Ecosystem Certification

By inviting a thread of nature through our agricultural lands, we restore the wonder of wildlife into our workday, reconnect our purpose to future generations, and let nature balance the forces we cannot fully engineer.

What is it?

Ecosystem Certification for vineyards is a process to restore above and below ground native plants and animals both of which provide resilience to climate change and ecosystem services for the crop. It involves stewardship, sustainability, and nature.


The processes are

a) restoration of Native Plants (NP) within the vineyard

b) additional habitat elements essential for the recovery of Species at Risk (SAR)

c) no tilling or synthetic chemicals

d) addition of organic matter (OM) from the operation itself

e) treatments of living microorganisms “grown” from a crop-specific Biocomplete™ compost that is maintained on-site and shared between farmers

f) a spray system and application that is safe for living microorganisms


The evaluation is by a before-after-control-impact design (BACI) and measures of

a) microscope verification of diversity and ratio of microorganisms appropriate for the crop, in the compost, spray tank, emitted from the spray nozzles and in the soil post-treatment

b) soil health

c) crop health

d) diversity + behaviour of SAR

e) carbon

f) quality of the fruit juice pre-fermentation


The outcomes are

a) an increase in soil health (structure, OM, fertility)

b) increase in ecosystem services by SAR (pest management, nutrient cycling)

c) improved water health (retained moisture, clean)

d) improved crop health (resistance to disease, drought, heat)

e) improved crop quality (by chemical + sommelier analysis)

f) improved job satisfaction (replace chemical application
with wildlife monitoring, joys of nature)

g) increased carbon sequestration

What is it not?

Ecosystem Certification is more than organic farming which is still one plant (lacks diversity), more than sustainability which focuses on business, and more than regenerative agriculture because it incorporates native plants and animals (Figure 1, Table 1).

Why is certification necessary?

For vineyard managers, workers, and the public to have confidence in their effort to choose high-quality and ecosystem friendly products, the criteria must be clearly defined and verifiable.

How to get started?

Andrew Peller Limited and Synchromesh Vineyards are leading the way by devoting 1 ha of 4 vineyards to demonstrate this approach. You could put forward your vineyard for continued demonstration and/or collaborate with us. If you’re a granting organization or a philanthropist, you could help us proceed quicker.

Relative benefit of 7 management options


Relative benefit of 7 options for vineyard management, based on 9 desired outcomes.

Options include conventional agriculture, use of cover crops, no-till, organic farming, regenerative agriculture, sustainable agriculture, and ecosystem certification.

The desired outcomes are plant health, work satisfaction, product quality, environment, to mitigate the risk of climate and fire, nature, certainty, higher benefit to cost, and planning for the next human generation.

Each desired outcome was ranked between 0 and 1 and then totaled across outcomes. See Table 1 for the ranking.

Table 1


Ranking of the desired outcome by selected option for vineyard management.

The criteria for ranking are: 0 = no evidence or not true; 0.25 = weak - not science-based; 0.5 = some science but not peer-reviewed or limited effect; 0.75 = science-based but not vineyards or moderate effect; 1 = science-based for vineyards and significant effect.

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