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Agritourism Ottawa

A Guide to Wineries, Orchards, Gardens, Farm Tours and Other Agricultural Adventures in the Ottawa Region

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Organic

Niagara FAM Tour: Southbrook Vineyards

Sheep in vineyard

After lunch at Ravine Vineyard, we headed to Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Bill Redelmeier, who owns the winery with his wife Marilyn, greeted us outside the hospitality pavilion. We immediately headed over to the vineyard, where Southbrook’s flock of sheep were hanging out amongst the vines. The sheep have helped Southbrook become Canada’s first biodynamic-certified winery, which means that the entire property is organic and is treated as a self-contained and self-sustaining organism. (See my previous entry about a couple farms in the Ottawa area that follow biodynamic principles.)

Southbrook’s environmental commitment extends to their hospitality pavilion as well. The pavilion was designed by renowned Canadian architect Jack Diamond, and is LEED-gold certified, which is a third-party certification program for high performance green buildings. The building is worth visiting just for the architecture alone. Almost entirely glass, it offers views out to the vineyard from floor to ceiling. The front of the building has a 200-metre long landscape wall, with rainwater retention ponds perfectly integrated into the building design. Not surprisingly, the building won a 2009 International Architecture Award, known as “the world’s most prestigious architecture award”. Continue reading “Niagara FAM Tour: Southbrook Vineyards”

Niagara FAM Tour: Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery

Wine at lunch

Our next tour stop was Ravine Vineyard, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Although it opened to the public only two years ago, Ravine Vineyard has it all: a beautiful setting, great wines (all organic), a historic building for wine tastings, and a deli and bakery that has gained a well-deserved following for its wood-fired, stone oven breads.

We started our tour in the Woodruff House, an 1802 heritage home where the main tasting room is located (along with several tasting rooms that can be booked for private events). The assistant winemaker, Shauna White, gave us an overview of the winemaking process and answered many questions from the group. Although relatively young, Shauna is a very experienced winemaker, having grown up around a family vineyard in B.C., and then working at wineries in France, Australia, New Zealand, and Oregon (not to mention graduating from the Winery and Viticulture Technician program at Niagara College). Throughout her talk, we enjoyed several different wines from the winery. Continue reading “Niagara FAM Tour: Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery”

Organic Farms – Ferme Dagenais and Funny Duck Farms

Fall litter. Source: Funny Duck Farms

In the last two months, I’ve been fortunate to visit several organic farms in the Eastern Ontario. Two farms have really stood out for me: Funny Duck Farms in Jasper (southeast of Smiths Falls) and Ferme Dagenais in Embrun (east of Ottawa).

The farms are similar in many ways. Both are organic and use biodynamic farming methods. Both are owned by families with a strong interest in herbs and natural healing methods. And both are centres of community education and the promotion of healthy living. Continue reading “Organic Farms – Ferme Dagenais and Funny Duck Farms”

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