Leslee Fredericks, a Retail Product Specialist at the Bridgewater NSLC, is a lifelong student of wine.
You had a career before working for the NSLC. What prompted you to make the change?
I was lucky to have a really interesting career as an economic development professional. While I was on a contract in Northern Ontario I was happy to discover a vibrant wine culture. I heard lots of fascinating stories of wine travels and was enamored with some of the wines folks shared from their cellars. When I returned to Nova Scotia, I worked with a couple of local wineries and decided it might be fun to turn my enthusiasm for wine into a new career.
What training have you done to enhance your knowledge of wine?
I took the Sensory Development module through CAPS and enjoyed it so much I completed the Sommelier program. After graduating, I wanted to keep current and continue to learn, so I enrolled in the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) program. This past spring, I had the good fortune to complete WSET 3 in Italy. My plan is to tackle WSET 4.
What inspires you to keeping learning and studying?
Wine is such a fascinating subject, encompassing so many other disciplines. I love how it ties into geography. I spent time in France last year exploring wine regions and it was so enriching to visit these beautiful areas and learn about how wine has contributed to their cultural identity. Wine is a topic that keeps you discovering.
Do you enjoy Nova Scotia wine?
I’m particularly fond of some of the aromatic whites Nova Scotia winemakers are producing with grapes such as Riesling and Muscat. The Traditional Method sparkling wines are also amongst my favourite local wines.
Do you have a personal connection to the industry?
I must because it is such an integral part of my life. Aside from being a Product Specialist with the NSLC, I like to champion the local industry and hope that I can contribute to a more robust wine culture. I’ve had lots of opportunity to do outreach for the NSLC in the community and can see the value the wine industry can have on supporting cultural industries.
How have you seen the industry change since you started studying and working with wine?
There is defi nitely more local interest in wine with the growth of Nova Scotia’s wine industry. I am approached everyday by people who are just starting to drink wine and are curious about different varietals and styles. I am really happy to see so many young people interested in wine. Given the age of some of our vines and an influx of talented young winemakers, I am confident I’ll be chatting with new wine drinkers often in the “Nova Scotia Wine” section. The industry has come a long way in producing quality wines with broad appeal.
What’s the future of the industry?
I think it’s all up from here. Wine is capturing a greater market share in the alcoholic beverage industry. As the industry evolves, wineries will establish what works best and continue to improve, which is great news for all of us because wineries and grape growers are contributing to local prosperity and they create spin-off opportunities.
This fall, what Nova Scotia wine styles will be in your glass?
I love showing off Nova Scotia wineries to friends and family visiting from outside of the province. It also gives me the opportunity to discover new offerings and vintages. I am fi nding new favorites all the time. However, there will likely be some terrifi c new craft beers in my glass as well.