For the very best wine, cider and spirits in Nova Scotia be sure to get yourself to the western peninsula of this gorgeous region. You can drop by a wide selection of wineries, distilleries, cideries and breweries all to be found in the Annapolis Valley.
Once you’ve landed and got your bearings in Halifax, Nova Scotia, join a fantastic tour, which departs right from Halifax to begin your vineyard experience.
Novia Scotia Wine Tours offer some of the best guided days out to be found in the Valley, and the tour I went on was called Grape Escape (gotta love a wine-related pun).
The tour company pick you up from the Marriot hotel in Halifax and the guide is an expert on the region and will tell you about why the wines grow here so well on the drive to the first spot.
Get on the Good Cheer Trail across Nova Scotia
Exploring the Good Cheer Trail takes you to some of the best producers in the Valley.
This special Nova Scotia tourism trail is the first of its kind in Canada, and has got to be one of the best ways to enjoy locally produced products from the region.
From Yarmouth to Sydney, this trail takes in over 50 incredible locations.
Grab your Good Cheer Trail passport and get ready to meet passionate local artisans and brewmasters.
For something a bit more wine-focused take the Grape Escape Nova Scotia Wine tour for a taster trip to a few of the places selected on the Good Cheer Trail.
You will have a very well informed guide joining you and driving you too – so you can enjoy the trail in the comfort and not worry about driving over the limit.
Annapolis Valley is stunning
The rolling hills and green landscapes of this region are just so wonderful to explore, as well as the cute local farmer markets and endlessly wonderful products available to buy in boutique shops.
Pass by tiny, quaint towns on your trip and stop off to find adorable cider shops and homely restaurants.
My cidery pick: Drink up at an incredible cidery with the Annapolis Cider Company
Brand new to the scene in Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Cider Company has taken off like wildfire with the locals and cider loving tourists.
Jumping on the cider craze sweeping Annapolis Valley with the great apples that are grown in the area, this Cider Company been a huge run away success.
In fact I spotted 7 locals come in to refill their bottles – the locals seem to love it! They have limited runs of specials which are also popular with tourists and locals alike.
During our visit they had a special sangria addition to the menu. A perfect stop for cider lovers!
My winery pick: Planters Ridge.
The owner of Planters Ridge fantastic winery sold up a previous life in busy Toronto, and it was clearly a gamble that paid off.
The sparkling wine and white wine has a wonderful flavour to it, and with seafood being so popular and so tasty in the area it’s no surprise that these two pair so well together.
The winery also has a wonder blend rum cider onsale, and it is truly to die for! I just had to take home a few bottles to enjoy later.
You can also get a tasty lunch organsied and prepared for you here to enjoy with a local wine.
They had a local chef prepare a light sandwich meal for us (a chicken and cheese sub with a side salad).
A deceptively simple but tasty meal and all sourced with local ingredients from the surrounding farms.
This was a perfect break to look out and relax over the vineyard.
My brewery pick: Wayfarers Ale Society.
Wayfarers Ale Society has a rather fitting name for a travel blogger who loves his craft ale!
The ruby ale has some wonderful notes and colour to its body. I enjoyed this batch of beer very much, and as the owner told me – the flavour just keeps improving each batch.
From what I tasted myself, I have to agree.
There is so much incredible craft beer brewing going on in the area, and this place is a fine example.
Make sure to ask about the myth of the one eyed river hog – this creature got its name from a local legend and to this day remains a mystery, a sort of the Loch Ness monster of Nova Scotia!
Anyway the colours and taste of this IPA justify its status of legend amongst beers, and is totally a must try!
It was so great to experience the craft beer scene in Nova Scotia and I found their product to go with my dinner that evening in Halifax, which just goes to show how well local breweries are supported in Nova Scotia.
My distillery pick: Barrelling Tide.
When it comes to the Barrelling Tide distillery – you name it, they make it! Or they have at least tried to from the experimental and fascinating impression I got from this distillery.
Vodka, rum and gin is all made here on site, and you can try all the different flavours they have for liqueurs as well.
My stand out favourite had to be the chili vodka, which as you would expect had a massive kick to it.
This spirit would go so well with that Canadian classic cocktail of a Caesar, which is a tomato juice based drink with a dash of oyster sauce and vodka. A firery treat for any lover of Bloody Mary’s and tomato juice for sure!
How to travel to the Annapolis Valley
The best way to get from London to Annapolis Valley has to be from London Gatwick with Air Transat using Canadian Affair.
This comfortable and reliable airline offers a connection to Halifax City via Toronto, and the Air Transat Option Plus upgrade offers some extra comfy seat options to make your trans-Atlantic flight more easier.
Enjoy a taste of the Good Cheer Trail along the Annapolis Valley
To wrap it up, touring these breweries and sampling these delicious drinks was hard work but someone has to do it! All in a days work.
You have to put the leg work to discover local culture sometimes, but what a wonderful rollercoaster it was for my taste buds, sampling all the local produce of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.
Having a guide to whisk us around was a total added bonus and a wonderful day trip idea, and I would totally recommend you take advantage of local knowledge too when you take your trip to the Annapolis Valley.
Find out more information about Nova Scotia and Canada?
For more travel information and useful travel tips about Canada, be sure to check out the Explore Canada. You can also read about my trip to Halifax and also my road trip guide to Nova Scotia. Enjoy reading all about travelling around Canada.