MONCTON — If you’re a fan of wine tastings or weekend outings with your closest friends, the Magnetic Hill Winery has got you covered.
Zach Everett, co-owner and winemaker at the winery, said after a year and a half of lockdowns, physical distancing and travel restrictions, he is “super happy” to have a little more movement around the winery’s home base on Front Mountain Road.
“Reopening feels amazing and scary at the same time to be 100 percent honest,” said Everett in an interview. “This is really our first year in this brand new space where we’re going to have locals and people from all over the world here by the end of this year.”
As a business that relies on the tourism industry, Everett said last summer was pretty tough. Magnetic Hill typically sees most customers come from across North America, where they attend a wine tasting and leave with “a car full of wine” at the end of the night.
“All that just ground to an absolute halt and so last year was a very different summer for us,” he said. “But what was super cool about it, is that New Brunswickers ‘discovered us.’ They always knew about us, but to then have exclusively New Brunswickers – it was really cool to see.”
With the region starting to recover from the pandemic, Magnetic Hill Winery has launched 12 new wine flavours using 100 percent New Brunswick-grown grapes and other fruits to reel in tourists and New Brunswickers.
Everett says he is combining winemaking practices from around the world and mixing in some regional flavours to produce each wine. Some of those being fermented include cranberries, strawberries, rhubarb and blueberries.
“Rhubarb is one of my all-time favourite things to ferment and make wine out of, so we released a rhubarb Pét-nat,” said Everett.
Pét-nat is similar to a sparkling wine that Everett says predates champagne. It’s a dry, light and bubbly wine with hints of tropical fruit and stewed rhubarb. It’s a method that is getting its spot in the sunlight again, going back to a Renaissance style of winemaking.
The other half of the Magnetic Hill Winery’s business is about developing the grape wine industry in the province, which Everett says is relatively new. Still, he was up for the challenge in an “emerging wine region” like New Brunswick.
Flavours like the Lodestone Rosé will also appeal to those who enjoy a Marquette. Everett describes it as a crisp, delicately fruit wine. Marquette is also the main component of the blend, and Everett adds that all of the new wines have been popular with customers.
“Consumers are looking for things that are a little more hands-on, a little less processed,” he said. “Some of that artisanal nature is gone out of crafting some of the wines that people have come to love, and so things like Pet Nat put in that artisan feel again.”
“It’s super exciting for us to see customers’ reactions, just not knowing that was even possible to grow grapes in New Brunswick, let alone make such amazing quality wine out of them.”
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