Local Kentville vineyard supporting NSCC winemaking students

NSCC’s Cool Climate Wine and Viticulture program started in 2019, the first of its kind in the province. The program combines viticulture – grape growing and wine production and is well on its way to boosting the wine industry in Atlantic Canada. All the graduates from the first year have gone on to find employment at vineyards, wineries, and cideries.

John Eikenleboom, a resident of Port Williams and owner of 1365 Church Street Vineyard and Winery is a proud supporter of the program. “Our industry will not grow without supporting and training young people. It is the only way.”

John knows first-hand the value of an NSCC training having attended the Introduction to Grape Growing course before transitioning his own farm into a Vineyard. In the fall, the vineyard donated over 400kg of grapes to the college, making it possible for students to make wine.

While Kingstec Campus has an on-site grape lab, more external supply is required to support the practical winemaking exercises.

Faculty Patrick Cantieni hopes to see increased collaboration with wineries and vineyards that would mean working together, sharing knowledge, equipment and personell to further build the industry. He sees this donation as a step in the right direction.

“There is no substitute to practical learning,” Cantieni says. “At the end of the day, when we sell the product, what the customer sees is a Nova Scotia wine and we have to work together to build that reputation.”

Support from the community is growing. Grape growers and Wineries in the Valley have opened their doors to host NSCC students for their work placements. Prior to the establishment of NSCC’s program, training could only be taken at Ontario’s Niagara College. Having this program now available within Nova Scotia means companies can build stronger workforces with a better understanding of the uniqueness of Atlantic wines.

Published in December 2020 NSCC Foundation Newsletter