Southbrook Vineyards – An Organic, Biodynamic, and LEED Gold Certified Vineyard
Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier’s love story with wine, the land, and all things “local.” The winery is situated on a 150-acre vineyard in the heart of the Niagara Wine Region of Ontario, Canada. Southbrook produces organic and biodynamic wines that earn recognition, from critics and consumers alike, year after year.
The goal is simple, produce great wine. The pursuit of this ideal has shown the importance of organic and biodynamic viticulture. It has instilled a respect for the soil, water and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. From the beginning, Southbrook sought to provide a good example of what is possible in Ontario and around the world, and to pursue the Certifications to back it up.
So went the thinking behind the vision for Southbrook Vineyards. The soil beneath their feet was perfect for the vines they wished to cultivate. Better still, it had lain fallow for countless years before planting, thereby offering the clean slate they had hoped for. Thus did Southbrook set out to prove that biodynamic, organic and other green initiatives can work in an Ontario vineyard.
Southbrook Certifications include: Demeter Biodynamic, Pro-Cert Organic, LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Sustainable Winemaking Ontario, LFP (Local Food Plus), VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) for grape wines, and QC (Quality Certified) for fruit wines.
Organic Agriculture – The Way Nature Intended It To Be
Organic farming emphasizes the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water. Organic winegrowing recognizes that healthy soils grow balanced grapes that produce the best wines. Organic winemaking uses natural processes and rejects the use of synthetic chemicals. Winemakers use organic grapes and native yeasts to create wines of great character and purity.
Southbrook began their first year of transition to organic certification in late summer 2005, on 75 acres. They later doubled their holdings and have since earned certification for the entire property. Using no synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides nurtures our soils rather than depleting them. Southbrook encourages biodiversity on the estate, rather than trying to destroy it. They raise sheep that graze on the cover crop, and chickens that peck away at insects; both fertilize the vineyard.
After being certified organic in 2008 by Pro-Cert Organic Systems, Southbrook has been using certified organic grapes in its wines.
Biodynamics – A Gift to Ourselves and Everyone Else
Southbrook is Canada’s first winery to have its vineyard certified by Demeter, the international body that oversees biodynamic agriculture.
The handwork, natural inputs, attentive vineyard care, self-sufficiency and observation of natural rhythms prescribed in Biodynamics simply offer a better working environment. They feel this is the most responsible path for themselves, their workers and the future of viticulture in Canada.
Southbrook has committed to the full certification process. They have gone to unprecedented lengths in the Canadian wine industry to demonstrate that Biodynamics can be successful in our cool climate.
With biodynamic agriculture, all required materials such as manure and animal feed are produced from within the farm. The aim is to move the vineyard towards individuality in its own right through these methods. Southbrook’s grapes may then become a true, authentic expression of this individuality.
LEED® Certification – Green Is The New Gold Standard
Southbrook has earned the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Certification. LEED® is a green building rating system and it promotes global adoption of green building and development practices through the implementation of universal performance criteria.
Some of Southbrook’s notable LEED® features include:
• Building design features that keep heat and cold where they belong.
• Interiors that include low VOC materials (those with minimal off-gassing of toxic fumes) to improve interior air quality.
• 95% natural daylight at all work areas as a means to use less electricity.
• Construction that called for a high level of local and recycled materials, along with an extensive program that separated construction waste to maximize recycling and minimize trips to the landfill.
• Southbrook does not use any irrigation for outdoor landscaping. Instead, wastewater is treated through an onsite wetland filtration system.
• The main building has a white reflective PVC roof to reduce heat radiation into and off the building.
To learn more about Southbrook Vineyards please visit our web site: www.southbrook.com