Our Green Story

As rich as the soil that sustains us

Harvesting the sun’s energy to power our buildings

Every day we make choices. Sustainability is our first filter – we care about how our choices affect the land we steward, the people we work with and the wine you drink

Great wine. Our pursuit of this ideal has shown us the importance of organic and biodynamic viticulture. It has instilled in us a respect for the soil, water, and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. From the beginning, we sought to provide an excellent example of what is possible in Ontario and to pursue certification to back it up.

Close up of Vineyards

A Clean Slate

Southbrook acquired these vineyards in 2004. We chose the location because the soil was perfect for the Bordeaux varieties we wished to cultivate. Better still, it had lain fallow for decades, thereby offering the clean slate we’d hoped for. In the decades since we moved the winery from Richmond Hill to its current location in Niagara-on-the-Lake, we have proven that biodynamic, organic, and green initiatives can work in an Ontario vineyard.

Our certifications include: DemeterECOCERT CanadaLEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Sustainable Winegrowing OntarioVQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) for grape wines

If these examples serve to inspire others to make a commitment for themselves, then we are very happy, as their ripples will motivate more people as well.

Organics: Less is More

Organic agriculture uses natural inputs. It uses less water, less energy, no synthetic pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, no bioengineering, and no genetic modification. Organic agriculture results in more biodiversity, conserves more water, and improves soil health. Southbrook’s first 75 acres were certified in 2008. As of 2010, our entire 150 acre property is certified organic and biodynamic.  

Black Grapes on vine

Biodynamics: Taking it to the Next Level

Organic certification is a pre-requisite for biodynamic certification. Biodynamics (BD) emphasizes the balance and interrelationship of a farm’s soil, plants and animals to grow low-impact, vibrant crops, including grapes. It treats the whole farm as a single living entity. BD involves the use of specially prepared composts, the addition of ingredients such as herbal teas, and the alignment of farming activities with lunar energy.

Demeter is the international body that oversees biodynamic agriculture. Southbrook currently has one Demeter-certified biodynamic 75-acre vineyard (2008), plus an additional 75-acre property with full biodynamic status.

Demeter-certified farms in Canada.

Built to LEED®

Southbrook’s hospitality pavilion became the first winery building to receive the Gold level of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in November 2008. Achieving LEED® Gold certification for our buildings and activities was always a significant component of the Southbrook master plan. Diamond & Schmitt Architects truly rose to the occasion with its design for our winery, hospitality pavilion and surrounding works.

Natural light prevails in the hospitality pavilion, while the floor-to-ceiling double-glazing controls temperature transfer. Walls are thoroughly insulated, and deep roof overhangs give added shade to the building. Indoor water usage is controlled by automatic and low-flow fixtures. Externally, we added a bioswale with native wetland plants to break down pollution from stormwater draining off our access road and parking lots.

See our “Green Map”.

VQA Ontario Logo


We are committed to producing our table wines and Icewines from grapes grown in Ontario. Our fruit wines are made from all-Ontario fruit also. The VQA logo or appellation on the label is your guarantee as VQA always means 100% Ontario grapes.  

Sustainable WineGrowing Ontario Certified logo

Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario

Wine Country Ontario has developed best-practice guidelines in a program called Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. It covers aspects from viticulture and waste water management on the farm to efficient energy usage in all winery operations. Southbrook has achieved the requirements of this “from soil to shelf” program to support the industry’s efforts to help sustain Ontario’s success on the world stage.

Sustainable WineGrowing Ontario Certified logo

Sustainable Wine Roundtable

A global collaborative platform to advance sustainability across the wine industry from production to retail. The only independent, multistakeholder roundtable with 70+ members.

VQA Ontario Logo


In 2008, Southbrook was granted Certified Organic status under the Canadian Organic Regime (COR). Both grapes and wine are certified. We are now certified organic by ECOCERT. Using no synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides nurtures our soils rather than depleting them. We encourage biodiversity on our estate, rather than trying to destroy it.

Sustainable WineGrowing Ontario Certified logo


Southbrook is Canada’s first winery to have its vineyard certified by Demeter, the international body that oversees biodynamic agriculture. Rather than dabble in a few biodynamic practices, we have committed ourselves to the full certification process. We have gone to unprecedented lengths in the Canadian wine industry to demonstrate to the undecided that biodynamics can be successful in our cool climate.