Nova Scotia

Acadia lab to streamline analysis for Nova Scotia wineries

A new lab at Acadia University will give Nova Scotia wineries important and accurate information about the wines they are producing, such as alcohol and sugar content.

Nova Scotia wineries formerly had to send samples to labs in Montreal and California

A new agri-food and beverage lab at Acadia University will depend on sophisticated equipment to analyze wine. (The Associated Press)

Acadia University will open a wine-analyzing lab Friday that is says will help improve production by giving Nova Scotia wineries accurate information about what's in the wines they are making.

Chemistry professor Anthony Tong says the A Lab, short for agri-food and beverages laboratory, has sophisticated equipment that measures the alcohol and sugar content of wine compounds, as well as other factors such as stability, acid levels, tannins, yeasts and metals.

Taste buds don't factor into the outcomes, he told CBC's Information Morning on Wednesday.

"I rely on my equipment in the lab, it is very reliable, very consistent," he said. "Human taste buds cannot do that."

The information is important so that wines meet industry standards and regulations, and the work can also help wineries improve the taste.

The $500,000 lab, funded by the provincial and federal governments, allows testing to be done in the heart of Nova Scotia's wine country instead of in Montreal or California. The lab will also test beer, cider and distilled spirits.

"Distances cause delays," Tong said. Having a local lab helps wineries to make faster production decisions, he said.

Producers can also visit the facility and speak to lab scientists for consulting and troubleshooting, Tong said.

Acadia University chemist Anthony Tong, shown in this 2015 photo, said the wine-analyzing lab will benefit Nova Scotia wineries. (CBC)

The other advantage is that monitoring wine compounds and their different concentrations will eventually allow chemists "to create a fingerprint" for every type of wine analyzed at the A Lab.

In 2014, Nova Scotia wineries produced 1.8 million litres of wine annually, with sales of $15.4 million.