Overindulging: How much is enough/too much?


Even as Nova Scotia provides incentives for growers to plant more vineyards, over-production has led other wine regions to launch – or consider – incentives to rip out grape vines in favour of other crops. Which begs the question: how much is enough? Or perhaps even more important: how much is too much? What is the Nova Scotia capacity for both growing grapes (in terms of viable land and biodiversity) and consuming wine?

In 2017, the notion of wine-growing in Nova Scotia is seductive. Moreover, craft breweries – now nearly 50 – are springing up like mushrooms and new distilleries are popping up too! But how much alcohol can Nova Scotia’s relatively small population consume?

Given the current policy and regulations around alcoholic beverages, export can be done in two ways:

The first is the traditional method of shipping product outside the province’s borders. This is complicated for alcoholic beverages, as most other Canadian provinces have monopolistic systems (liquor commissions) through which such products must be distributed.

The second method is to find levers to encourage more people from outside our province to visit and consume (or take home) our libations. But what are those potential tourists looking for? Is the way forward to sell the province as a wine destination? Successes such as the Wolfville Magic Winery Bus and other wine tours might suggest that it is. Or is the roadmap to success embodied in beverage tourism efforts such as the Good Cheer Trail? Or maybe by combining beverage and culinary tourism?

The implications are important for policy and regulation, individual businesses, industry associations, Tourism Nova Scotia – anyone selling Nova Scotia as a destination. Clearly there are many ideas but, at the moment, there is a dearth of empirical evidence to show the way. Our planned research project will help provide the needed guidance.

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