“This is Our Wine, We’re Going to Drink It”: Exploring Newfoundland and Labrador Terroir through Berry Wines

Main Article Content

Ema Noëlla Kibirkstis


Berry wines are a popular product in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Produced both commercially and at home, these wines are made from small fruits that thrive on this land. Wine has been an important import commodity since European colonization in the sixteenth century, and later an important homemade product. Through archival research and an interview with a local berry wine maker, this paper articulates the localized significance of berry wines using the concept of terroir.

Article Details

Lead Essays


Scholarly Secondary Sources

Baker, Melvin. 2012. 1921 Report of the Commission on the Prohibition Plebiscite Act. Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 27 (2): 267-279.

Bohmrich, Roger. 1996. Terroir: Competing Perspectives on the Roles of Soil, Climate and People. Journal of Wine Research 7 (1): 33-46.

Boulanger-Lapointe, Noémie, J. Gérin-Lajoie, L. Siegwart Collier, et al. 2019. Berry Plants and Berry Picking in Inuit Nunangat: Traditions in a Changing Socio-Ecological Landscape. Human Ecology 47: 81–93. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-018-0044-5.

Cadigan, Sean. 2009. Newfoundland and Labrador: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Davis, Hannah. 2019. Review of Meanings of Maple: An Ethnography of Sugaring, by Michael Lange. Journal of American Folklore 132 (525): 339-341.

de Gómara, Francisco López. [1552-1555] 1885. Other Notable Thynges as Tovchynge the Indies: And first of the foreknoledgeage that the poet Seneca had of the fyndynge this newe worlde and other regions not then knowen, translated by Richard Eden in The First Three English Books on America: [?1511]-1555 A.D., ed. Edward Arber, 337-351. Birmingham, England.

Demossier, Marion. 2000. Culinary Heritage and Produits du Terroir in France: Food for Thought. In Recollections of France: Memories, Identities and Heritage in Contemporary France, ed. Sarah Blowen, Marion Demossier, and Jeanine Picard, 141-167. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

——. 2011. Beyond Terroir: Territorial Construction, Hegemonic Discourses, and French Wine Culture. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17 (4): 685-705.

——. 2020. Burgundy: The Global Story of Terroir. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Everett, Holly. 2007. A Welcoming Wilderness: The Role of Wild Berries in the Construction of Newfoundland and Labrador as a Tourist Destination. Ethnologies 29 (1-2): 49-80.

Fernald, M. L. 1910. Notes on the Plants of Wineland the Good. Rhodora 12 (134): 17-38.

Fournier, Laurent Sébastien. 2010. Mise en Tourism des Produits de Terroir, Événements Festifs et Mutation du Patrimoine Ethnologique en Provence (France). Ethnologies 32 (2): 103-144.

Halpert, Herbert, and John D. A. Widdowson. 1996. The Old Woman Who Wanted to Pick Marshberries. In Folktales of Newfoundland: The Resilience of Oral Tradition, vol. 2: 935-939. New York: Garland Publishing.

Hermansen, Mark Emil Tholstrup. 2012. Creating Terroir: An Anthropological Perspective on New Nordic Cuisine as an Expression of Nordic Identity. Anthropology of Food 7. http:aof.revues.org/7249 .

Jesperson, Ivan F. 1974. Fat-Back & Molasses: A Collection of Favourite Old Recipes from Newfoundland & Labrador. St. John’s: I. F. Jesperson.

Kirwin, W.J., G. M. Story, and J. D. A. Widdowson, eds. 1990. Dictionary of Newfoundland English. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kuhnlein, Harriet V. and Nancy J. Turner. 1992. Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany, and Use. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Publishers.

Kune, Keneva, trans. 2001. The Saga of Greenlanders. In The Sagas of Icelanders, ed. Jane Smiler, 636-653. New York: Penguin Classics.

Large, Joshua John Henry. 2012. Empires of Commerce: British Trade in Newfoundland Cod and Port Wine, 1780–1850. PhD diss., The University of Chicago, Chicago.

Long, Lucy M. 1998. Culinary Tourism: A Folkloristic Perspective on Eating and Otherness. Southern Folklore 55 (3): 181-204.

Lukacs, Paul. 2012. Inventing Wine: A New World History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Marshall, Ingeborg. 1996. History and Ethnography of the Beothuk. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.

Narvaez, Peter. 1991. Newfoundland Berry Pickers “In the Fairies.” In The Good People: New Fairylore Essays, ed. Peter Narváez, 336-368. New York: Garland.

Oostindie, Gert, and Jessica V. Roitman. 2014. Dutch Atlantic Connections, 1680-1800: Linking Empire, Bridging Borders. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.

Patterson, Tim, and John Buechsenstein. 2018. Wine and Place: A Terroir Reader. Oakland: University of California Press.

Pinney, Thomas. 2007. A History of Wine in America, Volume 1: From the Beginnings to Prohibition. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Pope, Peter Edward. 2004. Fish into Wine: The Newfoundland Plantation in the Seventeenth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Quinn, David B. 1977. North America from Earliest Discovery to First Settlements: The Norse Voyages to 1612. New York: Harper & Row.

Roberts, Sheilah. 2003. For Maids Who Brew & Bake: Rare & Excellent Recipes from 17th Century Newfoundland. St. John’s: Flanker Press.

Robinson, Jancis, and Julia Harding, eds. 2015. The Oxford Companion to Wine, 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sommer, Brian J. 2008. The Geography of Wine: How Landscape, Cultures, Terroir, and the Weather Make a Good Drop. New York: Plume.

Thomas, Aaron. 1968. The Newfoundland Journal of Aaron Thomas, edited by Jean M. Murray. Don Mills, ON: Longsman Canada Ltd.

Trubek, Amy B. 2009. Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Uther, Hans-Jörg. [2004] 2011. 2030 The Old Woman and Her Pig. In The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography. Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Part II: Tales of the Stupid Ogre, Anecdotes and Jokes, and Formula Tales, 522-523. Folklore Fellows Communications, 285. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.

Whalen, Philip. 2007. A Merciless Source of Happy Memories: Gaston Roupnel and the Folklore of Burgundian “Terroir.” Journal of Folklore Research 44 (1): 21-40.

John Mason. (1620) 1887. A Briefe Discovrse of Nevv-found-land […]. In Capt. John Mason, The Founder of New Hampshire […], ed. John Ward Dean, 143-158. Boston: The Prince Society.

Heritage Newfoundland & Labrador. 2000. Mason, John. http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/proprietary-john-mason.php .

Archival Sources

Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore Archives

Babb, Kathleen. 1979. Community and Group Celebrations in Carbonear, Newfoundland in 1905. Unpublished research paper. MUNFLA 79-295.

Downey, Ralph Francis. 1971. Grunts. MUNFLA Folklore Survey Card, MS 71-39/47. Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word Form Database. http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/ref/collection/elrcdne/id/30679.

Hunt, Larry Andrew. 1972. Moonshine, Beer and Wine; Beliefs and Customs. Unpublished research paper. MUNFLA 72-250.

Metcalfe, Fraser. 1973. berryocky. MUNFLA Folklore Survey Card, Q 71 D. Dictionary of Newfoundland English Word Form Database. http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/ref/collection/elrcdne/id/7441.

Pike, Stephen G. 1978. Winemaking in the Home, Topsail, C.B. and St. John’s. Unpublished research paper. MUNFLA 78-256.

Pynn, Warrick. 1978. [Miscellaneous information]. Unpublished research paper. MUNFLA 79-034.

The Rooms Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador

Prohibition Act and Liquor Control: Petitions for Prohibiting Manufacture, Importation and Sale of Liquors (1575 Signatures). 1915. File 271.A. Office of the Colonial Secretary Fonds. Special Files. Series GN 2.5, Sub-series GN 2.5.271: 1915-1925.

——: Applications for Import of Wine and Whiskey; 23 June 1916-2 Dec. 1919. File 271.B. Office of the Colonial Secretary Fonds. Special Files. Series GN 2.5, Sub-series GN 2.5.271: 1915-1925.

——: Board of Liquor Control Rules and Regulations Regarding Importation of Alcoholic Preparations; 7 May 1917-16 Dec. 1918; File 271.F.1. Office of the Colonial Secretary Fonds. Special Files. Series GN 2.5, Sub-series GN 2.5.271: 1915-1925.

——: Correspondence and Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Administration of the Prohibition Act. Commission and Report Bound with Ribbon. 10 Aug. 1920-8 Dec. 1925. File 271.G. Office of the Colonial Secretary Fonds. Special Files. Series GN 2.5, Sub-series GN 2.5.271: 1915-1925.

Legal, Newspaper, Radio, Television, and Other Online Sources

Auk Island Winery. 2017-2020. https://aukislandwinery.com/pages/about .

Baganza, Chantal. 2020. Chef Sheila Flaherty on Inuit Cuisine. Chatelaine.com, https://www.chatelaine.com/food/sheila_flaherty_inuit_cuisine/

Blades, Ted, and Camille Turner. 2019. Confronting Newfoundland’s Role in the Slave Trade, On the Go. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: CBC Radio, September 9.

Excise Act, 2001, SC 2002, c. 22. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-14.1/FullText.html.

Flaherty, Sheila, and Kenton Leier. 2019. Menu. A Taste of the Arctic lk&iksaarniq, https://www.itk.ca/atota/.

Frozen In Time Ltd. 2018-2020. Our Wines. https://frozenintimeltd.com/wines/ .

Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, RSC 1985, c. I-3. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/I-3/20170921/P1TT3xt3.html.

Jamon.com. 2020. Jamón—The Artisanal Ham Of Spain. https://www.jamon.com/about-jamon-iberico.html .

Jeter, Clay, dir. 2015. Dan Barber. Chef’ Table. Season 1, Episode 2. Aired February 12, 2015. Netflix.

Junaid, Bushra, Guest Curator. 2019. What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic. The Rooms Exhibits, February 29-September 7. https://www.therooms.ca/exhibits/past-exhibit/what-carries-us-newfoundland-and-labrador-in-the-black-atlantic .

Kish, Rheanna. 2015. What’s the Difference between a Cobbler and a Crisp. Canadian Living, July 6. https://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking-and-desserts/article/what-s-the-difference-between-a-cobbler-and-a-crisp.

Mayer, Andre. 2011. Canada’s weird liquor laws. CBC News, May 13. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canada-s-weird-liquor-laws-1.1004724.

McGee, Harold, and Daniel Patterson. 2007. Talk Dirt to Me. New York Times, May 6. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/style/tmagazine/06tdirt.html.

Newman Wine Vaults (436 Water Street, St. John’s). 2016. Heritage Newfoundland & Labrador. Rev. July 2016. http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/society/newman-wine-vaults.php.

Shortis, H. F. 1913. Where Was Vinland The Good? Evening Telegram, April 12: 5. http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/compoundobject/collection/telegram19/id/81045/rec/2.

Turner, Camille. 2020. In Floe/Flot, Bonavista Biennale 2019. https://bonavistabiennale.com/catalogue/artists/camille-turner/.

UNESCO. 2015-2020. The Climats, terroirs of Burgundy. World Heritage List, Reference no. 1425, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1425/ .

Vidalia Onions. 2020. About Vidalia Onions. https://www.vidaliaonion.org/about-vidalia-onions/.

Whitbourne, Richard. 1620. A Discourse and Discovery of New-Found-Land. London: Felix Kyngston for Phillip Barrett. Center for Newfoundland Studies—Digitized Books, Memorial University of Newfoundland—Digital Archives Initiative. http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/ref/collection/cns/id/23942.

Winkler, Marc. 2018. “Ridiculous”: Yellowknifers react to the Supreme Court ruling on importing alcohol. CBC News, April 20. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yellowknife-reacts-beer-supreme-court-ruling-1.4627812?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar.

Zussman, Richard. 2019. Ottawa gets rid of inter-provincial liquor restrictions, provinces still need to negotiate deal. Global News, April 9. https://globalnews.ca/news/5149144/bc-inter-provincial-liquor-restrictions/.