Farmstead Wines
Last week over dinner with some friends we were introduced to Farmstead Wines. Farmstead is not a winery, but rather a seal placed on a bottled that guarantees the authenticity of hand-crafted wines made through natural methods. The company was started to support local farms in Europe in which the wines that they produce are crafted by the very farmers who cultivate the grapes. The wines are all hand-made, through natural methods, in small quantities. The farmers use both natural pest control and natural irrigation as well as sustainable agriculture and biodiversity processes. Company founder Anthony Nicalo, a chef by trade, imports these wines from farms in Austria, France, Italy and Slovenia bringing the old world to the new.

Marc Tempe – Zellenberg Pinot Gris
The wine that we enjoyed was a Marc Tempe – 2004 Zellenberg Pinot Gris. It had a very fruity aroma and a bit of a spicy flavor which balanced out the fruit. It was delicious! The Farmstead Wines website contains profiles of each farmer that they represent and Marc Tempe believes that after all of the work of farming, it would be crazy to manipulate the grapes into particular styles or flavors. He prefers letting the grapes speak for themselves and uses only native yeast, little if any fining or filtration and minimal sulfur. His wines experience extended fermentations and aging (18 to 24 months), in large, old oak barrels. He is an active member of Nicolas Joly’s La Rennaissance des Appellations group in which all the participating wine-growers recognize that the soil and climate is different everywhere on earth and strive to express the unique characteristics of their special terroirs. The group adheres to a strict Quality Charter concerning vineyard and cellar practices.

Available in Wine Shops Near You
Wines with the Farmstead seal are currently available at wine shops in Vancouver including five locations of Liberty Wines, Everything Wine in North Vancouver, Kitsilano Wine Cellars and more as well as in Victoria and Calgary. Wines are also served along with some of Vancouver’s best eats at Boneta, Joe Fortes, Nook, Salt Tasting Room and Vij’s to name a few. A full listing of restaurants and wine shops that carry Farmstead Wines can be found on their website.  Eat magazine has published a full profile of Farmstead founder Anthony Nicola in their March 2009 issue.

While we do tend to stick with mainly BC wines, both to support the BC economy and to minimize the environmental impacts of shipping wine around the world, when we do buy wines from elsewhere we will now try to seek out the Farmstead Wines seal above.