant, to great acclaim. Ezra Cipes, Founder of Summerhill Pyramid Winery, also in the Okanagan, will speak about his experiences as a pioneer of organic and biodynamic wine. Morgen McLaughlin, president and CEO of Finger Lakes Wine Country, will represent that dynamic New York wine region with many parallels to our own. Matthew Speck, vice president of viticulture for Niagara's Henry of Pelham, one of Canada's top wineries, will discuss cool climate grape growing.

Our own talented wine professionals understand the need for an outside perspective. "This symposium is a great opportunity for us to learn from the experiences of other wine regions," says Simon Rafuse, winemaker at Blomidon in Canning. "The speakers will bring some valuable insight into what they feel was beneficial in the development of their respective industries, and where they feel there might be some opportunities for growth. While our region is unique in many respects, there are no doubt some valuable lessons to be learned for us to grow not only successfully, but sustainably as well."

Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble, Canada's most respected wine industry consultants, will be here, as will Bill Redelmeier of Southbrook Vineyards in Ontario, renowned for producing gold-medal grape and other fruit wines.

With industry professionals speaking about everything from grape growing techniques and wine yeasts, to marketing and social media, this event is not just for growers and winemakers. There's something for all wine lovers---professional or hobbyists. In advance of the speaking session is an educational, guided winery tour at the Annapolis Valley on May 27, 10am-4pm.

Whatever your interest is in the rising tide of Atlantic wine, there will be something at the symposium to float your boat.

The 2012 Atlantic Canada Wine Symposium Westin Nova Scotian, 1181 Hollis Street
Sunday, May 27 to Tuesday, May 29
or full event details see


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