Highway 817 and Namaka Rd (251073A Township Road 232)
There is a gem in the wheat fields of Alberta. located 10kn south of Strathmore you will find Fieldstone Fruit wines. Elaine and Marvin Gill own 50 acres of mature berry orchards. They launched in July of 2005, as Alberta’s first cottage winery. All Field Stone fruit wines are vinified from 100-percent Alberta-grown fruit, at least 75- percent of which is grown on Marvin and Elaine Gill’s Bumbleberry Orchards
They started more than a decade earlier establishing Bumbleberry Orchards and a reputation for quality fruit products. Field Stone Fruit Wines’ premium products have been developed by Dominic Rivard, internationally-renowned and award-winning wine master, a recognized specialist in fruit wine, dessert wine, and ice wine production.
Field Stone tells this wonderful story about their first harvest
One favourite story is about the first summer there was too large a yield for the team to pick themselves. They thought they’d just hire some local teenagers and it would be a “piece of cake.” It wasn’t. In fact, it was a disaster.
No one wanted to do the difficult work. After a week of searching and soliciting, the partners stood in the middle of the driveway, forlorn, not knowing what to do. The beautiful berries, and their first great crop of raspberries, were falling on the ground.
As the partners stood there, practically in tears, a white truck turned off the Highway and into the drive, pulling up right beside them. A Hutterite man slowly rolled down the window and said, “We were just wondering if you people needed any help with your picking?”
The team almost fell to their knees in gratitude. The next day a crew of 20 arrived bright and early and picked all the raspberries, led by Sam Waldner and wife Rebecca from the Stahlville Colony.
Since that day, the Colony has been Field Stone’s “go-to” Colony for anything they need -- helping with planting, weeding, picking, bottling and anything else that needs doing.
They practice bioloical farming
The six principles of biological farming in use at Bumbleberry Orchards:
- Test and balance the soil.
- Use fertilizers which are life-promoting and non-harmful.
- Use herbicides in minimum amounts and only when absolutely necessary; do not use pesticides or fungicides.
- Use organic matter to improve soil structure.
- Use tillage to control weeds, as well as for aeration and drainage of the soil.
- Feed the soil life-giving amendments of bacteria and nutrients
In 2015 Alberta Government honoured the winery by giving it the prestigious “Winery of Distinction” designation.
At the The North West Wine Summit in Port Hood, Oregon Gold Medals: Raspberry Fruit Wine, Raspberry Dessert Wine, Black Currant Dessert Wine. Black Currant Dessert Wine winning Best of Class at the North West Wine Summit
Field Stone currently produces about 25,000 bottles of fruit wine and about 6000 bottles of dessert wine each year.
Elaine's sister Lorraine and her husband Glen Ellingson became partners in the business Bumbleberry Orchards Ltd. Marvin's bother Lynden is also a partner.