Carl and Donna Sparkes
Carl and Donna Sparkes founded Devonian Coast Wineries in 2011, then bought two already established and respected wineries, Jost and Gaspereau Vineyards, and soon after began planning for a third. Devonian Coast Wineries unites their love of wine and of Atlantic Canada. It builds both on Carl’s agricultural roots and the couple’s dedication to the future of Nova Scotia’s wine industry. With their Canada-wide business experience and in-depth acquaintance with the world’s finest winemaking regions, they bring fresh ideas and a commitment to elevating Nova Scotia’s expanding and maturing wine industry to challenge the world’s best.
The Sparkes family’s farming roots run deep in Atlantic Canada, going back to 1761 when Carl’s ancestors left Devon, England and settled on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. A farming family, they were also innovators; Carl’s grandfather was the founder of what is now the Atlantic Cool Climate Crop Research Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Carl and Donna met in Halifax in 1984, while Carl was a geologist working on his MBA and Donna worked as Creative Director of C100/CJCH. Business projects took them across Canada but home always included a backyard with container gardens and growing plots. Vacations, meanwhile, meant trips to international wine-growing regions. Now instead of being backyard gardeners, they are farm owners with 150 acres of estate-grown vines and extraordinary relationships with grape growers around the province who provide much needed fruit for their wines.
With the help of growers, winemakers, tasting room staff, viticulture experts, consultants, cellar hands and vineyard workers the Sparkes, and Devonian Coast, are dedicated to making Jost Vineyards, Gaspereau Vineyards, Mercator, and Nova Scotian wines the pride of Canada.