What are Vegan and Vegetarian Wines?

Our guest this evening has been involved in his family winery since he was five years old. After working in the wine production cellar, he became a published songwriter. But despite his love for music, he felt called back to the vineyard and in 2008 became Chief Operations Officer in 2008 then CEO in 2012.

Recently he has become a director of the Canadian Vintners Association and Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute.

And he joins me live now from his winery: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Ezra Cripes of  Summerhill Pyramid Winery!

What was the exact moment when you realized that you wanted to leave the music industry and come back to wine? Tell us exactly where you were? What triggered the thought? How did you feel? What was the next step you took to get going on the path to winemaking?

What’s your favourite failure? (Let’s avoid bad weather ;) Where were you? What happened? How did you feel? What did you do to recover? What did you learn from this experience that made you stronger or better in some regard?

Now take us to the best moment of your wine career: what happened? (Let’s avoid awards and reviews ;) Where were you? What happened? How did you feel?

What’s the most memorable thing someone has ever said about your wines?

What is something that you believe right now that some people think is insane?

What’s the harshest criticism you’ve received about your wines? Here you can also say how you’d refute that criticism or if it was a misunderstanding – or how you changed your winemaking to correct whatever the issue was.

What was something you were wrong about as it relates to making wine?

Tell us about how the pyramid plays a role in making wine at your winery.

What makes a wine vegetarian?

The difference between vegetarian and vegan wines?

What’s the difference between vegetarian/vegan wines and organic wines?

What’s the difference between vegetarian/vegan wines and gluten-free wines?

If the label doesn’t say vegan on it, are there other words that might indicate the wine could be vegan?

Are there any health benefits to vegan/vegetarian wines?

Is it mainly vegans and vegetarians who drink this wine?

Why do winemakers fine or filter wine?

What types of fining agents do they use?

Could someone allergic to eggs, fish or milk react to these wines?

Why did you choose to make vegetarian/vegan wines?

What are the unique challenges?

What do you mean by a zoological free winery?

Do you think ingredient lists should be on the wine label?

Can you pair vegan wines with meat?

Are you a vegetarian? Why or why not?

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Ann MacLean1:39 Hi Natalie and Ezra … an interesting topic and no I haven’t tasted V wines.

Monique Sosa15:26 Wow! Fascinating story behind your winery… it must have been interesting growing up in your household… the conversations at dinner must be fascinating too. What’s your most memorable one?

John Higgins1:28 Just at the Winery on Wednesday was very impressed loved the Riesling Chef Jeremy was amazing great tour Yes



Lori Kilmartin24:02 So as a Biodynamic Winery What is one of the more “far out” things you do? Cow horn? Plant according to moon cycle?
Stephen Andrews45:47 Please describe the Pinot you make? I am interested to order but to make it worth while I would need to order at least 6.
Lori Kilmartin37:41 Is your brother a Vegan – something makes me






Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc De Blanc 2012
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC VQA, Canada







Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Lori Kilmartin2:42 Hi Ezra! Excited to hear what you have to say. No Vegan wines for me yet!
Monique Sosa30:34 How closely related are vegan wines to “natural wines”?

Stephen Andrews36:51 I will need to mention this to vegan friends that I know. They may be interested.



Family Photo

Stephen Andrews58:18 That this is the only spiritually vegan winery I have ever heard of. Wish it was in Ontario😇

Paul E Hollander15:36 I use isinglass went brewing beer. It combines the solid proteins to clarify the beer.

Monique Sosa7:34 I love that! I’d say Cipes sparkling brut has sent electricity through my body 🤩





Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic White 2017
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC VQA, Canada







Inside Summerhill Pyramid

Lori Kilmartin56:39 The stopper I have has “Final Touch” on it!

Lori Kilmartin35:40 What bio dynamic practices do you follow?
Lori Kilmartin17:54 How much longer does it take without those to settle sediments and you let it happen naturally?



Lori Kilmartin9:04 What is the oldest vintage you have in your cellar Ezra?

Sam Hauck58:39 That Blanc de Blanc is amazing.

Stephen Andrews38:29 Ezra your dad has a book on spirituality, how much has this translated to your life?






Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Red 2016
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC VQA, Canada









Stephen Andrews30:25 Do the wines taste different?
Madelaine Hicks45:13 you ave given the grapes for the Red Alive. What were the grapes in the Alive White Blend?

Rachelle O’Connor36:14 Very cool Ezra! There are so many amazing organic farmers and talented winemakers that are creating outstanding products….hats off to you! I love what you are doing and predict there will be many more vegan choices on restaurant menus and wine lists in the years to come!!




Stephen Andrews27:32 Is not all wine vegan?

Stephen Andrews28:48 Oh so egg is not vegan

Lise Charest Gagne9:47 Not industrial love it!!!!



Sam Hauck54:23 One of your best interviews ever.

Lori Kilmartin46:38 Do you use natural yeasts?
Monique Sosa41:33 Not sure if you mentioned anything about “natural wines” yet Ezra… how closely related are vegan wines to natural wines?
Peter Foster35:12 My wife is also allergic to sulphur, which makes it a problem.
Ann Bedard42:58 Not available in Panama. Would you consider export to Panama?




Ezra Cipes – CEO, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Ezra Cipes is proud to carry on the family legacy at Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Since the Cipes family moved from New York to Summerhill Vineyard in Kelowna, British Columbia when Cipes was five, he has grown up in the wine industry, and feels blessed to now lead a company dedicated to creating beauty in collaboration with nature.

Cipes has a multitude of passions and talents. After working in the wine production cellar while attending public school in Kelowna, Ezra embarked on a career in music. He worked as a touring and session musician and became a published songwriter. But despite his love for music, Cipes felt called back to the vineyard. Home on the family farm, Cipes initiated a half acre permaculture garden, selling vegetables and herbs to Summerhill’s onsite Sunset Organic Bistro. After reconnecting with the winery and the land, Cipes knew he needed to assume a greater role at the winery. He became Chief Operations Officer in 2008 and CEO in 2012.

Recently Cipes has taken a leadership role in the Canadian wine industry as a director of the Canadian Vintners Association, Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Wine Institute, and Chair of the BC Wine Appellation Task Group that tabled its recommendations in November, 2015.



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