On the Chrapko family’s farm two hours east of Edmonton, stainless steel tanks sit in a cellar, fermenting raspberries, saskatoons, cherries and other fruits grown on site. As Alberta’s first organic winery and meadery, it made a name for itself as En Santé (French for “to your health”), producing nine table varieties debunking the myth that prairie wines are as good as syrup. But recently, fans of the winery noticed a big change. Or, maybe they didn’t notice the change so much as they recognized an identical product under a different name, Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery.
Actually, the company’s “dress,” as one owner of the family business, Xina Chrapko, calls it, has switched to a more upbeat, less sophisticated outfit. And so has each variety. Say goodbye to “Mellow Gold Honey” and “Green Envy.” It’s “Honey, I Have Meads” and “Roll in the Hay” now.
Chrapko says it’s largely because the new name is easier to remember. Wine critic and Wine Access editor Anthony Gismondi is more blunt. “Unless you are French to your toes,” he says, “I really think French-sounding names are unnecessary for Canadian wineries.”
The new name also draws a more distinct parallel to what the cottage winery does: Produce organic wines. So it’s less about exclusivity and more about an all-natural, homemade product. But, says Chrapko, don’t think that makes their wines any less sophisticated than their grape counterparts.