This year, our friends at Devour! The Food Film Festival will be celebrating women in gastronomy! We are proud to be a partner again in this amazing celebration of food, wine and Nova Scotia. Futhermore, our in-store tasting later this week (Friday, October 28, 2016- buy tickets here) is dedicated to wines made by women and enjoyed by all.
In anticipation of these fantastic celebrations of women in food and wine, we have assembled some profiles of some wonderful women in the Nova Scotia Wine Industry. Find our first profile of Rachel Lightfoot here. Here’s the next in our series, stay tuned for more!
I can’t write about Nova Scotia’s wine without mentioning Gina Haverstock of Gaspereau Vineyards. She has played an essential role in putting Nova Scotia’s vinifera on the map.
Gina’s interest in wine stems from her days working in a retail position at Jost Vineyards back in the early 2000’s. After becoming a certified sommelier, she “made the big leap” and enrolled at Brock University to study Oenology. Gina already held a science degree and once considered going to medical school prior to pursuing her wine studies. “Wine, I learned, was so diverse and everyone had their own way of producing it, it simply intrigued me and I wanted to learn more,” she says.
Gina then gained experience by working in the Rheingau region of Germany for a full year, including two harvests. She went on to work a harvest in Burgundy, a summer in the Wachau region of Austria, and another harvest in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand before finally returning home to Nova Scotia to take on the winemaking position at Gaspereau Vineyards.
Something you need to know about Gina: she has a soft spot for German Rieslings and wines made in cool climate regions with good minerality and bright acidity. In many ways, she is very much the “mother” of Riesling grown here in Nova Scotia. Early after her return to this province, she knew that in the right conditions, and with proper care, Nova Scotia could grow her beloved Riesling grape.
When I asked Gina about the challenges of making wine here, she doesn’t complain about the obvious weather challenges, instead her response is indicative of her practical and easy-going nature: she sometimes finds it hard to to source winemaking equipment from long distances.
Not only is Gina a talented winemaker, she is also a mother to two young children, and just opened a cider business with her husband. As a mother to young children myself, I am always in awe of mothers who have so much on their plate and thrive. When I asked her how she manages family and career, she quotes my own mother’s favourite saying: “It takes a village to raise a family!”
It seems, to succeed in business, life and winemaking everyone needs a strong vision for the future and the support of others along the way.