Our Organic Vineyard and Winemaking
We made several choices when we decided to seek organic certification of our Vine Yard (and winemaking). We wanted to live on a piece of land where harmful chemicals were not used or accumulating. We wanted to minimize the environmental footprint of our agricultural and business activity. We wanted to make good wines that were as pure as possible, without elaborate chemical or mechanical intervention.
Are we creating positive social change? Perhaps. Do we think our wines are better than anyone else’s just because they are organically produced? No. We, like every other winery on the planet, have made wines we are not completely happy with. We believe, however, that our presence in the marketplace provides an alternative for wine consumers who share our values and concerns. We also realize that not all of our customers are particularly looking for organic wines; they may be choosing our wine just because they like it. The real benefit is that we know who our customers are, and they know us. It’s a value-added symbiosis, far removed from mass marketing, high volume production and maximization of economic return. If that can be called social change, so be it. We feel comfortable here; not all wineries, nor businesspeople, for that matter, necessarily would.
The Hainle Vineyard.
Our own 18-acre Vine Yard and Winery in Peachland has been B.C’s first Certified organic Winery since 1988. From the 1993 vintage, the following wines, for the first time in British Columbia, bear the COABC decal, identifying both the grapes and winemaking as certified organic: Traminer, Riesling, Bibendum White, Bibendum Rosé, Icewine. As of 2002 we added 28 acres of vineyards which have been organically managed as well. As of 2008 we have joined PACS and are now international certified organic.
Why would a grower prefer conventional to organic methods?
There is no doubt that yields in organically managed Vine Yards are lower, and labours costs, particularly for soil improvement and weed control, are much higher. Some growers have found that the reduced yields mean better plant health and better fruit quality, bringing higher per ton returns that help to offset the increased labour costs. For other growers, this equation may not work. Each grower makes his or her own decision. Each Vine Yard and each grower has a distinct personality.
More on Organic wine making? click to download the PDF file