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How CedarCreek's transition to certified organic farming created a ‘wine farm’

At CedarCreek Estate Winery, there's a lot of wildlife on the property – both naturally occurring and introduced – that help give the grapes more flavour concentration and higher quality.

This seemingly natural coexistence in the vineyard has created what the team at CedarCreek refers to as a ‘wine farm.’ In unison, the wildlife are assisting CedarCreek with its transition to growing and producing Certified Organic grapes and wine.

Ever since they eliminated the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and brought life onto the property, the team at CedarCreek has witnessed some stunning observations, which they wish to share through these critter cards.

One of the biggest and earliest introductions was when they introduced the European Honeybee in 2017, the same year as one of CedarCreek's faithful favourites, the 2017 Block 4 Pinot Noir.

When they introduced the 15 honeybee hives to their Home Block Vineyard, it was to promote wildflowers and beneficial plants and insects in the vineyard. The bees love the clover cover crops planted in Block 2 – home of their Estate Pinot Noir and because grapes are self-pollinating, the bees leave the grapes for us.

To give the bees something to eat, the team at CedarCreek sowed cover crops of clover and alfalfa. Since then, the bees have thrived and the cover crops have provided the grapevines with a modest nitrogen source.

Year after year, these European Honeybees have assisted towards the goal at CedarCreek, which is to bring improved health to the farmland.

"While sometimes difficult, we can measure those improvements by examining the increase in biodiversity on our properties," said a representative of CedarCreek. "In moving towards a richer, more productive landscape, our first order was to transition all of our company properties, from vineyards to rose gardens to vegetable patch, to certified organic management, a project completed in 2019."

With that certification, CedarCreek has seen tremendous changes in how the property functions as a system.

It would seem as if Mother Nature has rewarded this transition by lending a helping hand to create a balance in the vineyard.

Like the many other animals, the ‘wine farm’ resides at CedarCreek at the end of Lakeshore Drive in Kelowna. Here, they're surrounded on three sides by a great diversity of naturally occurring flora and fauna, which can be both a boon and curse.

Voles, ground squirrels and pocket gophers chew on the thirty-year-old vine roots, killing vines in the process.

But this year, the circle of life has come to CedarCreek. Families of both coyotes and red-tail hawks have taken up residence at CedarCreek to restore the balance.

Both are very effective hunters of rodents, controlling populations and reducing harm to the vines. Upon this observation, CedarCreek made room for them and respected their place within the farm.

Further to using natural pest controls, CedarCreek installed American Kestrel boxes in the vineyards. These tiny falcons are active hunters of starlings and other crop-damaging birds and several nesting pairs are back this year.

"We hope they continue to preserve fruit health by scaring off pest-birds as the grapes ripen and soften."

Another thing that is really special is that as a sign that the soil is coming back to life and more organic matter is present, CedarCreek now has earthworms in the soils across the property. In 2017, there were none.

"Instead of spraying herbicides, we’re tilling the cover crops and ‘weeds’ underground, giving the earthworms a food source."

In June, CedarCreek welcomed three Scottish Highland Cattle who will be (graciously) contributing their manure to CedarCreek's soil health program, supported by worm teas and castings from their 15 worm farms.

"We are excited to see what other benefits come from the cattle. They should function as a keystone species, bringing further diversity and richness just by their presence."

Finally, it’s not just the health of the land that has improved but also the health of the people that are working it.

"Our team loves working on our property. There are no chemicals and there is always some wildlife to observe during their breaks. Our vineyard manager lives on-site and his kids and dogs roam and play in the vineyards. It’s a healthy environment for all life."

As CedarCreek transitions to growing and producing Certified Organic grapes and wine, the return of wildlife and sustainability proves that they're farming something great.

CedarCreek winery is open daily from 11 am to 8 pm and Home Block Restaurant is open for lunch daily between 11:30 am to 9 pm with extended hours on Friday and Saturday so you can enjoy a splendid dining experience. Both CedarCreek and the Home Block Restaurant are open with reservations preferred but will accommodate walk-ins if capacity allows. To book your private experience, go online to

If you prefer to write in, email for tasting experiences and wine sales and for restaurant reservations.

Remember, you can always order online by clicking here:

CedarCreek Estate Winery is founded on connections — to the land they care for and to the Okanagan Valley they call home. On their fifty-acre property along the shores of Okanagan Lake, winemaker Taylor Whelan is building upon three decades of winemaking history and defining a new chapter with bright, expressive north Okanagan Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and aromatic white wines.

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