Richibucto River Wine Estate was established in 2005 by Alan Hudson. He grew up locally and had lived on the property with his family for 20 years before starting the vineyard. He is also the winemaker. His daughter Brittany works full time at the winery with him, and his wife Bonnie and son Jason help as well. The winery also employs 3 seasonal vineyard workers, part-time winery workers, and a harvest crew during harvest season.
In 2005, the first 10 acres of grapes were planted, followed by another 10 acres in the next couple years to make 20 acres in total. There is 20+ varieties of hybrid grapes, including some of the more commonly known ones like Marechal Foch, L'Acadie Blanc and Marquette, as well as varieties like Radisson, Prairie Star, Frontenac, etc.
All wines are made from our grapes. Everything is done on-property, from the growing to the wine-making. Our grapes are harvested by hand, processed, and put into tanks until ready to be bottled. Whites are usually bottled the following spring after harvest. Some reds can age in tanks for years before bottling, depending on when we feel they are ready.
Our first wines were made in 2008, in a room in our building which Alan renovated from an airplane storage room into a temporary wine-making area. Because of vineyard devastation in 2009 caused by extremely harsh winter, we had to put off our plans to build a winery in 2010, in order to rebuild our vineyard.
When we opened our first little store in 2010, we had a few different wines available, including 2 reds, a rose, and 2 whites. As the years went by, Alan's skills as a winemaker got better and better, and with the first bountiful crop of 2010, he won his first 4 National Medals in the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards.
In September of 2013 an extension was put on the building which included the new winery, a cold room, washing area, and new store and tasting area!
By 2015, at the 10 year mark for the vineyard and 5 years with the store open, we presented 16 different brands of wines, including white, red, rosé, and a port style fortified wine. We had 19 medals including 5 Gold, 4 Silver, and 10 Bronze.
In 2015, Alan won a Gold Medal for his 2011 Marechal Foch, which stands as the first red grape wine from NB to win a gold medal in this national competition. He went on to win two more Bronze in the fall in the Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards for two more reds, 2013 Leon Millot Blend, and 2013 Frontenac.
We expanded our sales reach in 2015 by participating in the Grocery Pilot Program which included 3 Atlantic Superstores, 1 Sobeys and 1 co-op.
In 2016, the program was expanded to include 17 grocery stores through NB.
We also are expanding into ANBL (NB liquor) DEPOT and corporate store locations.
We planted 600 more plants of La Cresent grapes in June 2016 and also have a couple new brands of wine in the making for release in the next year, as well as a whole new style of wine (soon to be announced)!