Some wineries have taken it to the next level with Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified (SWO).
While Ontario wineries and grape growers are inherently connected with nature and therefore respectful of the environment, many wineries chose to take their environmentally-friendly practices one step further by becoming a Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified Winery (SWO).
To be certified, participating wineries are audited annually to ensure they are adhering to environmentally sustainable practices in their winemaking operations. Best practices include conservation of water, reduction in waste and waste water and implementation of energy efficiency programs including use of sustainable power sources.
Certified Ontario wineries must also produce VQA wines, which are always made from 100% locally grown grapes. Local wines inherently have a smaller carbon foot print and also play a vital role in preserving local economies. They are an integral part of a community’s economic health and are woven into their fabric.
Sustainably Certified Ontario wineries must also be good neighbours and cultivate positive relationships with their communities. They must be leaders in social responsibility and be committed to producing authentic regional wines. VQA wines are are a cornerstone of local food cultures that should be preserved for generations to come.
Sustainable Ontario Certified Wineries and Sustainable Ontario Certified Wines are easily identified by the green leaf icon found on labels and in the Wine Country Ontario Travel Guide.
When choosing VQA wines from a Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified winery, you are supporting your local economy, community and a cleaner environment.
Participating wineries in the Sustainable Winemaking Ontario Certified program (SWO) are listed below with links to their websites for more information on their sustainability initiatives.
Cave Spring Vineyards – SWO Winery & Vineyard Certified
Château des Charmes – SWO Certified
Flat Rock Cellars – SWO Certified
Henry of Pelham Family Estate – SWO Certified
Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery – SWO Certified, Certified Organic
Malivoire Wine Company – SWO Winery & Vineyard Certified
Pelee Island Winery & Pelee Island Winery Pavilion – SWO Winery Certified
Pillitteri Estates Winery – SWO Winery Certified
Reif Estate Winery – SWO Winery Certified
Southbrook Vineyards – SWO Winery & Vineyard Certified, Certified Organic, Biodynamic, & LEED Certified
Stratus Vineyards – SWO Winery and Vineyard Certified, LEED Certified
Strewn Winery – SWO Winery Certified
Some wineries also have additional certifications, some examples are as follows:
Certified Organic wineries use 100% grapes grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Instead, they fertilize with compost, compost teas, green manure and cover crops.
Biodynamic wines are generally certified through the Demeter Farm Standard, which reflects the biodynamic principle of the farm as a living organism: self-contained self-sustaining, following the cycles of nature.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system. It promotes global adoption of green building and development practices through the implementation of universal performance criteria. It is administered in Canada by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).