What came first? The bird or the bee?
Who we are?
Our farm operation has enjoyed being responsible for different “firsts” and leadership in the production of food and beverages. Not only that, we are proud of our history of ethical stewardship of nature’s resources and community development, since 1927.
The whole Chrapko family earned the distinction of being honored 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 honored as OCIA International Organic Farmer of the Year.
Being practitioners of sustainable, environmentally-friendly farming, the Chrapkos’ crops thrived using age-old, proven methods of crop rotation and judicious inter-seeding of crops whose root systems fix nitrogen into the soil. Thanks to having an uncontaminated soil base, the Chrapkos’ farm was easily certified organic in 1999. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 1999, Victor & Elizabeth established a certified-organic orchard which has grown to a total of 15 different fruits. The orchard co-exists with a small honeybee operation.
In order to participate in a value-add supply chain for their certified-organic fruit, the Chrapkos set their sites on developing a winery.
At first, the regulations in Alberta for fermenting wine were extremely restrictive. So the next step in their forward march of progress required Victor and Elizabeth to lobby (for 6 ‘short’ years!) to change the regulations to permit a “cottage”-type of winery. The new regulations requires Alberta-based wineries to grow much of their own ingredients.
In parallel, the Chrapkos started a multi-year experiment to discover the perfect mix of ingredients and a proprietary process that results in their signature smooth, high-quality wines.
In 2005, Birds & Bees Winery and Meadery (formerly called en Santé Winery) became Alberta’s very first (and still ‘only’) Organic-Fruit Cottage Winery!To our knowledge, Birds & Bees is the northernmost Organic Fruit orchard and Winery / Meadery in the world.
We now make 10 wines that range from dry to semi-sweet.
Thank you for your interest in our nearly Century-old history!
-- The Chrapko Family