Cave Spring Cellars Becomes Ontario’s First Certified Sustainable Winery
3836 Main Street, Jordan ON, Friday, June 24, 2016 – In recognition of its efforts in environmentally friendly winemaking, Cave Spring Cellars has been named Ontario’s first certified sustainable winery by Sustainable Winemaking Ontario (SWO). This externally audited programme was developed by the Wine Council of Ontario (WCO) in order to assist the wine industry in implementing environmental best practices by wine producers across the province. SWO is a voluntary program that enjoys broad participation by the province’s winemakers, benefiting consumers as they search for products produced in an environmentally sustainable way. The sustainable winemaking certification for Cave Spring Cellars for the time being covers winery operations, with the vineyard certification expected shortly.
In large part the initiative at Cave Spring has been spearheaded by Dave Hooper, the winery’s Operations Manager. Recognized by his peers as an expert in the area of water conservation, Hooper recently spoke at the Canadian Water Summit in Toronto on June 23rd. Starting in 2012, Dave and his team examined all winemaking processes and looked for smarter, cleaner, more energy efficient methods that would reduce Cave Spring’s carbon footprint in the making of its internationally acclaimed wines.
The largest single initiative at the winery was the adaptation of a leading edge technology for wastewater treatment called the BioGill. Hooper helped to develop the system along with experts and researchers from Ontario and overseas. The BioGill system is North America’s first fully biological system for purifying winery wastewater prior to its return to the municipal water trunk. It has lowered the bio-contamination of the wastewater produced by Cave Spring by up to 98 percent. This helps the winery control water service costs and helps the community in its efforts to better manage wastewater. Other more conventional methods also contributed to a sharp drop in water use, including new flooring in the cellars to aid in quick, efficient clean up.
When planning a new grape crush pad, the impact of lighting on the environment was also a top priority. By maximizing the use of natural light and installing automatically timed LED lights both inside and outside, power usage has been kept to a minimum. Converting entirely to LED lighting and installing skylights in older parts of the winery has also led to a dramatic decrease in energy consumption. Neighbourhood light pollution was also considered, with spot lighting used to avoid unnecessary emissions.
Also of note is that Cave Spring Cellars is located in what was an abandoned winery with underground cellars dating back to 1870. By renovating an existing building, the winery has preserved a major piece of Ontario’s winemaking history, avoiding energy-intensive new construction and commercial sprawl on prime viticultural land. This choice has also significantly reduced the winery’s energy consumption by virtue of the fact that 80% of its production cellars are located underground, reducing the power needed to control temperature in the winemaking process. The temperature control of the winery’s storage warehouse is powered entirely by solar panels, with surplus energy generated returning enough power to the local grid to offset 25% of the Cave Spring’s total electricity consumption.
Audits of solid waste generation show that Cave Spring is recycling a staggering 93% of its total garbage production. This does not take into account the grape skins and stems that are composted and spread to enhance soil health in the vineyard. This initiative is helped by a company-wide commitment to recycling amongst all employees, whether in the cellar, office, wine shop or staff kitchen.
Energy audits and environmental assessments through SWO has also enabled Cave Spring to look into areas where future reductions in the winery’s overall environmental foot print can be made. The use of systems to track electricity, natural gas and water consumption allows the winery to quantify how much of these resources are used in the production of its wine. This is the first step to finding unnoticed waste in Hooper’s experience.
For more information about Cave Spring Cellars’ sustainability initiatives visit http://cavespring.ca/origins/sustainability