Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery (previously En Santé) was established in 2005 after the founder, Victor Chrapko, lobbied the provincial government starting in 1999. Victor saw cottage wineries as an opportunity for value-adding, sustainability, and diversification in agriculture. Having been a beekeeper and a fruit grower since the late 1950’s, Victor’s hobby as a winemaker started when he got married (1964) and he and his new bride, Elizabeth, put down their first batch of wine. It was made with bread yeast and a 5 gallon pail. A bottle of that wine was saved until their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, at which point it had aged to perfection!
The land the family farm is on has been nurtured by the family since 1927 by pioneers that emigrated from Ukraine. The farm was certified organic in 1999, which included Alberta’s first organic apple orchard. Victor’s unexpected death in 2008 has meant the next generation of family has become more involved in the winery. More recently, cottage wineries have been permitted to sell wine at Farmers’ Markets and to sell direct to liquor stores and restaurants — two more of Victor’s ideas that have come to fruition.
Currently, Birds & Bees has nine wines that are available at Farmers’ Markets and liquor stores across Alberta as well as at select restaurants. Please visit us at the Bergen Farmers’ Christmas Market!