August is here again!!!

Good morning, and welcome to the end of July!  I love the summer and all it brings but I find it goes way to fast.  So I enjoy each beach day, and the warm waters around Cape Breton Island this time of year.

I took a break from writing to enjoy my first summer off in 34 years.  And its great.  I have been writing about alcohol  since I started this column and I will continue to do so.  I have also been mostly writing about wine but that will change this time.  I am going to begin another chapter about the wonderful new alcohol choices that are on the market and doing really well.

The N.S Spirit company from Pictou county is a great place to start.  I have drank the vodka and I love it.  I also have my friends drinking it as well.  Its smooth and easy drinking with just about any mix you desire in it.  It makes a great cocktail or martini and  is readily available in the NSLC in several sizes.  Its called Blue Lobster vodka and they have also a big hit on their hands with the new cooler of the same name.  Lemon lime flavor they are flying off the shelf as we speak.. Give them a try soon.

Another product from the same company is Willing to learn Gin.  I also have tried this delicious Gin and took it to Cuba with me on Vacation.  Its fresh lively and so delicious with a slice of lime and tonic this time of year on the deck.  It won a double gold medal in 2017.  The Rum they distill is called Fisherman’s Helper and they names are different and were taken from a help wanted add in the paper The Chronicle Herald.

So in closing please continue to enjoy the last of the beautiful summer in Cape Breton N.S.  See  you all soon . MMK

Local Red Wines

Good morning to you all and welcome to this beautiful day.  As I promised, I will expand on the Local wines from Nova Scotia.  I often hear from my customers that N.S. wines are too mild, Flabby, and just not what they are looking for in a Red wine.  I have to object to this answer.  I have tried many red wines from our province, and while i do agree that it is difficult to grow Red in our Maritime climate, we can and do deliver some great red .

The answer to why we can’t always grow full-bodied red is based on our colder springs, and damp N.S. weather.  In the news this week is a fine example of what happens when we have late frost like we did this past Monday.  I Heard that their was massive frost kill in the Valley and that the damage is quite extensive.  Other crops were killed as well like blueberries,  and strawberries.  Its been a few years since we have had a killing frost this late in the spring.  Again very challenging to grow grapes here.

Some of the great reds I have tried from our province are Pete Luckett’s Phone box red, lots of juicy berry flavor and easy drinking.  Jost put out a red last summer called Great Big Friggin Red.  This wine hit the shelves just in time for summer barbgue  weather and was a big hit with the new red wine drinkers as it was a bit sweet and went with whatever you are cooking on the grill.  Gina’s red is a wine from our own local Girl from Port Hawkesbury Gina Haverstock has put her name on this full-bodied red and its been very popular since a few years.  Gina is a winemaker from Gaspereau Vineyards.  She has some very good wines and is a very experienced winemaker and loves her work.

One of the biggest sellers in my store is of course Jost Terra Rosa.  It’s a simple wine but has lots of flavor and is inexpensive and comes in several sizes. Great for enjoying on the deck or having with food for supper.  Everyone loves this wine.  Jost 4 Skins is another great red that flies off the shelf in the warm summer months.. Easy drinking and has four different grapes in the bottle.  Tourist love the name and the juice inside.

There are lots of other wines available on the market today and you can pick up these wines at your local NSLC, or visit one of the many wineries in our beautiful province as you are driving around this summer during your vacation.  I highly recommend visiting these skilled wine makers and seeing how dedicated they are to their craft.  You wont be disappointed. Till next time .  Enjoy your weekend.




Good morning, and welcome to Saturday.  Its pouring rain here in West Bay today so its a great day to write about our local wines.  I have heard repeatedly from customers over the years about their dislike for N.S wines.  I remember when I started at the NSLC many years ago, we had some not so great wines for sale and the Industry was just beginning in the late 8o’s.  There was a few options in large bottles, but nothing like what we have today. The last few years have proven that we are moving forward and growing in leaps and bounds.  I can’t say enough about the Wines that the vineyards are producing today.

In N.S. today we have  20 wineries producing red and white wines, and sparkling that are being compared to Champagne from France.  I have been lucky enough to try many of them during wine tours, sampling at work, and my own interest in local wines.  The climate here can be difficult to work with but in the valley, where many of the wineries are from, the weather is a bit more cooperative.  However in Marble Mountain which is only 15 minutes from my home, they are growing grapes and are having luck getting the wines on the market.

Our white wines are really shining and winning awards with the Tidal Bay label.  Its the best of N.S. with the climate, soil and terrain all being taken into account by the very experienced wine makers out there today.  The white wines I have tasted from here are amazing and really match up well with our local seafood for which we are famous.  Lobsters, scallops clams, and mussels will go hand in hand with our wines.  Crisp and light they really are good.  Oysters are also being enjoyed  with our amazing Sparkling organic bubbly as well and they are a pairing made in heaven.  You really have to try the  L Acadie  Sparkling Wines from Wolfville N. S.  They are wonderful for every special occasion.

So get out there are try some new wines from N. S. soon.  I will continue on this topic in the weeks to come.   Enjoy your weekend!

Spring is here!

Good morning all and welcome to spring.  I am a lover of spring and all that it brings.  Flowers, sunshine, bugs and all.  I love gardening, and planting stuff that will come back year after year.i love barbq’s and carrots and beans from my garden.  I also love camping and being in the great outdoors.  That being said I also love the change in foods that we eat from heavy stews and warm comforting soups to lighter fresher foods like veggies and fish and local seafood.  I know that I change what I eat and also change my tastes in wines and many others do as well.  So to expand on this I see lots of people coming in and looking at more lighter wines liquors and beers, and also all the new products that show up in our stores for the warmer months such as coolers and Rose’s.

I love Rose wine, and I have since I first tasted it many years ago.  I think it was an E&J White Zinfandel that I purchased a few  decades ago.  Its was sweeter and pink in color and I loved it. Cold refreshing, and lower alcohol. I Loved that it was 8.5% and it was so good.

glasses of rose wine
Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Today there are so many choices to pick from in Rose.  They come from Italy, Chile, Canada, France, USA, And New Zealand and others I am sure I missed.  I love to put rose out on the deck in a bucket of ice and just sit and relax on a Sunday evening in the last rays of sunshine.  They also come in many different styles and hues of pink. They can be dryer in taste that some of the sweeter styles on the market, so you can read the tag and see the sugar content.  They also pair well with fish, or light salads with strawberry’s and all the wonderful meals we eat during the summer.  Grilled asparagus  on top of a pasta is one of my favorites and i can pick an endless supply from my garden in the spring.

Spring is when all the Roses hit the shelves in your local NSLC and usually there is a special spot in the store where it is easy for you to find these wonderful wines .  Drop in today and check out the Rose’ rack.  Till next time Good Bye.

Happy Mothers Day

Hi there all, Happy Friday once again.  Today I am going to say Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.  I love this weekend as I love to enjoy my Mothers Day in the outdoors and hopefully in the Sun eating my first taste of Local Lobster.  OMG I love those wonderful tasty crustations from the Ocean.  I know there are other species of lobsters in the world as I have tasted them in some southern locations, but I have to say our lobsters are the best in the world bar none.  Succulent, juicy, sweet, and cooked just till tender.  This is how I spend my mothers day.  Now I know that to really enjoy those NS lobsters you should have a great bottle of wine to go with them.  My favorite wines are the local whites which really make our seafood shine.  Our Tidal Bay wines are crisp, lightly dry and are perfect for this occasion.  Pick one from your favorite winery such as Benjamin Bridge, Jost, Gaspereau, or one of the many available in store this weekend.  Another favorite of mine with seafood is sparkling wine which also goes great and sure makes Mothers day a little bit more special.  I really love the bubbles and there are so many new different types to try and of course our own Nova 7 is a perfect example how wonderful our local white wines really are.  Come on in and find that perfect bottle of NS wine this weekend for your Mother.   Goodbye for now and enjoy your weekend.pexels-photo-248455.jpeg

How to pick a wine in the NSLC

Hi all, i am going to help you pick a wine in the NSLC.   I see a lot of people come in and say will you help me pick a wine, I don’t know anything about wine.  Well there is a lot to know, but most can do very well with a few simple questions.  First you ask yourself how much you are willing to spend?  SO lets say your have a budget of $20.  Next ask yourself who is the wine for?  What style of wine do they like? Red or White? IS it a celebration for someone, or is it just an evening with a nice meal or relaxing with friends?  Once you have that figured out  the rest is easy.  So lets say the person is a white wine lover.  Next ask if they like Dry medium or sweet wine.  Once you get this figured out its all laid out for you.  Pick a country, and go from there.  The tags in my store are there to help you and will tell you the style of the wine and the dryness and any food pairings you are wanting to pair with.  The wine is also laid out from top to bottom on the shelves.  Top are the Highest prices and best  we have to offer.  Second shelve are the middle of the road priced options, and the bottom shelf are the lower priced options and or value priced wines in a larger bottle.  Don’t let that bottom shelf fool you though because they have some awesome wines there that people gravitate to all the time, and i do as well.  For example the Smoky Bay wines from Australia and retailing for $10.99 and is an exceptional quality for such a small price, and flies off the shelf fast.  Well thats all for today folks, but the next time you are shopping in the store, take a peak and see what you find that new and wonderful in the NSLC. See you next week.

In Italy Food and wine are all about the experience, Local fresh ingredients, and home cooking are the things that matter most in the Country shaped like a boot! Then there is the wine. World wide the wines of Italy are enjoyed and discussed over the meal. That meal may consist of pasta, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and of course Wine. Favorites of mine are Tommasi Valpolicella, Ruffino Chianti, And in White Orvieto Casasole. Very easy drinking wines that will accent your meals very nicely. Enjoy your weekend all.

Happy Friday everyone. Today I am going to talk about Italian Wine. My favorite category. I love Italian food therefore I love their wine because its all about the wine and the food in Italy. I am a fan of the Valpolicella, Chianti, and Pinot Grigio. Most Italian wines are medium bodied and are very food friendly so Steak or Spagetti, or Stew, they all match well. On the lighter side a crisp light Pinot Grigio with Cream sauce pasta and shrimp also hits the spot. Enjoy your weekend. Ciao

I would love to help take the stigma off some French wines. I have watched this category over the years and what I see is that people are a bit intimidated by the French wine section. Maybe its because of the French language or the difficult labels on the wine bottles. However once people see how easy it is to choose a French wine over other countries it becomes a little bit more fun. So here we go. There are really only a few wines you need to know to be a pro a choosing a French wine. In France it is all about the B’s. Bordeaux, Beaujolais, and Burgundy. Bordeaux is a blended red of Merlot, Cabernet or Cabernet Franc. SO if you like a Aussie Cabernet Merlot you will love a Bordeaux. These are some of the most pricey wines in the world but you will find a lovely bottle of Bordeaux for under $20. Beaujolais is a light fruity wine which is great with all food and is easy drinking and has very low tannin’s so the wine although dry, it is a no fuss drinking now type of wine, and are again under $20. Nouveau Beaujolais only comes out on the third Thursday in November. Its the new wine of the year and is not meant to be aged but to drink now. Its light and easy to drink and is a fun hobby for some to get the new wine of the year and Celebrate the latest vintage. Burgundy is one of the least understood of the French wines. Its also one of the most expensive wines in the world. However you can depend on this wine for every meal you want to prepare as it is the very versatile Pinot Noir grape which pairs very easily with most foods, and also one of my Favorites in all countries. France makes delightful Pinot Noir in all price ranges from $15–$30 and up but it will be called Burgundy when it hails from this region in France, and the price will reflect this. Ok, so now the last one I need to outline is of course Champagne. Its a beautiful bubbly consisting of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which is used for celebrating all of life’s great occasions. Its also very pricey but its worth every dime. Usually goes for $65.00 and up and its name can only be used for the real thing from the Champagne region of France. All other bubbly wines are called Sparkling Wines. So to describe the taste of Champagne is to say Dry, Bubbly effervescent and delightful. Try one for you next big event. Au Revoir till next time, Mary



“Mary I need your help!  Hi my name is Mary Mackay and I am a product specialist with the Nova Scotia liquor Corporation, and I love sharing my product knowledge with everyone who needs me.

I have worked since 1985 with this company and I want to share my information and help others learn as I have about the world of Spirits, Wine and Beer!

Hi Mary I am having corn Beef and cabbage, please help me find a wine for this meal” This meal requires something like a Merlot, or Pinot Noir, something not too heavy. or for you white wine drinkers, Pinot Grigio,  Or Riesling will do nicely.