We believe we are custodians of the land
Since the beginning we have used methods that are now called sustainable and eco-friendly. Not because these practices were part of a trend but because they were and are the right thing to do. It was the way Paul was taught in school and what he learned on the job from his grandfather.
Today, Château des Charmes is a charter member of Sustainable Winemaking Ontario; a program administered by Ontario Craft Wineries. This program was the first of its kind in Canada and in 2011 it earned the “Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence” from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment. Certification encompasses not only work in the vineyard and cellar but also within our Tour Centre and Hospitality departments.
At Château des Charmes sustainable farming means we use various practices to grow the best quality grapes possible by minimizing the amount of foreign chemicals we need to add to the soil and reduce the impact we have on the planet in general. We want to make sure the land is productive now and for generations to come.
Here are some of the things we do in our vineyards:
- Herbicides are never used
- Weeds are controlled by mechanically working the soil which tills the weeds underground where they become fertilizer
- Working the soil regularly not only controls weeds but also provides aeration for the vine root systems
- By-products from winemaking (ex. discarded stems, skins, seeds, discarded grapes etc.) are returned to the land as a natural fertilizer
- Pest control is utilized only when absolutely necessary and, when possible, natural products (like Sulphur) are used in the smallest possible quantities
- All our vineyards are extensively under-drained to minimize the risk for root rot
- Composted manure is used to replenish nutrients in the soil from time to time, not chemical fertilizer
Our sustainable practices beyond our vineyards include:
- Our cellars are geothermal; meaning heat and air conditioning are not used. They are 9 meters below ground and remain a consistent temperature and humidity all year long.
- Gray water from the cellar (after washing tanks and barrels) is collected and pumped to a clay-lined lagoon at the back of the St. David’s Bench Vineyard. This water is naturally filtered then used in our sprinkler system to water our lawns and gardens.
- Finished wines are bottled in lighter weight glass. The glass industry is moving to more eco-friendly alternatives for bottling wine. Each vintage we search for manufacturers who work towards lowering their carbon footprint which in turn helps to lower ours.
- We still believe in using natural cork. Not only is cork a sustainably farmed product but overall its production has a much lower carbon footprint than the production methods used to make aluminum screw caps. FSC certified cork is now becoming available. We are working to find suppliers who can supply us with this cork.
- All our barrels are sourced from PEFC certified forests and some are qualified as ‘eco-friendly’, utilizing raw materials that are often wasted during the stave milling process.
We believe sustainable agricultural methods help to ensure healthy soil and vineyards (and the planet in general) which can then produce the highest quality grapes possible. This is the first and most important ingredient in the highest quality wines.
What We're Enjoying Now
Balance. Finesse. Structure. These are some of the words used to describe our wines. We would add food friendly and