Things are moving right along for tourism in Saint John. A few months ago I was honoured to participate in an updated "We All Win With Tourism" campaign. This campaign took several recognizable people and asked us to try to explain some of the benefits of tourism to NB in general, and Saint John in particular.
Many people have the idea that being in tourism is not a real job, that I'm doing it for fun. I'm going to clear something up - yes, I am doing it for fun, and yes, it is a REAL job. Not only is it a real job, tourism is an industry that many people take part in without realizing it. In addition to the obvious players like hotels, taxis, airports, and attractions, there are less obvious players in tourism including gas stations, restaurants, parks, shops and boutiques, drugstores, post offices, and so on. Anyone a visitor (even if they're just passing through) has contact with, has an opportunity to share why that visitor should consider staying longer or return in the future.
In New Brunswick, we are home to natural wonders including the highest tides in the world, and unspoiled rivers and forests. We also have huge cultural significance with respect to European settlement, which started here in 1604, in addition to 10,000 years of Aboriginal heritage and culture.
I for one am excited to get back in the game. You've probably already noticed the changes to this website including a new and vastly improved booking portal. All the public tours are listed for the year giving you plenty of time to plan. Feel free to check out our sister site at www.SaintJohnTourDesk.com which will be home to several operators offering tours and experiences. Finally, Barbour's General Store will celebrate a Grand Opening for the season on May 31st and June 1st. I hope to see you there!
It's that time of year again. Uncorked Tours is looking for tour guides in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton and St. Andrews, as well as part time and full time staff for Barbour's General Store in Uptown Saint John.
Must love NB and be able to share awesome experiences with visitors
Active and outgoing
Comfortable engaging visitors
Knowledgeable of local history, culture
Knowledgeable of local craft breweries, cottage wineries, cideries, meaderies, distilleries, etc
Exceptional customer service
Background in tourism or hospitality
Bilingual (Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton tour guides)
Pay starts at $12/hr ($13/hr for bilingual staff, $15/hr for tour guides)
Barbour's General Store is open June 1-Oct 31, 2016 (full time/part time candidates must be able to complete contract)
Tour guide training May 9-13, 2016
Please forward resumes with cover letter and references to Gill@UncorkedNB.com
As the days start to turn a little cooler, the grapes we've been waiting for start to respond through a process called veraison. This is where the acids in the grape are converted into the sugars that will eventually become alcohol in wine. For red wine grapes, the change is particularly obvious as they go from a light green colour to a deep red, purple and, in some cases, black.
Many of our local wineries are thinking about the harvest and some even have public harvest days. Fall also brings an abundance of colour in the leaves of trees and a bounty at Farmer's Markets across the province.
Many would argue that now is the best time to visit wineries and travel through the back roads of NB. There is a good chance that you will see the vineyards alive with activity as grape growers net their crops to protect them from birds and other critters, check their grapes daily to predict the best harvest time, and also thin the grapes to allow the vines to pour their energy into a smaller number of grape clusters. All of this is essential to ensure that the sugars in the grapes are as high as possible.
The harvest is just the first step in a long series of tasks needed to create the perfectly balanced NB wine. Visiting a winery gives you the opportunity to learn the whole process, from grape to glass, and meet the people making your favourite tipple.
There are still several tours available to visit NB's wineries, or you can call ahead and visit on your own (take a designated driver!)
Moncton wineries: Sept 26, Oct 4, Oct 11, Oct 31
Fredericton wineries: Sept 27, Oct 25
Fredericton breweries: Oct 10
Saint John wineries: Oct 3, Oct 18, Oct 24
St Andrews wineries: Oct 17 (includes Indulge wine trail bracelet)
Summer has been ticking right along, and here at Uncorked Tours we've been working on a couple of major projects that have taken a lot of time.
Starting in September, the focus of this blog will be shifting slightly to include stories of some of the staycations and day trips that abound in NB. In between tour dates, I've been making an effort to be a "tourist at home" and have visited the Fundy Trail, Campobello Island, the Festival of Flavour, Chocolatefest and the Winegarden Winefest. These were all fun, inexpensive and awesome activities that I had never done before, stay tuned for photos over the coming months.
The second big project has already been a source of some press. Uncorked Tours has taken over the operation of Barbour's General Store in Uptown Saint John. We have created a Saint John Tour Desk, for visitors and locals to learn about things to do in Saint John and purchase tours offered by six different operators in the city.
There is also some great local retail including Ganong candy, Barbour's teas, Big Tide merchandise, fabulous graphic Saint John T-shirts and other goodies. We have added "The Exchange", a self-serve coffee and tea bar in the back of The Store, serving Java Moose coffee and King Cole tea.
I hope you'll join us for the Grand Re-opening on Saturday, August 22nd. The doors open at 9am.
We have great wine starting to come from our wineries here in NB, and today I want to focus my attention on rosé.
Rosé wines are made one of two ways. In traditional rosé winemaking, red wine grapes are harvested and crushed and allowed to ferment with their skins on for a little bit of time. The skin is what gives the wine its colour. The grapes are pressed once the colour is deep enough, and then left to continue fermenting and ageing.
The second method for producing rosé involves taking a red wine and a white wine, in most cases already fermented, and blending the two wines together with a larger proportion of white to red, creating that beautiful pink colour that just screams "summer sipper".
In addition to variations in vinification (winemaking), rosé wines also vary greatly in their sugar content, going from very dry to almost syrupy sweet. Here in NB, we have an additional variety of rosé wines, fruit-based. Strawberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb, Raspberry, Cranberry - these all produce beautiful rosé wines of varying intensity.
Rosé, thanks to it's versatility and balance of acid, tannins, and usually fruit-forward flavours, is a wonderful pairing for the great Canadian BBQ! The classic strawberry nose of most rosés lend themselves nicely to pairing with a bit of smoke and char. For spicier dishes, choose a sweeter wine, and for lighter vegetable and fish dishes, consider going with something drier so it doesn't overpower your meal.
Here are some great choices (many of which are available at the Superstores in ANBL's wine pilot program):
Mott's Landing - Wild Rosé
Mott's Landing - Cranpagne
Gillis of Belleisle - Honey Rosé (a little bit sweeter)
Magnetic Hill Winery - Mystique
Belliveau Orchard - Sour cherry
Winegarden Estate - Raspberry
This will be the second year that I offer winery tours in the Moncton region. I am so lucky to have the fabulous partners I've found in the Moncton wineries so I wanted to share a little bit of information about them with you!
Magnetic Hill Winery is located right in the City of Moncton in a beautifully renovated farmhouse that now serves as their home, business, and charming B&B with two guest rooms. From the winery, you can look down over the hill and see for miles. It's a beautiful spot to have a picnic (with wine of course) and watch the sun set from their comfortable patio.
Jeff and Janet Everett started their family business with a fruit u-pick. It wasn't long before they realized that instead of selling the fruit, they could process the fruit into a value-added product and Magnetic Hill Winery was born. The winery specializes in fruit wines, but they do have a Marquette wine that has recently been released. We visit Magnetic Hill Winery every Thursday-Saturday on the Westmorland Wine tour.
Winegarden Estate is NB's oldest winery and has been producing wine from Baie Vert, NB since 1991. The Rosswog family founded the business when they emigrated from Germany, and originally conceived it as a distillery. Winegarden still produces a huge selection of fine spirits, but the bulk of their production and sales is in wine.
In addition to estate-grown wines, Winegarden also imports juice to create their own Rieslings, Cabernets and other styles of wine. This winery thrives on experimentation and is continually trying to improve on their winemaking and distilling practices. They also know how to throw a party and will be hosting the 16th annual Winegarden wine fair on Sunday, August 9th.
Belliveau Orchard is well know for the apples they produce at Grand Pré. Located just outside Memramcook, they have one of the largest orchards in the province and a farm market on site selling produce from other producers nearby. Belliveau Orchard is a great spot to take the family on a summer or fall day, with lots of activities to entertain the kids, and delicious wines to please the parents.
Belliveau Orchard produces three wines available at ANBL stores across the province as well as "Scow", a hard cider named after the flat-bottomed, hard-working boats that used to traverse the Petitcodiac River. Belliveau Orchard easily fuses the traditional with state-of-the-art at their operation. Their pear wine (Poire) is definitely one of my favs!
Waterside Winery is a brand new partner for us this year. With the addition of the Fundy Wine and Art tour on Wednesdays and Sundays, we now have the opportunity to visit this great fruit winery located in Waterside, very near Alma (Fundy Park). Linda and Ed have been making fruit wines for many years, and one of my favourites is their rhubarb sparkling wine sold in 355mL bottles.
I'm so excited to show this place off. It is a small winery with great character located right on the water. Waterside Winery is a great addition to the tours this summer and a long-time partner in the winemaking industry.
Moncton Winery Tour Schedule:
The past couple weeks have been busy. You may have noticed that this website just receive a huge refresh for the season, partnerships with hotels around the province are in the works to give you the best tour and accommodations rates possible, and we've been training new guides.
Not just anyone can lead a tour with Uncorked Tours. Our guides need to be fun and personable, but on top of that, they need to know a lot about wine, beer, spirits, cider, Saint John and NB history, things to do in the city, and of course, where to find the best [insert your favourite Maritime food here].
Our guides need to be comfortable with all of our partners and all of the tour stops. They need to have extra stories at the ready in case they're ahead of schedule, or more often, they need to know to move the tour along when they're falling behind schedule. Our guides make the whole trip worth it and it's a huge responsibility!
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce you to the guides you can expect to see in Saint John this summer. Please join me in welcoming the Saint John team!
Mike Marino - Mike joined us last year and is a real pleasure to have around. His real passion is helping people achieve their goals, and he loves showing guests around the city.
Anna Stackhouse - Anna joins the team this year for our weekend tours. She loves children and truly enjoys being with people. Anna is the life of the party wherever she goes and you'll love having her show you around. Anna will be offering walking and winery tours.
Monique Losier - Monique recently retired from over 30 years in the healthcare field. She loves wine, almost as much as she loves being outdoors canoeing, kayaking or hiking with friends. Monique will be offering walking tours and winery tours in both official languages this summer.
Adam Kimball - Adam is Uncorked Tours' Chief Party Officer (for real, he even has cards). You'll find him at special events making sure everyone is having a great time and their glass is full. He's the Beer Guy to my Wine Gal. You'll see him leading many of our beer tours this summer.
Natalie Durand - Natalie returns to Uncorked Tours this year ready to teach you all about NB wine! She runs most of the tours in Moncton, but finds herself pulled to Saint John for private tastings and special events.
We also have two new guides in Fredericton. They are beginning training this Thursday and we will be welcoming them officially to the team next month.
At Uncorked Tours we're all about sharing the fabulous wine, beer and spirits being produced in the Province of New Brunswick.
It is my pleasure to share with you the great food and drink being produced here in NB, as well as the awesome experiences you can have while living here or visiting the province.
May you always have good wine in your glass and friends to share it with.