SouthEnd Farm Winery was founded one night at university with a really bad bottle of wine. Ben and Jill decided that they could do better than that and they fast forwarded their retirement dream to open a winery.
It also presented them a prefect opportunity to get back to Quadra Island. Ben grew up on 12.5 acre farm on Quadra and that is now home to the winery and their small 3 acre vineyard. Jill grew up near Campbell River: they went to the same high school and they went on to UBC together. Ben has an engineering degree and Jill studied to be a landscape architect, but soon after university they chased their “retirement dream” and went back to the land that they call home.
Because SouthEnd Farm claims to be the most northerly winery on the west coast of North America, they try to make the best wines out of the grapes they can grow on the island instead of pushing to grow more popular or more recognizable named grapes.
For whites, they have Petit Milo and Siegrebbe and for red, they have Marechal Foch and Leon Millot. Now in their 12th year, this quaint and beautiful winery has not only become a great summer destination for visitors but also a cozy gathering place for neighbors on Sunday afternoons as well as a home to 3 generation family (Ben’s parents, Jill’s parents and their own family with 9 and 12 year olds.)
“We live in the vineyard and our houses are on the vineyard. Our families walk through the vineyard everyday so we want to make sure that we farm organically with no pesticides or hebicides. “ says Jill. “It is kind of a lifestyle too. We raise a family, various animals and a big vegetable and flower garden. Our kids are learning to being attuned to the season. They help us raise the chickens and goats. The youngest got a couple of special chickens for her birthday so she learns how to take care of them. We are planning to get sheep next year. It is interesting place to be and place to live.”
Their wines are strictly local. They are only sold at the winery and 2 grocery stores on the island. Expect the small batch, handcrafted wines to be all sold out by the end of the year. They are highly sought after by local people and by their visitors, friends and families alike.
“Our model is to keep it small and local. It is such a micro winery and there are only 2 of us here working in all aspects of the farm from vineyard to winemaking to the tasting room. It is nice to be able to offer something distinctively unique and exceptional wine that expresses true Quadra Island terroir.”
SouthEnd Farm may be small, but they always have many ideas spinning in their head! Lots of new fun projects are popping up like ClearCut Distilling (marriage of their wine and spirits) and a charming accommodation on their working vineyard.
-Coming up next is VOICE 10 QUESTIONS with SouthEnd Farm Winery as we went deeper into Ben and Jill’s thoughts.