Ontario's embrace of water conservation in winemaking
Ontario’s wine industry has grown rapidly from a promising, local curiosity to a burgeoning international presence, and the Wine Council of Ontario is working to ensure that the industry’s management of natural resources can keep pace. Utilizing the expertise of the BLOOM Centre as an enabler and facilitator, the Wine Council is turning Ontario’s wine sector into a hotbed for sustainable water innovation.
“You simply turned on a tap, and the water went down the drain, and that’s all you had to know about water management 20 years ago," said Allan Schmidt, Chairman, Wine Council of Ontario.
“We feel we have everything to gain from working with others," said Dave Hooper, Winery Operator, Cave Spring.
Informed by the Wine Council’s Sustainability Committee, an active gathering of concerned winemakers and winery operators, a variety of technology pilots and projects are underway to minimize water consumption and establish best practices in Ontario’s wine industry. Six key areas of focus have been identified, including off-site wastewater disposal and water-supply uncertainty, which are now being addressed systematically. One pilot project, conducted at Cave Spring Winery, has already led to a planned full-scale installation of BioGill, an innovative wastewater treatment technology.
In Prince Edward County, one of Ontario’s fastest growing wine-producing regions, water use baselines have been established, and two pilot projects are planned for August: well-monitoring at Broken Stone Winery, and water-use monitoring at Norman Hardie Winery.
Rainwater harvesting, real-time monitoring of wastewater composition, and a number of other methods are also being explored to determine how to use water most efficiently within a winery. An online best practices program is being developed to turn the results of these studies into learnings that any winery can apply.
More information on the work being done in Ontario’s wineries can be provided upon request, and updates will be available frequently.
“Our work with the Wine Council of Ontario is going to drive the adoption of innovative and sustainable water solutions, which will improve the competitiveness, and the future growth of Ontario’s wine industry," said Kevin Jones, CEO, BLOOM.
BLOOM acts as a bridging agency between industry and solution providers, bringing innovative and sustainable solutions to the market. They conduct pilot projects of innovative technologies, identify opportunities for improvement within facilities, and manage the transition from the status quo to efficient resource management. Past and present collaborators include the Wine Council of Ontario, the Ontario Craft Brewers, Steamwhistle, Sleeman Breweries, Waterfront Toronto, Weston Foods, Algoma, and Gay Lea Foods, among others.