SOAHC Estate Wines Business Manager Trent Winterhalder admits that growing grapes according to biodynamic principles can sort of “make it sound as though we’re into New Age stuff, but we’re not.”

In fact, Winterhalder and General Manager Jamie Fochuk are very, very serious about how the grapes are grown on their 19-acre vineyard just outside of Fruitvale. The name “SOAHC” is, Winterhalder laughs, “chaos spelled backward. You’ll see the word ‘chaos’ referenced quite a bit if you research the literature around biodynamic wine.”

Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic approach that combines intense natural practices commonly found in organic farming along with the addition of unique preparations intended to stimulate plant and biological life. Biodynamic farming utilizes the natural elements around us to maintain a united balance of plant, animal and mineral to build strength in plants from the soil upwards. These elements are portrayed in the SOAHC logo: air, earth, water and sun/fire.

Despite its name, SOAHC’s progress has been anything but chaotic, however. It planted its first grapes in 2010, and by 2015 was selling over 500 cases of wine with grapes grown at its Fruitvale operation. SOAHC has won 10 medals both nationally and internationally. “Our wines are sold in some of the best restaurants in Vancouver,” says Winterhalder.

Although the grapes are grown locally, they were crushed and fermented off-site at a winery in the southern Okanagan. In 2015, SOAHC winery received a loan from the Trust to help it expand and bring that process in-house.

Now its Fruitvale location has a 4,000-square-foot winemaking facility that houses brand-new premium-quality Italian-made Diemme equipment, barrels and fermenting tanks —enough equipment to handle an almost tenfold increase in production as more grapes are harvested on the SOAHC property.

Being able to store, crush and ferment the grapes on-site adds another layer of precision to what is already a notoriously rigid discipline. Going forward, “we will simply have more control of the wine making process,” Winterhalder says.