Renowned Winemaking Team Achieves Organic Milestone and Looks Ahead to Pursue Biodynamic Certification
OLIVER – Phantom Creek Estates, the premier wine destination in the Okanagan Valley, announced that it has been awarded organic certification Ecocert Canada, with 2021 marking Phantom Creek Estates’ first certified organic vintage. Additionally, the winery is moving forward with biodynamic certification, paving the way for another landmark ecological statement for a Canadian winery of Phantom Creek Estates’ size.
“This is an exciting accomplishment for us,” said Amy Richards, director of farming. “It has always been extremely important to the Phantom Creek Estates’ production team that we not just farm our estate vineyards using organic practices, but consider the vineyard as a complex eco-system. We have established habitat in our vineyards to encourage beneficial insects, added chickens, and plan to make our own compost and add livestock in the coming years. We are fully committed to building a sustainable environment in our vineyard sites that translates into exceptional, terroir-driven wines.”
Phantom Creek Estates is home to estate vineyards across distinct benches in the South Okanagan Valley. Uniquely influenced by geological forces millennia in the making, the acclaimed, historic estate vineyards are each farmed according to meticulously practiced organic and biodynamic techniques.
The team at Phantom Creek Estates is a strong proponent of biodynamics and especially of Demeter International’s codification of good farming practices. The goal of biodynamic farming is not just to forgo chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but also to foster a self-regulating ecosystem by minimizing any and all human interventions in the vineyard.
The process of converting conventionally farmed vineyard sites to organic certification took three years, beginning in 2017, as the entire vineyard system needed to be free of any residue from non-organic products.
To eliminate the use of herbicides, Phantom Creek Estates uses mechanical and hand hoeing for weed control. Certain plants, known as “cover crops,” a natural source of nutrients, are allowed to grow between and around vine rows and can be tilled into the soil during growing season. Rather than eliminating the surrounding vegetation, Phantom Creek Estates wants its vines to co-exist in harmony with the surrounding natural environment.
The team at Phantom Creek is also vigilant that the vines are not overstimulated. By analyzing vine leaves from each individual block, vineyard-by-vineyard and row-by-row, vineyard managers can precisely determine nutrient requirements.
International consulting winemaker Olivier Humbrecht MW has been instrumental in guiding the Phantom Creek Estates’ winemaking team through the organic and ongoing biodynamic certification process. It’s a well-trodden path for the Master of Wine, president of Europe’s Biodyvin, 12th-generation grape grower and proprietor of Alsace’s famed Domaine Zind-Humbrecht – a property that became world famous for its biodynamic practices after Humbrecht implemented them in 1997.
“As one of the world’s leading champions for organic and biodynamic winemaking, Olivier has been an inspiration to us since well before he joined the Phantom Creek Estates team,” Richards said. “His holistic approach to agriculture has been a remarkable influence on our wines’ articulated expression of place, and we look forward to continuing the careful management of this self-sufficient ecosystem that Olivier has helped to establish.”
Located at 4315 Black Sage Road in Oliver, British Columbia, Phantom Creek Estates can be reached by calling (250) 498-8367, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting www.phantomcreekestates.com.