Biodynamic v Organic Winemaking – Southbrook’s Ann Sperling Video

In this video below with Southbrook Vineyards’ winemaker Ann Sperling, we chat about biodynamic and organic winemaking. (What’s with burying cow’s horns, witchcraft and astrology?) Also:

– can you taste the difference in the wine?

– why take this approach and is it difficult and expensive to do in a cool climate like Ontario?

Click on the arrow to play the video:

Here are my Top 20 Organic Wines for Earth Day April 22, and year round.

When Ann Sperling was a child, she had a miniature version of every farm tool—a child-sized hoe, shovel and so on so that she could help with almost every part of tending the vines on her family’s vineyard in BC. Now as the winemaker at Niagara’s Southbrook Vineyards she says she has an intuitive feel for the vines when she walks among them and can tell within seconds their age and vitality. Kind of like the vine whisperer…

I’ve posted several of my recent reviews of Ann’s wines below. If you’d like to see more of her reviews as well as those for other biodynamic and organic wines, please join my wine reviews.

New Social Media Tools

This is the first video chat using the new Google + Hangouts On Air live broadcast. We’re pioneering the use of this social media tool in the wine world and are excited about bringing together the old and new worlds of wine and technology.

This is the first in a regular series of informal conversations that will introduce you to dynamic winemakers, sommeliers, chefs, writers and wine instructors around the world.

I’ll also be chatting with those outside of the wine world (musicians, actors, tv personalities etc) who have a particular passion for wine.

At the same time, you’ll also learn about various aspects of wine from how it’s made to how it’s marketed as well as practical tips like choosing from a restaurant wine list and pairing wine with food.

Do you know someone whom I should interview? E-mail me at


2007 Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Merlot, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

A juicy, succulent red that’s vibrantly alive! Plush dark plum aromas with some toast. Richly layered; superbly crafted. I love that it’s organic to boot. Drink: 2010-2014. 621605302070 12.5% XD 750 ml $21.95 Score: 90/100


2011 Southbrook Vineyards Connect Red, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

A smokey wine with enticing dark fruit aromas. Full-bodied with a terrific acidity balance for many meals. Pair with: The fruitiness and moderate alcohol match well with beef or veggies and (Madras) curry. Drink: 2011-2014. 249565 13% XD 750 ml $14.95 Score: 87/100



2007 Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy Cabernet Sauvignon, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

Ann Sperling, who has dubbed this wine The Winemaker’s Palette, has “painted” a lovely wine from the superb 2007 vintage in Niagara. Aromas of raspberry, boysenberry, tilled earth and woodsmoke are front and centre. The palate is dry and fruity, yet fine tannins come through for balance. This Cab Sauv, from the great 2007 vintage, is beautifully constructed. Enjoy it tonight or cellar it for up to three years. My note: Blackberry liqueur richness and depth with full-on hedonistically ripe fruit and a dark spice finish. Hard to believe it’s only 12% alcohol, but it’s also a pleasant surprise for such flavor. Pair with: roast leg of lamb, slow-cooked meat dishes. Drink: 2011-2015. 260281 12% XD 750 ml $33.95 Score: 90/100.

2008 Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Franc, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

Rich, savoury and juicy with aromas of redcurrant and cranberry. This wine was aged in both French and American oak. No fining agent was used for this organic wine so it’s suitable for vegans & vegetarians. Pair with: braised beef ribs in a cabernet sauce, steak. Drink: 2011-2013. 312086 13.3% D 750 ml $22.95 Score: 88/100.



2010 Southbrook Vineyards Connect White Vidal, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

I love it when I find a wine that’s so low in alcohol yet so packed with flavour! It means you can enjoy it over an evening without falling asleep on the sofa at 7 pm. This wine is liquid refreshment: light floral notes, white peach and melon. It’s slightly off-dry (a touch of sweetness) which makes it perfect for dishes with a little sweetness or spice, such as glazed ham or light to medium curries and Asian fare. The bonus is that this wine is organic. Pair with: seafood, salad, pork. Drink: 2010-2013. 249078 9.6% MD 750 ml $14.95Score: 87/100.

Southbrook Vineyards winery

This event is now past …

is pleased to welcome Ann Sperling & Peter Gamble for a very special dinner…

Join us at Cava for a Winemaker’s Dinner with Ann Sperling, winemaker at Sperling Vineyards, Clos du Soleil and Southbrook Vineyards, and Peter Gamble, consulting Winemaker of Ravine Vineyards and Benjamin Bridge.

Ann & Peter are two of Canada’s most esteemed winemakers, and we are delighted to have them.

Spend an evening with us to showcase some of their finest bottles.

Cava Tapas
Southbrook Vineyards Rosé 2011

Lightly Seared Albacore with Cool Climate Rémoulade
Benjamin Bridge NOVA 7 2011

Wild Sockeye Salmon with Asparagus
Clos du Soliel Fumé Blanc 2010

Navarin of Lamb Neck
Ravine Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Picone Vineyard 2010

Paella with Rabbit Sausage, Sweetbreads, Chanterelles and Fresh Snails
Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy Winemakers’ Red 2008

Tarta of Rhubarb and Strawberry with Miso-Sour Cream Ice Cream
Sperling Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2009




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