Carl and Donna Sparkes founded Devonian Coast Wineries in 2011, then bought two already established and respected wineries, Jost and Gaspereau Vineyards,later on the purchased Muir Murray Estate Winery changing the name to Mercator Vineyards. Devonian Coast Wineries unites their love of wine and of Atlantic Canada. They also own Grand Banker Wine Cellars.
The Sparkes family’s farming roots run deep in Atlantic Canada, going back to 1761 when Carl’s ancestors left Devon, England and settled on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. A farming family, they were also innovators; Carl’s grandfather was the founder of what is now the Atlantic Cool Climate Crop Research Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Gina Haverstock is the head winemaker over seening all the wineries for Devonian Coast.
Jost Vineyards, situated on the northern shores of Nova Scotia, combines more than 300 years of grape growing and wine making traditions with a long warm, frost free season. Jost Vineyards history begins with Hans Wilhelm Jost and family in the Rhine region of Germany. The Christinenhof was a successful family-run vineyard and cellar, highly praised for its wine quality.
In 1970, in search of vast lands and new freedoms, the Jost family, Hans, Erna and children, Hans Christian and Ellen, immigrated to Nova Scotia.
It was not until 1978 that the Jost's returned to the family tradition and began experimenting with grapes. With the success of these grapevines, more vineyards were planted and a use for the resulting harvest required. Jost Vineyards became a licensed winery in November 1983 and the first cellar was built in 1984.
The winery has over 75 acres located in the Malagash and Gaspereau Valley. The most common varieties are Marechal Foch, L'Acadie Blanc, Muscat, Leon Millot, Geisenheim, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Mischurnitz and Severnyi.
Today the winery is owned by Devonian Coast Wineries. Carl Sparkes purchased Jost Winery through his new company, Devonian Coast Wineries Ltd in May 2012. They have over 100 acres.
The winery, which was fully redesigned and renovated in 2013, is rustic, yet elegant. A beautiful circular tasting bar, meant to resemble a large oak barrique, is the centre piece of our cathedral-ceilinged lounge.
Gaspereau Vineyards is situated in the beautiful Gaspereau Valley seven miles from Wolfville. Once an
apple orchard the vineyard was planted in 1996 on the ideal south facing slope
followed by a successful harvest in 1999. The winery opened in 2004
At Gaspereau Vineyards, Jost planted Chardonnay, Riesling, Ortega
and Vidal on the warmer upper part of a vineyard and varieties such as De
Chaunac, L'Acadie, New York Muscat and Kuhlmann further down what is a fairly
continual slope. “Chardonnay always makes it through
the winter and it produces a decent wine,” Jost says. “But I like L'Acadie,” referring
to the most widely planted white variety in Nova Scotia . On the Gaspereau site,
the variety yields a wine that the wine shop staff describe as “dangerously
drinkable.” The wine shows sweet, zesty citrus flavours
with a dry finish.
In 2012, Carl and Donna Sparkes became the proud new owners of Gaspereau Vineyards bringing with them a commitment to viticulture, scientific analysis of soil types, and new plantings. As part of Devonian Coast Wineries, an additional 14 acres of vines were planted on site in the spring of 2014, bringing the total to 50 acres for the vineyard. The site is performing extremely well and the extra plantings will increase the output to meet higher demands for our premium wines.
Mercator Vineyards is located just east of the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia and adjacent to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site, our vineyards are situated on a bluff overlooking the historic Acadian dykelands. The land is fertile and the climate is effected by the tides of the Bay of Fundy.
At Mercator Gina Haverstock teams up with winemaker and vineyard manager Becca Griffin'
The Lieutenant Governor's Awards for excellence in Nova Scotia wines
2010 Fortified Castel, Mercator Vineyards, Wolfville
NV Passito Muscat, Mercator Vineyards, Wolfville