I love red wine. I admit, my palate lacks sophistication—I love most red wines regardless of vintage. And our family lives on a budget; I must keep my wine spending in check so I’m frugal. However, I’m a stickler for quality—I choose organic whenever possible—and, of course, I want to drink local. Luckily for me, we live relatively close to Niagara’s wine region, providing us with an excellent reason to head into wine country several times per year!
For me, no trip into Niagara is complete without a stop at Southbrook Vineyards. My history with Southbrook goes wayyyyy back to 1991, in Richmond Hill, where I grew up and from where Southbrook’s owners, Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier, also hale. Before heading to university, I worked at their thriving farm market on the (then) outskirts of Richmond Hill, as shown in the image above. That same year, having sourced some of the Niagara region’s finest grape varietals, Southbrook produced their first 2,000 cases of wine. The rest is history.
Certified Organic and Biodynamic
Today, located in Niagara Region, Southbrook Vineyards excels at creating award-winning wines based on the highest environmental standards. Not only is their entire 150-acre property now certified organic, including their hay and sheep, but they currently have one Demeter-certified biodynamic 75-acre vineyard (2008), plus an additional 75-acre property with full biodynamic status.
What does Biodynamic mean?
Organic certification is a pre-requisite for biodynamic certification. Biodynamics (BD) emphasizes the balance and interrelationship of a farm’s soil, plants and animals to grow low-impact, vibrant crops, including grapes. It treats the whole farm as a single living entity. BD involves the use of specially prepared composts, the addition of ingredients such as herbal teas, and the alignment of farming activities with lunar energy.
To “complete the nitrogen loop” on their farm, Southbrook incorporates sheep. The sheep control weeds between the vines and fertilize the soil as they graze, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem.
What to drink?
My favourite Southbrook wine? Connect.
Southbrook’s description: “Connect — the accent is on the e. These are all delicious, laid-back wines for casual enjoyment with family and friends. Connect is anti-snob. Connect is also pro-green. Choose any Connect to show you don’t obsess about food-matching, but you do get serious about the environment. Connect White and Red are both made from organically-grown grapes, and Red additionally is certified biodynamic. We use lightweight bottles, sourced locally, that are made from glass collected in the Ontario Bag-it-Back program.”
You won’t be disappointed!
Find out for yourself: Visit Southbrook!
581 Niagara Stone Road, RR4
L0S 1J0 Canada
What does VQA mean?
Wines with the VQA insignia have been produced form 100% Canadian grapes. If you want to ensure you’re drinking local, look for this symbol!
Vintners Quality Alliance, or VQA, is a regulatory and appellation system, which guarantees the high quality and authenticity of origin for Canadian wines made under that system in British Columbia and Ontario. It is similar to regulatory systems in France (AOC), Spain (DO), Italy (DOC), and Germany (QmP).