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As Nova Scotia wine industry grows, so does shelf space in stores

Some worry that 'more local choice for wine means more competition'

3 min read
caption Local wine sales were up 14.7% in the last quarter of 2015
Aviva Jacob
Local wine sales were up 14.7% in the last quarter of 2015
caption Local wine sales were up 14.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2015.
Aviva Jacob

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is prepared to add more shelves in its stores for local wine to match the growth of the province’s wineries.

“Part of our mandate is to support the local industry,” says Denise Corra, a spokesperson for the NSLC. “We’ll make the space if we need to.”

Currently, Nova Scotia is the third-largest wine region in all of Canada, behind Niagara and B.C. There are 20 wineries covering 500 acres across the province.

The Wine Association of Nova Scotia, a group dedicated to unifying the voice of the industry, has even set the goal of reaching 1,000 acres by the year 2020.

Gordon Weld, spokesman for the Blomidon Estate Winery, says that while they don’t see many customers visiting their winery in Canning during the winter season, the shelf space at the liquor stores allows them to make sales all year.

Out of the 17 wines Blomidon is currently producing, the NSLC stocks around 10 of them. Weld says the reason they don’t stock more is because Blomidon doesn’t produce the others in large enough quantities. He says everything he wants on their shelves is currently there.

At Sainte-Famille Wines, president Suzanne Corkum says her only concern is with the allotted shelf space given for the wineries of Nova Scotia. Corkum says her main worry is that as more wineries open and expand, those already on the shelves will have to choose between their own wines.

“More local choice for wine means more competition in a small market,” says Corkum.

Weld says that while there is limited space on the shelves already, he thinks that the competition between wineries will remain friendly. He says the NSLC meets with local wine makers a few times each year to set plans.

Nova Scotia wine in the NSLC has become increasingly popular over the years.

Local wine sales were up 14.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2015, compared to the same three-month period in 2014.

The steady growth in sales has followed the introduction of the emerging wine regions policy in 2007. The policy mandates favourable markups for all local products sold through the NSLC.

With almost 200 stores across the province, Corra says the local selection varies depending on the location. She says this is to better suit the needs of the wineries themselves and to aid in the growth of the industry.

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