The Canadian Vintners Association reports that Ontario is Canada’s biggest wine exporter, valued at almost $27 million. The province itself is home to more than 180 wineries that cover approximately 17,000 acres of land. Although Ontario produces tons of wine each year, the province keeps sustainability a main priority. The following green wineries perform eco-friendly practices such as biodynamic farming, waste water management and energy conservation.
Featherstone Estate Winery
Since 1999, Featherstone Estate Winery owners Louise Engel and David Johnson have worked to grow grapes the green way by introducing eco-friendly operations. The winery has been insecticide-free for all 17 years, using diatomaceous earth and predatory insects to ward off pesky vine critters. In 2008, Featherstone Estate Winery invested in a recycle sprayer, which reuses and collects spray that doesn’t stick to vines.
If you’re planning a visit to the Vineland-based winery, check out some of its green-focused events this summer, such as the Sheep in the Vineyard event. On July 23 and August 1, guests can taste wine and watch sheep prune weeds and leaves throughout the vineyard’s grounds.
Flat Rock Cellars
Located in Lincoln, Flat Rock Cellars was founded 17 years ago and boasts breathtaking views of Lake Ontario. Spanning about 80 acres, the vineyard grows grape varieties such as pinot noir, riesling and chardonnay. When it comes to green practices, Flat Rock Cellars works to protect and preserve the land and eco-system around the vineyard. Some eco-friendly initiatives involve cleaning barrels without chemicals, taking advantage of natural light and using an underground cellar for natural temperature control.
Making a trip to Lincoln? Stop by the winery to enjoy the surrounding landscape through its glass-enclosed tasting room. One upcoming green event in September is the Pick, Stomp and Taste, where visitors can jump right into the action by hand picking, crushing and tasting Flat Rock Cellars’ freshly grown grapes.
Less than 20 kilometres from Niagara Falls, Frogpond Farm is Ontario’s first certified organic winery and prides itself in adhering to Pro-Cert Organic standards. Throughout the grape growing process, the winery does not use chemical-based pesticides or herbicides. To maintain a balanced eco-system around the vines, Frogpond Farm is home to different animals – such as the guinea fowl – and a variety of plants. Also, the winery is powered by 100 percent green energy.
If you’re looking to relax in an eco-friendly way, head to Frogpond Farm every Saturday in July for its Yoga in the Vineyard event. It even comes with a post-yoga wine tasting!
Rosehall Run Winery
A former 150-acre farm, Rosehall Run was founded in 2000 and sits close to Lake Ontario. Over the course of seven years, the winery has built up its facilities and operations for proper wine production and storage as well as frequent wine tastings. Rosehall Run approaches its eco-friendly winemaking process with “minimal intervention” in mind, according to its site. Through sustainable farming practices, winery owners closely manage vine maintenance and pest prevention.
In September, the winery is hosting a Red White & Blues festival, featuring the Angel Forrest Band. Also, the event offers locally sourced food from an on-site food truck and beautiful vineyard scenery.
A producer of biodynamic wine, Southbrook Vineyard stretches across 150 acres within the Niagara Peninsula. To support its commitment to sustainability, the winery has six certifications: LEED, Demeter, Local Food Plus, Quality Certified, Pro-Cert Organic and Vintners Quality Alliance. In addition, the vineyard’s property is home to Linc Farm, a barn that raises livestock such as horses, ewes, chickens and pigs. Some of the animals are used to maintain the vineyard’s greenery during warmer seasons. Southbrook Vineyard’s goal is to bring wine drinkers authenticity and individuality through close attention to its grapes and other natural winemaking techniques.
During a visit to this modern facility, you’ll learn about the location’s rich history and its belief in green processes. One of Southbrook Vineyard’s events through September is its first ever vegetarian menu dinner series, where guests learn about pairing biodynamic wine with local foods and fresh ingredients.