Summerhill Pyramid Winery News & Blog
Interested in organic winemaking, meeting our growers and our visionary Stephen Cipes, in-depth tasting notes, or being tantalized by Chef Jeremy Luypen's renowned cooking skills? Pick a category on the right to delve in.
After an abrupt and unexpected late October snowfall, we have officially entered a new season in the Okanagan and at the winery. This November and December is a fantastic time to visit Summerhill. Our team has come up with a bunch of creative and delicious promotions and programs to safely and responsibly tempt you, adding fun and flavour to brighten the end of your 2020.
First let's talk about our Wine Shop:
On Sundays, join Winery Sommelier Susan Watkins for an amazing sensory experience. Explore food & wine pairing and dive deeply into Summerhill's organic & biodynamic portfolio in an intimate guided conversation. Susan, formerly wine director at Vancouver's fabulous The Mackenzie Room fine dining restaurant, is deeply knowledgable and at the same time totally approachable. With a limit of only eight people per session (6 per group max), this is an amazing opportunity to be inspired, whether you are curious about the fascinating world of wine, already an expert, or anywhere in between. You can find more information and book your seats here.
Every Friday and Saturday this winter, we open all our expensive bottles and offer Gray Label tastings of our small lot, premium wines. The weekend is a great time to visit! This tasting is complementary with purchase of premium wine, or you are welcome to experience these rare, special vintages for $20 per person.
Meanwhile our socially distanced tasting room is open daily. No need to reserve, just drop in to taste our delicious organic wine. The tasting is complimentary with purchase, or $10 per person if you just want to come in for the experience.
And starting November 14, just in time for Christmas shopping, our Gallery Tasting Room will transform into the Fabulous Finds Pop-up Artisan Shop & Art Gallery! In lieu of a craft fare, which can't happen this year due to COVID, the organizers have arranged a consigment store with a curated list of super high quality crafters and artists to take place at Summerhill. We're really excited to provide this opportunity to shop local for the holidays and support our local economy!
And here's what's happening in our restaurant:
We know how important it is to be conscientious and safe when dining out, and we know there is a range of feelings and comfort levels. We want to offer you the opportunity to treat yourself and to celebrate comfortably and safely. That's why we have committed to keeping our patio open all winter long this year! We're turning on the heaters and blocking the wind. Wear a cozy sweater and we'll make sure you are comfortable.
Also, now that we're through the tourist season, our Local's Special theme nights are back! Here's the weekly schedule of special offers:
- Wednesday is Date Night / Pizza night! This is for dine in or take out service.
- Thursday is Fondue Night! This decadent and sumptuous special service pairs amazingly well with our aromatic white wines, which are sold in the restaurant at wine shop prices on Fondue Night.
- Friday and Saturday afternoon we offer Sparkling High Tea! Plus there is a High Tea Travel Club. This special service is by reservation only. Find out more and book your seats here.
- Happy Hour is 3 - 5 pm Tuesday - Sunday
And if you feel more comfortable staying home, we are pleased to announce the return of our Family Dinners To Go, Frozen Dinners, and organic grocery service, available for curbside pickup when ordered from our website here (click the link and scroll down).
Please note that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday thru Saturday, and for lunch only on Sundays. We will be closed all day Monday, and for dinner on Sunday.
We are so happy to welcome you back! Our tasting room opens today (!) and our restaurant opens June 3rd.
Visiting us this year is going to be a little different, but it's going to be great. It'll hopefully be a little more intimate (as in a little less busy), and even more caring.
We have increased table space in our outdoor and indoor dining areas, and implemented sanitary procedures so you can relax and dine in comfort in our large dining room and patio.
The tasting stations in our wine shop are well spaced, and every precaution is taken to protect all of our health. Instead of cozying up to the bar like in previous years, your group will be led to its own tasting station, at least 6 feet away from the next group over. This will provide better service as well as be in line with health guidelines.
Please see the links here for our Worksafe BC Safety Plans, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Dear Friends and Neighbours,
We are living in strange times! Our little Summerhill family is rallying together to figure out how we can best serve our community during this unprecedented and important time. Here is a list of everything we can offer you right now, whether you live in Kelowna or anywhere in Canada:
In addition to our family dinners to go, Chef Jeremy Luypen has added local & organic grocery offerings to help you with your daily needs. This includes frozen entrees and soups, and a selection of fresh organic produce and portioned organic proteins.
To order click this link. Pickup is available between noon and 8 pm. On arrival in our parking lot, you can call 250-764-8000 ext 130, and we will gladly bring your order to your car for you. We are working on a delivery system and will update you when it is ready.
If you are struggling to find food items, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will try to add your needs to the list.
WE ARE OPEN FOR WINE PURCHASE & FOOD PICK UP
Until advised otherwise, we are remaining open with careful measures to protect your health in our wine shop. We have installed several sanitizing stations for all guests and staff. We are sanitizing all door handles and countertops on a strict, regular basis.
There are no wine tastings right now. If you prefer, you can order by phone and call us from our parking lot to pick up. We will bring the wine direclty to your car.
We are delivering wine across Canada with special consideration. Shipping on all orders of 6 bottles or more is now complimentary. And as always, when you create an account on our website, 10% of your order will be credited to your account as "Gratitude Points", for use on any future order.
In addition, we are currently offering the Hunker Down Wine-Care Package, a selection of our team’s favourite feel-good wines at a special, discounted price.
Thank you all for doing your part to protect our families and communities! We are honoured to do our part to keep our community safe, healthy, and happy during this unprecedented time.
With love and gratitude,
In today’s (post) modern world, business has a profoundly powerful effect on the structure and content of our daily lives. As entrepreneurs in a multifaceted industry that involves farming, manufacturing, marketing, and hospitality, we see ourselves as having a responsibility to contribute to culture in a way that aligns with the eternal values that nurture health and happiness in humanity. This responsibility is our primary motivator, not profit alone.
My parents started working with Summerhill Pyramid’s organic certifier all the way back in 1988. Organic certification is important because it provides transparency for the way we farm and make our wine. Now I am thrilled to announce that on May 15, after a two year accreditation process, Summerhill has become a Certified B Corporation®, which provides the same kind of transparency for the way we run our business. Our overall impact on our Earth and community is looked at; everything from the way we hire and treat our team members to every aspect of our supply chain. The B Corp™ certification is a mark that means we prioritize people and planet alongside profit, and are using business as a force for good.
A few more facts about B Corps:
- There are over 2700 Certified B Corporations from more than 130 industries and 60 countries
- Summerhill Pyramid is the first winery in Canada to gain the certification, and one of just 26 wineries worldwide
- The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
- The certification process uses credible, comprehensive, transparent, and independent standards of social and environmental performance, assessed in five categories: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment. You can find Summerhill’s impact report here.
Summerhill Pyramid is Canada’s most visited winery. We welcome thousands of visitors onto our farm from all over the world. The founding vision to bottle among the very finest wines in the world has been achieved, with trophies from the highest levels of competition in France, England, and around the world to show for it. But the greatest legacy is the change that we strive to nourish daily. Our greatest goal is an ongoing one of service to humanity, engendering a culture of gratitude for people and planet with every heavenly sip of our organic wine.
CEO, Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Here is an article just published in the New York Times Magazine showing the demise of almost 90% of the insects on our planet and the realization that human food production may be the major cause of their disappearance worldwide. As you know, the food chain is dependent on the insects and this is a grave moment that we all face. We can take heart and save the planet and ourselves by growing organic and by only buying organic foods and beverages.
Let’s all consider a radical ‘inner crusade’ by consuming organic foods and beverages. It is URGENT that we take back our power as giant corporations have us under their thumb so to speak and we MUST break away from this fatal course!!! A bonus is we will become vitally healthy and ‘in tune’ with nature again!!!
PLEASE ALSO CONSIDER SIGNING THE DECLARATION TO CONVERT OUR LAWNS AND GARDENS TO ORGANIC EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD BY GOING TO ORGANICOKANAGAN.COM
Thank you for visiting and supporting Summerhill, a world model of ‘man and nature’ with certified organic wines and cuisine. Your loyalty means the WORLD has hope!
THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH,
For our local community and for those wise enough to visit us in the "offseason", check out all of the specials and programming we're running until spring!
We hope to see you soon!
Summerhill Pyramid Bistro
- Every day from 3 – 5 pm - $5 happy hour small plates and glasses of wine!
- Monday – all night happy hour!
- Tuesday – Pizza Night!
- Thursday – Fondue Night!
- Sunday – Prime Rib Night!
Visit the bistro page for more details
Call or click for reservations – 250 764 8000 ext 130
Culinary Classes at the Summerhill Estate House
Looking for something fun to do this winter? Join storied Chef Mara Jernigan for hands on cooking classes at the glorious Summerhill Estate House. From basic skills and healthy eating to Mexican, Sicilian, pasta from scratch, and even bean-to-bar chocolate, there is a class for every taste! Classes are every Sunday afternoon and Thursday evening. For more info on classes and booking information click here!
Complimentary tastings in the Summerhill Wine Shop
Our tasting room is open every day from 10 am – 6 pm, with complimentary tastings. We look forward to welcoming you! No appointment needed.
Gourmet Meals to Go!
Each week our chefs create a family style meal based on the most delicious cuisines from around the world. Order a full, set dinner menu for 2 or more people directly from our website. You can even order wine alongside your meal! Each week features the flavours of a different cuisine, from Greece, Italy, india, Mexico, the Caribbean and more. We hope you will join us on this culinary adventure right from the comfort of your own home for only $20 per person! Ordering is easy. First choose your pick-up time, and then proceed to the menu to order. Click here to order now, our chefs are standing by!
The production team holds the two newly released Demeter certified biodynamic wines, 2017 Summerhill Vineyard Riesling & 2017 Summerhill Vineyard Gruner Veltliner. L-R: Eric von Krosigk, winemaker; Brett Thiessen, vineyard manager; Gary Leslie, maintenance lead; Holly Pierce, enologist; Michael Alexander, cellar master / assistant winemaker; Gabe Cipes, biodynamicist
My brother Gabe moved back to the family farm in 2004, and I followed in 2005. At that time our vineyard had been managed organically for 17 years. We noticed that the leaves were a little yellowish green and the crop was smaller than it should be. One of our mentors Gabriel Howearth described to us that no matter how you do it, farming is always mining. Crops mine nutrients from the soil, and we are hard on the land when we drive a tractor over it. Conventional farmers can add nitrogen fertilizer, but organically it is not so easy. We had to build up the soil so that nitrogen and other nutrients could be available to the vines, and so we set upon the Biodynamic path.
Biodynamics views the farm as an ecosystem, connected to the greater systems of the earth, solar system, and universe. It’s a wonderful feeling for the farmer to be a part of something greater than oneself, and the biodynamic program of composting and making special plant and manure preparations is demonstrably good for the farm. By 2012 my brother Gabe had been practicing Biodynamics for long enough that the leaves on the vines were green again and the crop level was back to a balanced, sustainable level. At that time we sought Biodynamic certification through Demeter Canada. Also at that time, we started to experiment with making wine biodynamically.
The biodynamic wine standard is quite beautiful. It describes “…the human being in the role of an artist to develop soil, fertility and plant in such a way that fruits of vital quality become available,” and then a production method so that “Nothing shall conceal the true nature of the factual properties of the produce.” Therefore when we make wine biodynamically we add no yeast or nutrient and no fermentation or processing aids of any kind. We create the right environment for the juice to turn naturally to wine, and we monitor the process. At the end we clarify the white wine with bentonite and add a little sulfur as a preservative. That’s it; that’s all.
The first year we made wine this way was 2013 with our Summerhill Vineyard Riesling. Winemaker Eric von Krosigk says the process gave him new gray hairs. The fermentation was slow and the wine developed H2S, which does not smell at all pleasant. Apparently this chemical reaction occurred because there was not enough nutrient in the juice for the yeast to do a tidy job. Eric ended up pumping that wine through the air into a new vessel so that the atmospheric oxygen could act as a nutrient for the yeast. The smell and taste of H2S receded and the wine ended up being beautiful for all its imperfection. We learned a lot about the health of our vineyard through that early trial, and have made wine in the same method from our estate grown fruit ever since. Now when we make wine biodynamically it is proof of the vitality of our vineyard.
This year we decided to see about certifying our wine as biodynamic through Demeter Canada. From the 2017 vintage we vinified Riesling and Gruner Veltliner as single estate varietal wines. Summerhill Vineyard is now healthy and vital to a point where the fermentation happened beautifully. Assistant Winemaker Michael Alexander says that the process is still stressful for the winemaking team, as the transformation of sugar to alcohol does not happen as quickly as when we add organic yeast to the crushed fruit, but after a few slow days it happens naturally and efficiently enough to show the true nature of the fruit and of the farm, and creates wine with an individualism that is the essence of the aesthetic pleasure a bottle can provide.
-Ezra Cipes, August 14, 2018
This week we heard from a concerned group about our use of the Om symbol on our Organic Meritage label. The concern raised was about using the deeply meaningful, spiritual icon on a bottle of wine.
Most people who know my family know us to be reverent. Our mission always includes an element of spiritualizing culture, and that is what drew us to use the Om symbol on this wine, as well as other religious iconography on some of our other bottles (use of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life on our Tiferet and Keter labels especially). We love the meaning of Om. It is a beautiful, resonant symbol.
I had the opportunity to speak on the telephone with the gentleman who brought the offense to my attention. He kindly explained to me that the nuance of the way the symbol is used is meaningful. For instance, no one is outraged that the Om symbol is used on hats and shirts, but using it on shoes might feel different, and certainly it feels different to have it on a wine label. I take full responsibility for overlooking this. Once it was explained to me, it was obvious and I immediately understood that it was indefensible. I promised right away to stop using the symbol on wine labels.
I apologize for offending and I hope this note is illuminating and helpful.
CEO, Summerhill Pyramid Winery