Winemaker: Simon Rafuse
Winery: Blomidon Estate Winery
Aside from your own wines, what is another Nova Scotia wine that is in your personal wine cellar?
I’ve got a good collection of the Benjamin Bridge sparkling wines and pretty much all of the different vintages of the Gaspereau Rieslings.
What is one piece of “wine etiquette” that you would like to share?
Sometimes in restaurants if you order a bottle of wine the sommelier/server will pass you the cork to examine. If you want to look like a pro, just give it a quick touch to make sure it’s moist… don’t bother smelling it. Corks smell like cork, if the wine is faulty, you’ll pick it up in the glass.
What is the perfect pairing?
Well, I’m a vegetarian so I miss out of some of the classic Nova Scotia pairings like shellfish, lobster etc… I’ll go with our 2010 Cremant and vegetarian sushi. The acidity and the hint of sweetness in the wine are great at washing down maki rolls!
In five years, what will people be saying about our Nova Scotia wine industry?
We’ll be known for our sparkling wines. It’s a style of wine that we can do extremely well here, and the rest of Canada is already noticing. Tidal Bay is another great local wine that people will be talking about.
What is your favourite time of year at the winery?
Harvest, for sure. I love the work. It’s really the culmination of everything you’ve done all season, and it’s always a really fun atmosphere. Tiring though!
What is your favourite grape that we grow in Nova Scotia?
Tough call… I’d probably have to go with Chardonnay even though it’s hard to grow. The best Nova Scotia wines I’ve ever had have been made from Chardonnay.
What is the most you have ever spent on a bottle of wine?
Haha! I’d rather not say, but it’s certainly a lot. It’s always worth splurging on “special occasion” wines once in awhile. It’s good for the palate. :-)
What is your most memorable glass of wine and why?
I’ve had lots of memorable wines, for lots of different reasons. Sometimes it’s not just the wine, but the place, the company, the occasion…
Where have you worked and studied winemaking?
I studied at SupAgro in Montpellier, France, and I’ve worked in the Languedoc (France), Alsace (France), Central Otago (New Zealand) and here in Nova Scotia.
What is a piece of advice you have for home winemakers?
Cleanliness. Be sure to clean your equipment and tanks properly!
Do you have a favourite wine quotation that you would like to share?
“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.” – Lilly Bollinger
How did you know/when did you decide that you wanted to be a winemaker?
I’d toyed with the idea since I was young, but it wasn’t until I was doing my first Masters degree (in Anthropology) that I thought of it as a career option. I had been working with grape growers in the South of France, and became fascinated by the whole production process. I enrolled in wine-making school the next year.
Why do you, or why is it important to support local?
Aside from the obvious economic benefits, I like the feeling of community. We have such an interesting and unique culture here in NS, and supporting local business is a great way to encourage and grow it.
If you could only drink one Nova Scotia wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably the 2008 Blomidon Blanc de Blancs…it’s fantastic.