Wine Culture Magazine

Gabe Cipes leads the biodynamic initiative at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the first in B.C. to achieve Demeter certification. Tarynn Liv Parker photo

Three decades ago, Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery was B.C.’s first to go organic. Now it’s become the first B.C. winery to go officially biodynamic with the release of its initial Demeter-certified bottlings, the 2017 Summerhill Vineyard Riesling and Grüner Veltliner.

Demeter International, which was established in 1928, is the world’s largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture. Certification is a difficult achievement, and one that must be renewed annually.

Biodynamic is similar to organic farming in that it rejects the use of synthetic chemicals, but it goes a whole lot further. It means treating the whole farm as a living organism through crop rotation, composting, interplanting, seed saving and using animals to assist with composting and pest control. It also takes into account influences of the moon and other planets.

The result is a healthy soil, healthy plants and vibrant, flavourful wines. As Summerhill’s CEO, Ezra Cipes, writes on the winery website, “When we make wine biodynamically it is proof of the vitality of our vineyard.”

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