Summerhill is proud to celebrate their certification as Demeter Biodynamic.
Led by Gabe Cipes, son of winery owner Stephen Cipes, this program is three years in the making. The winery achieved the designation through diverse companion crops and onsite creation of biodynamic composts and preparations. This involves foliar sprays and composting farm and landscaping material, food scraps from the onsite catering and bistro kitchen, and animal manures, with specially-prepared biodynamic preparations to increase microbial life in the soil and aid the immune systems of the vines.
Biodynamic certification is a milestone not only for Summerhill, but also for the valley. A sustainable force for the Okanagan, winery founder Stephen Cipes initially bought the vineyard to bring his young family back to the land, but discovered that the chemical exposure to the vines was the antithesis of his plan and began to explore chemical-free alternatives.
Since then, the winery has evangelized organic practices throughout the Okanagan, because the Cipes family believes that since the valley is the northernmost semi-arid desert viticulture region in the world, the natural conditions limit pests and the need for chemical intervention. Through their leadership on organic and sustainable growing practices, Summerhill Pyramid Winery has helped their many growers go organic,by paying a premium for their fruit and supporting their transformation. Summerhill has helped support or convert over 200 hundred acres of vineyard land in the Okanagan.
Summerhill's organic legacy has extended beyond the family, beyond their growers, and now beyond the wine industry, as Summerhill contributes to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, as part of a case study conducted in March 2012. The study focused on 12 Canadian companies and their efforts on climate change, featuring large influencers such as Coca-Cola Canada, BC Hydro and the Royal Bank of Canada. The winery was also recently featured in a video by energy company Fortis BC, discussing the winery's use of renewable natural gas. In the recent UK-based Drinks Business Green Awards, Summerhill was nominated as a finalist as the green company of the year.
Summerhill is excited to receive this important biodynamic designation to continue to foster greater green initiatives in the Okanagan. Founder Stephen Cipes is continuing his vision, that Summerhill's wine "allows nature to speak for herself."
About Summerhill Pyramid Winery:
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located for more than 20 years in the Lakeshore district in Kelowna, BC, is Canada's premier certified organic winery, BC's first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, and Canada's foremost producer of sparkling wine.
Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that suit every occasion and has earned the winery the 'Canadian Wine Producer of the Year' award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill's own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The mission of the entire Summerhill team is to produce exceptionally good-tasting wines organically, support local organic food growers, and provide unforgettable experiences for all guests.
About Demeter International
Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.
Demeter's "biodynamic" certification requires biodiversity and ecosystem preservation, soil husbandry, livestock integration (this requirement is exempt In biodynamic vineyards), prohibition of genetically engineered organisms and viewing the farm as a living "holistic organism". The certification verifies the fulfillment of the standards on behalf of the farmers, which in turn guaranties high quality food products to the consumers.