Leave it to me to select a local business for my WLG | impact profile incorporating a winery. Naturally, the idea dawned on me over a glass of wine. The glass was Fauna and the winery was Lightfoot & Wolfville, a local biodynamic farm. The concept of sustainability and positively impacting the environment through wine was a concept I could quickly get on board with.
I learned during my conversation with Rachel Lightfoot, the Lightfoot Family are fourth-generation farmers and have always embraced their identity as stewards of the land. When the co-founders envisioned diversifying the family farm by planting grapevines, they embarked on a journey to various wine regions worldwide, seeking inspiration and knowledge from cool climate wines. During this exploration, they consistently discovered wines with a strong sense of place, "terroir," and exceptional character—wines made through biodynamic farming practices.
The holistic and sustainable approach to agriculture has gained attention in recent years. While it has been widely practiced in Europe, particularly its birthplace in Austria, biodynamic farming is still relatively unfamiliar to many in North America. However, in agriculture, few practices embody sustainability and regenerative principles as powerfully as biodynamic farming. Practices go beyond the boundaries of organic farming by emphasizing the interconnectivity between the soil, plants, animals, and the surrounding ecosystem.
From crop rotation, composting, and natural pest control, to ensuring the overall health and vitality of the environment, you will notice the Lightfoot's commitment to cultivating biodiversity if you walk through the farm grounds. Around 15 percent of the farm is left as untouched forest land, creating a habitat for native plants and animals. This forested area encourages a diverse range of species to flourish, contributing to the overall ecological balance of the farm.
Surrounding the vineyards are strategically planted annual and perennial vegetables, herbs, flowers, berry bushes, fruit trees, pastures, and pollinator plants. The farm creates habitats for beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife by incorporating various plant species. This natural balance helps control pests and diseases naturally.
By reserving natural habitats and encouraging native flora and fauna—also the name of two Lightfoot & Wolfville wines—biodynamic vineyards help restore ecological balance and minimize the need for synthetic interventions. These vineyards act as havens for various species, fostering a rich and resilient ecosystem. Interestingly, the vineyard sustained minimal crop loss and damage from a historically low polar vortex during the winter of 2023.
The sustainable practices in biodynamic farming ultimately translate into wines of exceptional quality and distinct character. By nurturing the vineyard's health, biodynamic farmers promote the expression of terroir—the unique combination of soil, climate, and vine characteristics that give a wine its personality.
In a world where sustainable practices are more crucial than ever, Lightfoot & Wolfville is a leader in environmental responsibility and excellence in winemaking. As one of the select few Demeter-certified—products produced using biodynamic principles and practices—wineries in Canada, they have not only crafted exceptional wines but have also embraced a deep commitment to biodynamic agriculture, a guarantee that resonates with conscientious consumers seeking authenticity and environmental stewardship. We can all raise a glass to that!
If you want to try Lightfoot & Wolfville wines, visit me in Nova Scotia! Alternatively, Lightfoot & Wolfville can ship wine across Canada; is available by the bottle at the Heavenly Vines' in Ebisu, Tokyo; Tidal Bay, the uniquely Nova Scotian white wine is available by the glass or bottle at Rayleigh & Ramsay Wine Bar in Amsterdam; and they have recently started exporting to England. Be sure to let me know if you have the opportunity to sample a glass—or the bottle!
Author: Ashley Lecroy, World Law Group