The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centre in Kentville, N.S., is undertaking a renovation of a lab workspace of 400-square metres to accommodate new grape and wine research.
A Cambridge Nova Scotia construction company has been awarded a contract to renovate an existing pilot plant space in the research centre. The space will be retrofit and converted into a wine research lab.
The development is part of a multi-dimensional research approach at the Kentville centre in support of Nova Scotia grape growers and vintners.
A new scientist, food-wine chemist Shawna MacKinnon has been hired to run the lab.
There will be areas where grapes grown in the local vineyards will be brought in, evaluated and crushed for use in wine production, processing and bottling.
The new facility will include spaces for the fermentation of white and red wines at a wide range of temperatures and volumes, a wine cellar, and a room where wine, created at the centre, can be tasted, tested and sampled by a panel.
The goal is to improve agricultural productivity and support the Nova Scotia government’s goal of increasing vine acreage from 800 acres to 2,000 acres by 2020.
The renovation and installation work is expected to be completed later this year.
The renovation will build on a $400,000 research project in support of the local grape and wine sector currently underway at the Kentville centre on grape varieties, growing techniques and conditions.
To date 70 sites, about 1,000 acres of N.S. vineyards have been mapped for insect pests and grapevine viruses and bacteria. Soil, topography, and climate are also being assessed to see how these factors affect wine taste, flavour and wine quality. Samples were taken from vineyards throughout the province.
A monitoring system is in place to measure the effect of cold weather on grape vines and wine grape winter hardiness. A two-acre research vineyard has been established to study local and European grape varieties.
This vineyard will be used to further analyze factors that influence vine health, hardiness, and wine quality. Information on grape maturity prior to harvest is being collected. A light-emitting hand-held device is being evaluated for its ability to pinpoint grape ripeness to identify the best harvest time which is a key factor in the production of high quality wines.