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The Cellar Dweller How to sustain a winery

Anyone who has ever operated a small winery knows the answer: “Bring money.” By Gary Strachan


he fundamental element to sustain a small winery is to make it economically viable.

When I meet with a new winery wannabe, my first advice is to avoid deficit financing. Even a fully-funded startup will probably require a cash infusion in three or four years to pay for expansion and inventory buildup. Make informed operational assumptions, run the numbers. There need be no surprises. After the funding has been looked

after and you are able to get a good night's sleep, there are many ways to save energy and water, conserve, recycle, reuse, and save money. Do the easy stuff first. The Sustainable Practices Guidebook is a good place to start. The workbook will help you to identify areas that require the most attention. The guide starts with a section to

help you organize your approach, and then morphs into building design. This is followed by sections on water and wastewater management, energy efficiency, hazardous materials handling, solid waste management, and (finally) social sustainability. For those wineries who have more than just a tasting room, there is a separate hospitality workbook and guide. The self-assessments and guidebooks cover many topics, and condense your responses to a simple index, the areas of greatest impact. On the other hand, if you have an unidentified pet project that will save the environment while cutting costs, go for it. There is no pass or fail level for the workbooks (but a zero would be embarrassing). If I were to design my dream winery from scratch, and startup cash was no problem, here are some of the elements that I would

can be obtained with a CHP system. A three- phase connection to the grid is unreasonably expensive. I would serious consider a green roof. Grey water recycling is now mainstream, with off the shelf units. Water from a parking lot and other runoff can be harvested for use in flower beds or perhaps to feed the green roof. Landscaping

incorporate. It would be as energy efficient as possible, probably with a CHP (cooling, heating, power) system powered by natural gas. A hillside orientation would make the upper and lower storeys available at grade level, but I don’t think I would do it just because it would enable gravity fed processing. I would do it because the cube design is convenient and energy efficient when properly built and insulated. Three-phase power is a bonus that

should be efficient, such as xeriscape in the Okanagan, native plants in other regions. On-demand domestic hot water is

also mainstream now, as is solar hot water.

Winter low temperatures can be

used for chilling tanks, perhaps via an outdoor glycol reservoir that requires no refrigeration, especially if your tanks are too big to move when full. A small heat pump can be used for the occasional tank that requires heat

Producers of Quality

 Chardonnay  Dunkelfelder  Foch  Gamay

 Baco Noir  Cabernet Franc  Cabernet Sauvignon

 Gewurztraminer  Malbec  Marsanne  Merlot  Mourvedre  Muscat Ottonel  Orange Muscat

 Petite Verdot  Pinot Blanc  Pinot Gris  Pinot Noir  Riesling  Sauvignon Blanc  Sovereign Coronation

MORI VINES INC. CONTACT: R.R. #3, 1912 Concession 4, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0

Phone: (905) 468-0822  Fax: (905) 468-0344 email:

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Winter 2012-13

Ron Fournier, Oliver, BC

(250) 498-3350 23

 Seyval Blanc  Shiraz  Syrah  Vidal  Viognier  Zinfandel  Zweigelt

NOTE: These vines are Canadian made!Many different clones are available. Rootstocks available are Riparia, S04, 3309 and 101-14.

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