Motts Landing Vineyard and Winery a humble leader in soon-to-boom N.B. wine industry
When David Craw purchased land in the Saint John River Valley, he bought it for the same reason a person buys their dream house– because it was beautiful. He may not have known it would soon be among the wineries leading New Brunswick’s burgeoning wine industry, but that makes this story even better.
David and his life and winemaker partner Sonia Craw were both new to wine when Motts Landing Vineyard and Winery first started: Sonia worked in agriculture as an environment technologist, David flew for an airline.
“I couldn’t even grow a radish when we started,” he laughs.
Stumbling across the site was a happy accident. David later learned the property sits on roughly the same latitude as France’s Bordeaux region and is part of the Saint John River Valley microclimate. With this information, Sonia began studying winemaking in New Zealand and later worked in the Annapolis Valley wine and vine industry.
She returned to New Brunswick and the pair began experimenting, growing the winery from a beautiful patch of waterside land into an intimate vineyard set up that seems beyond its years. Sonia’s wines, including her traditional method Brut Classic sparkling white wine, are making waves with wine enthusiasts.
“After many years of experimental grape growing and wine making, we know what grapes will finish and what wine styles to produce. Our sparkling is world class. It’s been an interesting journey with a lot of learning curves along the way,” says Sonia.
Rave reviews are pouring in, including from Nova Scotia wine writer and sommelier Moira Peters, who calls Sonia’s Brut Classic “hands down the best value traditional method sparkling wine in the entire east coast region.” Even with such rave reviews, David and Sonia remain humble, keeping on with their wine production and vine experiments. They are proud of what they have produced so far and of where their hard work has taken them.
For David, the ultimate dream is to see the old farms lining the shores of their Washademoak Lake repurposed into vineyards and together creating a wine region that will help propel New Brunswick to the frontlines of Canada’s wine industry.
“I think what we have done is we’ve proved it’s possible,” he says.
New Brunswick is booming
“New Brunswick has found the grapes that will allow them to move forward and make good wines. Now all it needs is the support to get them planted,” he says.
Saint John, N.B. sommelier and wine writer Craig Pinhey says white wines and traditional method sparklings are the province’s forte. He says while previously little acclaim existed for these wines internationally, they are now winning over wine critics around the world.