by Marlise Ponzo

There was a great lineup at last weekend’s BioVino eco-friendly wine tasting! This three-day event was presented at Toronto’s Green Living Show by The Living Vine an organic, biodynamic and sustainable wine-importing agency. Over 40 eco-conscious wineries were showcased ranging from certified organic to carbon neutral. The event featured seminars where industry leaders from some of the world’s most environmentally friendly wineries, took the stage to demystify biodynamic practices for those attending. BioVino took place at the Direct Energy Center- Exhibition Place. Good Food Revolution was there to help host the event. Above: Le Sommelier’s Bernard Stramwasser pours a selection of bio-dynamic wines from Australia and Europe.

Throughout the day winemakers and growers took to a stage to explain how they make their wines.

Oh Canada. Wine maker, Thomas Bachelder, of Le Clos Jordanne pours his liquid perfection of organic deliciousness.

Owner of Southbrook Vineyards, Bill Redelmeier, takes the stage to speak on how biodynamic vineyard practices can help Canadian growers to overcome some of our cool climate viticultural challenges. He takes a few moments to show me a new product recently developed and available only at the winery. Southbrook’s Vinifera Grape Powder can be added to chocolate cake, pizza crust, and smoothies etc to add a blast of antioxidant power. I taste the 2009 Fresh White (Demeter certified bio-dynamic, 100% Vidal) and it is yummy! Available in Vintages in August for a meager $16.95.

Charles Baker of Stratus samples some Wildass Red, Stratus’s juicy, easygoing little sister wine that’s chalked full of personality at a very reasonable price tag. LCBO $19.95.

Jens Gemmrich, winemaker at Frogpond Farm in Niagara, tells me of his German roots and his understanding of organic viticulture. He pours us his Cabernet Franc…fabulous!!! Certified organic.

The Living Vine’s Mark Cuff, organizer of this important event, talks to attending Chef Albert Ponzo (Le Select) about his initial interest in representing sustainable products.

Good Food Revolution’s Malcolm Jolley hosts the main stage.

Wine legend Nicolas Joly, wine grower/owner of the historic Coulée de Serrant Appellation Controlée, could not attend due to a flight cancellation but his daughter Virginie did a lovely job speaking in his absence and pouring their elegant, complex and age worthy wines.

Brilliant speaker Annie Millton, owner of The Millton Vineyards in Gisborne, New Zealand, clearly conveys her passionate stance on the importance of biodynamic practice as she addresses the crowd. Some of the best wines in show!! Available at Vintages and through The Living Vine.

Paul Limpis of Paxton Wines is engaging and entertaining as he pours me his single vineyard selection while David Paxton speaks on the main stage about operating a carbon neutral winery. Paxton Wines has been awarded Biodynamic-in-conversion certification. The 2010 vintage will be eligible to proudly wear NASAA’s certification logo. Paxton is located in McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Le Sommelier’s Bernard Stramwasser poses with a bottle of DogRidge’s 2009 The Pup Sparkling Chardonnay. This sparkler has a funky 1% Pedro Ximenez Sherry thrown in for good measure and just a splash of Sauvignon Blanc. Crazy delectable, fresh and fun! The weird looking closure is called a zork and can easily be reinserted to keep the wine nice and fizzy. DogRidge is located in McLaren Vale, South Australia and has won awards for biodiversity and conservation.

Nikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria. Located in the Wachau region, it’s history dates back over 2000 years. The historic building alone is awe-inspiring but the bio-dynamic wines are so pure and complex they are life changing. The whole property is run along the strictest biodynamic guidelines. Available from The Living Vine.

Great food available just outside the BioVino perimeters. Jamie Kennedy (Gilead Cafe) and Carole-Ann Hayes (Ontario’s Own) serve up some steamy farm fresh soup. Ontario’s Own’s product line of prepared foods, are made exclusively using food sourced locally. Some are made using Kennedy’s scrumptious recipes. Available at Fiesta Farms, Pusateri’s and Rowe Farms.

Paul Sawtel of 100 km Foods Inc., a farm-to-restaurant local food supplier, pairs up with Reds’ Chef Michael Steh to create a brilliant fresh salad.

Chef Scott Vivian, soon to open Beast, bakes up an enormous batch of cornbread with a tasty pulled pork surprise in the middle, Monforte Dairy’s goat’s milk cheddar and maple butter. MMMMMMMM Need I say more?

Marlise Ponzo, has been working in the Hospitality industry for many years and  possesses experience in many different roles from fine dining server, restaurant manager, sommelier to wine/food writer most recently. She is absolutely passionate about the culinary arts and the artistry of food and wine pairing. Being married to a chef, vacations become true culinary adventures and often land her at one michelin star restaurant or another. She has been working at Crush Wine Bar for the past eight years and has used this extraordinarily successful restaurant as a springboard for learning everything she could about the wonderful world of wine. In 2008 she graduated the Canadian Association of  Professional Sommeliers certification program with honours and accepted two awards of excellence for blind tasting from CAPS. Currently she continues to explore her passion for sensory development and wine appreciation through reading, tasting, traveling and writing.