The Rocky Mountains are perhaps Alberta's most recognizable geographic feature. Their rugged and spectacular scenery attract visitors from all over the world. Much of Alberta's oil and gas are found beneath the foothills that lie along the base of the Rockies.
The rest of the province is housed on a great plain , or prairie, which Alberta shares with Saskatchewan on the east, and with the state of Montana to the south. The plains are not totally flat. Their surface has been gouged and twisted by the action of massive glaciers that once covered the province. What is now Alberta lay buried under some 2,000 meters of ice only 8 or 10,000 years ago. The southern plain, which was once covered in tall grass, is today a checker board of farms
Alberta is famous for its Chinook winds, which sweep into southern Alberta several times each winter. This dry, warm wind can rapidly lift the province out of a deep freeze. During one Chinook, which reached Pincher Creek on January 27, 1962, temperatures soared from -18.9°C to +3.3°C in one hour.
Sunshine ranges from 1,900 hours annually in the north to 2,300 hours near Lethbridge in the south. Air funneling through the Rockies also produces warm, dry chinook winds, especially prevalent in southwestern Alberta, that can raise temperatures dramatically within hours.
The fruit winery is located in Strathcona County, just 7 km south of Sherwood Park. Rick and Amy Barr have worked in heart research for more than 20 years at the University of Alberta. They use their scientific training to create fruit wines of impeccable quality. Barr Estate Winery is a family business, we all participate in every step. Mike and Jeanette Cholowsky are Amy’s parents and business partners.
Currently they make two wines, The Other Red™ (raspberry) and The Barb™ (rhubarb).
Winemaker: Rick and Amy Barr
Philosophy: we believe in lower temperature fermentation. This helps retain volatiles and esters which translate to improved bouquet and fruit characteristics.
Birds & Bees Winery Inc.
Brosseau, AB, Canada
The Chrapko family has been farming in Alberta since 1927. The whole Chrapko family earned the distinction of being honoured with a provincial “Farm Family Award” in 1990 for ceaseless pursuit of big-picture, sustainable farming as well as strong citizenship. In 2008, Victor and Elizabeth were also honoured as OCIA International Organic Farmer of the Year.
However it did take six years of lobbying the provincial government to obtain a cottage winery licence. They make 9 different wines from Organic fruits and Honey. In 2005, Birds & Bees Winery and Meadery (formerly called en Santé Winery) became Alberta’s very first (and still ‘only’) Organic-Fruit Cottage Winery. They also produce Mead.
Over looking the beautiful foothills close to Calgary you find Alberta's first honey winery owned by Art and Cherie Andrew. The name “Chinook Arch Meadery” was chosen to reflect the unique weather phenomena that occurs in the lee of the Rocky Mountains where our honey is harvested and where the mead is created.
Chinook Honey Company started as a beekeeping hobby in 1995 The original 2 hives soon expanded to 6, then 12 and now have blossomed to approximately 280. Art's passion for his bees was contagious, and it didn't take long before his wife Cherie started joined in. In 2004 they opened their store The Honey House
Mead was a natural progression and Art started experimenting with various recipes in 1998. After heading the Alberta Beekeepers presentation to Alberta Gaming & Liquor, mead was included in the Alberta Cottage Winery Licensing. Chinook Arch Meadery was Alberta's first licensed commercial Meadery and started production in 2007. Since then their production has grown steadily and offering a variety of mead styles including traditional, metheglins and melomels
In 2011 they released the first Iced Mead ‘Raspberry Ice' and in 2012 followed it with ‘Frosted Blisssss'. This technique is a distillation which creates a lovely dessert wine with an alc./vol. of approximately 20%.
signature meads are ‘Melissa's Gold', ‘Bodacious Black Currant' and ‘Fire ‘n Spice'.
Mead maker: Art Andrew
Mead is a unique beverage and not very well known in Alberta, thus we endeavour to educate everyone about its many qualities, varieties and uses
En Sante Winery
Canada T0B 0P0 Tel.
Now known as Birds & Bees Winery and Meadery
Away back in 1927 John S. and Eva Chrapko start the homestead that now operates as Orchard Palace and En Santé Winery.
Located near the shores of Lac Sante in North Eastern Alberta, 100 miles (160 km) East of Edmonton. Here they took on a leadership role in the community and raised five children.
Their middle son Victor took over the farm in 1974 from his parents along with his wife Elizabeth.
They begin the first steps toward a low-impact, "environmental " approach to cultivating the land.
In addition, the En Sante orchard operation partnered with the University of Saskatoon in developing hardy fruit varieties that can take advantage of the local soil conditions and growing season.
The whole Chrapko family enjoyed the distinction of being honoured with a provincial “Farm Family Award” in 1990, partly attesting to their ceaseless pursuit of big-picture, modern farming as well as strong citizenship.
In 1997 they began to experiment with fruit wines. In 1999 "Orchard Palace" is designated Certified Organic for agricultural production by Organic Crop Improvement Association International and later in
2001 they pursued the idea of an Organic fruit winery.
In their typically forward-thinking style, the Chrapkos began lobbying the Government of Alberta to create the new Alberta Cottage Winery license. Their efforts attracted other supporters, fruit growers, and the Alberta Beekeepers' Association. After many years, the Cottage Winery Act was recently passed into law
The Forbidden Fruit name was chosen to signal the fact that En Sante's offerings transcend the fruit "corner" of the wine-making world. After 10 years of refining its recipes and production methods while waiting for the Cottage Winery license to come into existence, En Sante now has wines that are enjoyable with a meal, on their own (sipped like you would enjoy port or sherry), OR as accompaniments to dessert. An official license was received
February, 2006, en Santé Winery became Alberta's very first Organic-Fruit, Cottage Winery
Victor was nominated to the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame . This honour recognizes people who have made significant, lifelong and on-going contributions to one of Alberta's primary economic and social sectors
Wines include Saucy Saskatoon, Wild Wild cherry all bottled under the name Forbidden Fruit
Winemaker: Victor Chrapko
Wine made the way it's supposed to be made" (i.e. using organic fruit).
Fallentimber Meadery is located on the Ryan family farm, Northwest of Water Valley, Alberta near the west end of Big Prairie Road (Township Road 302). About a 50 minute drive from the Calgary city limits.
Back in 1969, Blake Ryan started the family business when he purchased the family farm and established his first hives. Today, Blake's son Kevin is the owner and operator of Ryan's Honey which is sold at select stores in our region.
Winemaker: Kevin Ryan Philosophy: Our honey is collected from hives placed along a narrow band at the eastern edge of the foothills. This gives our bees access to a wide variety of wildflowers and clover that cover the hills, but limits their exposure to the expansive croplands to the east. In addition to careful hive placement, our honey is meticulously handled, and never pasteurized. All of our meads are produced with Ryan's Honey and that unique flavour comes through in every glass
Field Stone Fruit wines is Alberta’s first
cottage winery. Opening in July of 2005, and located forty
minutes east of Calgary, Alberta, the winery sits on 50 acres
of mature berry orchards . All wines are produced from luscious
crops of raspberries, strawberries, wild black cherries and
Saskatoon berries. They selected a name that is associated
with Canada's Prairies.
Their award-winning wines include: Bumble berry
Fruit Wine, Raspberry Fruit Wine, Cherry Fruit Wine, Black Currant
Fruit Wine, Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Wine, Saskatoon Berry Dessert
Wine, Wild Black Cherry Dessert Wine, Strawberry Dessert Wine,
Black Currant Dessert Wine and Raspberry Dessert Wine.
signature wines Bumbleberry Fruit Wine,
Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine
Winemaker: Dominic Rivard
Philosophy: Great wine is made
from great fruit
Lake Saskatoon Winery
Situated on the west side of Saskatoon Lake and on the east side of Saskatoon mountain, the Saskatoon berry thrives in this micro-climate.
grandparents came from Costansa, Romainia, a grape growing area from ancient times, they brought with them the traditions of wine, music and dance. They could not grow grapes in this climate, so they turned to the Saskatoon, the only fruit available to them, and they found that the wine was as good if not better, producing a wine that was full bodied and rich in minerals and nutrients.
They also make a sour cherry honey wine
Saskatoon Lake is a medium-sized recreational lake surrounded by agricultural land. It is located in the County of Grande Prairie about 25 km west of the city of Grande Prairie.
Saskatoon Lake was originally named by Indians for the Saskatoon berry, which grows profusely
Spirit Hills Ltd
240183 2380 Drive West
Millarville, Alberta, T0L 1K0
Spirit Hills is owned and operated by the Bonjean family, whose lineage includes generations of French winemakers with vineyards in the Auvergne, France. Spirit Hills produces meads.
Spirit Hills integrates organic herbs and berries with ancient honey wine fermentation methods to produce the highest quality of wines with a distinct Alberta flavour
signature meads are Saskwatch, Dande, Redneck and Wild Rose Passion.
Saskwatch is crafted from Alberta's Saskatoons, Black Currants and Spirit Hills honey Winner of the
The Alberta Beverage Awards