Birds & Bees started with apples & pears
Once upon a time back in 1964, Victor and Elizabeth Chrapko got married and received their first fruit trees – crab apple and pear. From there they started the orchard that would lead to very big things.
Fast forward to 1999. With a thriving orchard featuring 15 different fruits and a small honeybee operation in full swing , they set their sights on even bigger things – a winery.
The only problem? Regulations.
Alberta’s strict bylaws for fermenting wine made their quest a tough one to conquer. But the Chrapko family firmly believed that if you can’t beat ‘em, change ‘em. So for the next 6 years, Victor and Elizabeth fought the law. And they won.
In 2005, we became Alberta’s very first Certified Organic Winery… to our knowledge, Birds & Bees is the northern-most Organic Fruit Orchard, Winery, Meadery, and Distillery in the World.
Today, our family farm continues to mix home-grown organic deliciousness with our proud proprietary process to deliver the fantastically flirty variety of wines and spirits that Albertans (and beyond!) know and love.
Land starts to be homestead-ed.
Our dad approaches our MLA about starting a Cottage Wine Industry in Alberta.
Cottage wine regulations are established.
Birds & Bees gets their license.
Our Dad becomes Alberta’s 1st born and raised winemaker under the new regulations.
The Government of Alberta awards our father with the Ag Choices Award to recognize and honor him as the one with the vision to start this new industry.
Our parents receive the International Organic Farmer of The Year from OCIA.
OCIA creates the Victor Chrapko Scholarship. Tonia and Xina do career changes to keep the winery going. We get the regulations changed to be able to sell at markets, fulfilling another part of our Dad’s original vision.
We receive the Make It Award from the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association. Are also featured on PBS TV’s “Endless Feast” and become Alberta’s most famous wine!
Another part of our Dad’s 1999 vision comes to pass and we can sell direct to liquor stores and restaurants.
Saskatoon Stomp was aired on CTV’s “Around The Region” program. Our wine was used in the filming of the pilot for a TV mini-series called “Nice Girls Do”. Winery featured on the Marilyn Denis show as one of sommelier Sebastian’s top wine picks from across Canada.
Began growing Hemp on our organic farm.
Entered first ever blind tasting competition, with our Mead being awarded a Bronze Medal at the World Mead Challenge.
Continued entering competitions with awards received from All Canadian Wine Championships, Alberta Beverage Awards and World Mead Challenge.
Launch of SMOKIN’ our newest addition to line-up of wines. Numerous awards received from competitions, including Northwest Wine Summit and Alberta Beverage Awards.
Shane expanded the brand to include premium spirits. The enterprise becomes rebranded to Birds & Bees Wines and Spirits.