April 14th, 2010
“Sustainable” can mean so many things. For Missouri’s Jowler Creek Winery, sustainable means making choices throughout the year to positively impact our environment, be efficient with the resources we have available, improve wine quality to sustain our business.
“Since our family’s home is in the middle of our vineyard, and just yards away from our winery, we try and do everything we can to protect the environment and sustain our business for generations to come,” says Jowler Creek Winery owner Colleen Gerke.
Here’s just a sample of some of the sustainable business practices Jowler Creek is implementing on their operation:
In the vineyard:
• Jowler Creek maintains a small flock of Babydoll Sheep to “mow” under the Norton vines, helping reduce the use of herbicides, eliminate soil erosion, decrease dependence on fossil fuels, and improve soil health.
• Bat houses in the vineyard encourage bats to naturally manage pests and maintain biodiversity in the landscape.
• Solar power is used to electrify the fence surrounding the vineyard.
• All skins, stems, and seeds from the winemaking process are composted and spread between the vines, to provide nutrients and organic soil amendments.
• A computerized drip irrigation system enables us to conserve water and manage soil health in the vineyard.
• An eco-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program with hands-on pest monitoring is utilized to maintain quality while minimizing synthetic protocols.
In the winery:
• Oak alternatives, such as toasted staves from Missouri-based coopers, are used in lieu of barrels.
• Wines are bottled in lightweight, recycled glass bottles which use less energy to manufacture and transport.
• Wines are sealed with technical corks that are biodegradable and made from the waste of other natural corks.
• The facility is lit with fluorescent lighting, which uses 2/3 less energy.
• Marketing materials and labels are printed with soy ink on recycled paper.
• A Recycling Rewards program in conjunction with Ripple Glass is in place to encourage customers to recycle their used wine bottles.
• Platte-Clay Energy Cooperative regularly monitors energy usage, provides energy audits, and developed ways and to enhance the facility’s energy efficiency, including energy star appliances.
• Purchased grapes used to make our wines are sourced from local, family-run farms.