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FROM LOCAL FARMS – En Santé Organic Winery & Meadery

10.08.10

A simple hard truth about living in Alberta: vinifera grapes don’t grow here. [yet]. As a self-professed wine snob, that hurts the feelings a little. For a time I felt pretty good considering the Okanagan valley ‘local enough’ to get my wines, but a recent drive reminded me that 14+ hours isn’t really all that local anymore. Not even all that close really. I arrived home after a punishing drive with small children to my apple tree in full-on-huge-red-apple glory, and  laughed at myself. 5 cases of wine awaited me from my tree alone. No need to drive that far, or at all.

I admittedly have become lightly obsessed with urban orchard wines, given the propensity for city yard fruit trees to produce literally tonnes of wasted fruit that can be had by all for free. [I tackled over a tonne of fruit myself this year, literally] Which, of course, made En Santé Organic Winery and Meadery a clear choice for my From Local Farms project. They had to build an industry for themselves to exist, and offer products that speak to the terroir of our region – highbush cranberry, rhubarb, saskatoon, and mead included. Xina, their winemaker, dives into a discussion about our cultural shift away from and back to regional flavors, challenges the notion of ‘conventional’ agriculture, and chats a bit about their apple wines, mead, and other products.

4 Responses

  1. What a lovely gal! She should become a member of Slow Food! She is so well spoken and I completely enjoyed listening to her this morning. Who would initially think about the seeds of various fruits being a problem for the equipment – but that is so in-you-face logical! Thank goodness you introduced me to their mead which I totally enjoy! I wished I could say the same for their other wines. I so want to support this woman and all she does not only because she is local, but because it is clear she works very hard, is so knowledgeable, and we are like minded. I have tasted every one they had up until the end of last year… and love to use the Saskatoon in cooking… but I could not palate one of them. Not one. I know I am not alone, either. But clearly, people are buying them like crazy and I am happy the company is doing well. I would just like to enjoy their produce. I was excited to see the other fruit and plants they have…. like the Buckthorn. I grew one a few years ago before Vanja pulled it out. :) :( ANd just yesterday I found a bag of frozen Buckthorn berries in the Italian Centre Shop South Side (they had the Blue Bottled Sparkling Water, too) and bought them to see what I can do with them. (They were 8 dollars for a kilo. which I considered a fair price for a new learning experience.)
    :)
    Valerie

  2. Mel says:

    I love en Sante. I love that they are local, and that they are organic, and that they are spearheading the Alberta wine movement. I also love that they didn’t know a thing about making wine before deciding to get involved; they just jumped in and did it.

    I’m curious to see if they’ll start experimenting with oak aging and other techniques to add complexity and depth to their wines – hopefully that bottle of saskatoon wine you shared with them has piqued Xina’s curiosity!

  3. [...] to original post. Share and [...]

  4. [...] tempered significantly by my successes in ‘orchard fruit‘ wine [like the term, I credit Xina Chrapko, organic wine maker in our province]. But I can tell you that I’m glad I planned ahead 4 years ago and put them in. I’m [...]

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