Some call their growing practices pseudoscience, but you can’t argue with success.
SOAHC Estate Wines of Fruitvale has won two gold medals at the recent 2017 All-Canadian Wine Championships, held in Ontario.
The SOAHC winery, located on a bench above the Columbia River near Waneta, won gold for its 2016 vintage Chardonnay and Riesling wines.
It’s the first vintage from those grapes produced on-site by SOAHC, which labels itself a ‘biodynamic’ vineyard.
Biodynamics is a nearly 100-year-old style of organic farming that incorporates natural soil fertilizers and intense planting, pruning and watering methods, and includes mystical elements associated with astronomy and chaos theory.
“It’s a process that’s been around for decades, but only embraced by vineyards in the last 5-10 years,” says Karen Hodson, a spokesperson for the winery.
“It’s hard to find a vineyard built from inception using the biodynamic method,” she says. “Many are now planting using the process, but few have vines grown from the beginning that way. That’s been very important to [SOAHC General Manager] Jamie [Fochuk], that’s been his vision.”
While it takes longer for the vines to mature and get to full production, the plants are healthier and produce a more flavourful wine, say enthusiasts.
The vineyard’s Riesling won a gold in the “off-dry” category, while the Chardonnay won its prize in the $20-$30 wine category.
In addition to the gold medals at the All-Canadian Wine Championships, SOAHC’s 2016 Riesling also received a silver medal at the Okanagan Wine Festival’s “Best in BC Wine Varietals”. That competition took place in May.
The vineyard produced about 1000 cases of the Riesling and Chardonnay last year, which were sold to restaurants in Vancouver and Banff. The wine is also available at private liquor stores in B.C.