According to Chinese astrology, 2012 is the year of the Dragon, which signifies relationships.

Good relationships are what has made Summerhill Pyramid Winery the success that it is. As Canada’s most visited winery, Summerhill honours all of their relationships: whether between their loyal fans, their Certified Organic grape-growers, their helpful and friendly staff, and all of the other artists, projects, and causes with which they collaborate.

Recently, Summerhill announced a special line of wines celebrating the anniversary of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Russia. Commissioned by the Canadian Embassy in Moscow and featuring labels from renowned Canadian artist Robert Bateman’s sketch of this Embassy, the wines will be used for commemorative events.

Fans of Executive Chef Jesse Croy’s incredible menu will be pleased that the renovations at The Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill have been completed.

“In terms of menu planning, everything is moving even further in the direction of being local and seasonal, in addition to organic as it always has been” says Ari Cipes, son of Summerhill’s Proprietor, Stephen Cipes.

Demeter Biodynamic Certification is within Summerhill’s grasp. The project was originally started three years ago by the local organic farmer, James Calisi, but has been spearheaded by Gabe Cipes these past two years. This certification will add another feather to Summerhill’s cap as they are already Canada’s largest certified organic winery. It’s been a time and labour-intensive project, such as the involved procedure of creating many different preparations to inoculate the soil with beneficial microorganisms. Like the bacteria in yoghurt is to a healthy body and immune system, these microorganisms vastly improve the land’s fertility, helping plants grow stronger and healthier, and much less susceptible to pests or disease.

Stephen Cipes is a fervent believer that organic wine (in moderation) is one of the healthiest things we can put into our bodies. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a much higher nutritional value of organically grown produce and foods or beverages made from them.

In celebration of the upcoming biodynamic status, Summerhill will be hosting an all-out all-day party. The ‘Fertility Festival’ takes place on May 11th. The Summerhill grounds will be alive creativity of some of BC’s best artists. Featuring two stages for live music, chef stations serving locally grown organic food, specially commissioned art installations, keynote speeches in the Pyramid, drum jams in the Kekuli, an artisan market, gallery exhibits in the vineyard, and more. Tickets to this family-friendly outdoor event are $15/adults, $10/students, (children 12 and under are free). For more info, contact Meg McManus at 250-754-8000 ext 131 or meg@summerhill.bc.ca

During the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, several fun events are planned. Join Executive Chef Jesse Croy at the Sunset Organic Bistro for ‘Sip into Sunset’: a special table d’hote wine-paired menu, evenings from May 4 – 10, and 12-13. Cost = $48/pp (plus wine and gratuity).

Summerhill’s annual “Wild & Organic Brunch” (Sunday May 6 and 13, 11am – 3pm) is a Cipes Brut & OJ reception, featuring live music, Chef Croy shucking oysters, seafood, carvery, omelettes, and an array of delicious organic breakfast, lunch, and dessert dishes. Reservations recommended. Adults, $38, Children 5-12 yr old, $20, 4 and under, free. Reservations recommended for both events. Contact: 250-764-8000 ext 3 or email bistro@summerhill.bc.ca.

Finally, Summerhill’s Organic Wine Club is gaining more momentum. Visit their website for exciting details on this four-tiered club, along with all the great benefits it entails.

2010 Pinot Gris $22.95

Winemaker Eric Von Krosigk has created a completely different style than previous vintages. Less crisp and austere, this version exhibits lots of floral, honeysuckle and pear aromas due to skin contact during crush. Slightly rounded mouth-feel, medium-bodied, with a soft, smooth finish. Wonderful paired with risotto, scallops, fresh seafood and halibut.

~ Sarah Willard

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