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MOBILE FROST PROTECTION Innovation 2013 $6.95

Display Until Sep.15, 2013 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40838008

Innovation Issue

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JULY 2013

Innovation Issue





Photo by Mario Piombo




Innovation 2013



Like the Good ol’ days

Vol. 54, No 4 Innovation 2013


Established in 1959

y grandfather was a builder in the 1940s, he had a very good reputation around town for building quality, constructed homes.

Publisher Lisa Olson

I remember him being very handy and innovative, as he was always fixing this and that. The jokes around the family were another story. My uncles teased him, saying he would fix anything with a piece of string, a hairpin or chewing gum.

Editor Devon Brooks Graphic Design Stephanie Symons

I think that’s because one time a kitchen tile fell off and he attached it with chewing gum. Another time it was the big box air conditioners on the wall of the grocery store; they were mounted on the alley side and kept getting knocked loose by delivery trucks. One day he came along with some string or maybe it was the hairpin. In any event, that’s how the teasing started.

Contributors Michael Botner, Devon Brooks Hans Buchler, Mike Cooper, Photo by Kim Elsasser

Kim Elsasser, Darcy Nybo,

Innovation can come in many forms. Innovative ways to fix things (now we can go online for help), or there are so many creative ways to design products and implement systems.

chef-prepared food, an abundance of wine, and educational workshops. All the while blogging to their followers and contacts about how lovely and beautiful it is in the Okanagan.

Even more creative is an experience like the Winebloggers’ Conference, recently held in Penticton. This event attracted food and wine bloggers from all over. What a fabulous way to showcase our region! Visitors (attendees) were treated to the ultimate travel experience, which combined excursions to experience the area by paddle boarding, or hiking to historic locations, while enjoying fresh,

What a great promotion for the region, the growers, wineries and B.C.

Ronda Payne Sales & Marketing Holly Thompson Circulation Orchard & Vine Magazine 1576 West Kelowna Road West Kelowna, B.C., V1Z 3H5 E-mail:

Innovation does come in many different forms and we have gathered a few for you in this issue, so gather your bobby pins, string and don’t forget your smart phone or tablets for online searches. Phone: 250-769-2123 Fax: 1-866-433-3349

Enjoy the magazine!■

Orchard & Vine Magazine is published six times a year and distributed by addressed direct mail to growers, suppliers and wineries in the Okanagan, Kootenays, Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Washington State and throughout Canada. Orchard & Vine is also available online. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40838008 Undeliverable copies should be sent to:

Providing Canadian Grapevine Solutions BRITISH COLUMBIA Frank Whitehead p. 250-762-9845 c. 250-878-3656


Innovation 2013

ONTARIO Wes Wiens/Tina Tourigny p. 905-984-4324

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Innovation 2013



Cherry Association Cracks Open Door To China Canadian cherries will be allowed into China in 2013 as part of a pilot project announced Gerry Ritz, the federal minister of agriculture. This is the first big step in six years of negotiation with China to allow B.C. cherries into the 1.35 billion strong market.

Photo by Julie Feinstein |

David Geen, VP of the BC Cherry Association, says the hang up is the stringent new regulations China has in place to prevent North American pests from getting into China. Geen says, “I don’t think it’s a trade barrier or protectionist move. It’s a hyper-cautious approach the Chinese are taking.” At the same time, he notes that the U.S. secured access to the Chinese market 15 years ago when the protocols were much less stringent. Even though Washington and B.C. share essentially the same body of insect pests B.C. is struggling with much tougher restrictions than Washington growers did. During the 2013 pilot project 35 growers who have registered to participate will be allowed to send cherries to China under the following restrictions: some cherries will be incubated by the Chinese for 25 days to see if any pests hatch, and; two Chinese inspectors will come to Canada to inspect all export shipments. Geen admits that could cause some logistical problems as two inspectors will have a hard time looking at all shipments at peak shipping times. If the pilot project uncovers no problems, says Geen, “The expectation is it’s a one

year trial and we should have a permanent protocol by 2014.” At that time Canadian inspectors would take over from the two Chinese officials. If the pilot project goes well and other growers decide they want in, they will still have to register, but there are no restrictions on how many growers can participate in the program. Geen says access to the Chinese market is worth the hoop jumping. Even though the U.S. is already entrenched he says the Chinese market is so large that it can eas-

ily absorb the extra Canadian volumes. Imported cherries are a relative luxury, he says, but estimates about one-third of Chinese families can afford them. That one-third is more than 400 million people. And, imported fruits have a caché as being healthier and better than anything grown in China. Finally, the Chinese cherry growers have a very short growing season because the monsoon season shut down operations by the end of June, just as Canadian exports are hitting their stride. ■

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Innovation 2013

Your Options, Our Promise. Winemaking represents the perfect blend of dedication, patience and a passion for detail. At TricorBraun WinePak, we share that commitment to perfection. From our state-of-the-art facility, to our unparalleled sales and customer service team—we promise quality, efficiency and ingenuity every step of the way. As an industry leader, we truly are invested in your success, which is why we are excited to announce our latest venture—WinePak Direct. A uniquely designed service that allows our customers to make all their smaller scale purchases online. As your packaging partner, we believe WinePak Direct offers your business the convenience and efficiency it needs to succeed.

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5592 Hwy 97 Oliver BC 250-498-2524 250-498-6231

Innovation 2013



Province Welcomes New Agriculture Minister

Photo courtesy of the government of British Columbia

The MLA for Peace River North, Pat Pimm, has been sworn in as B.C.’s new Minister of Agriculture. Premier Clark says the new faces in cabinet bode well for the work they will be undertaking. “My new team has the experience and the fresh perspectives that government needs, representing all regions of the province and united by a common commitment to work on behalf of every British Columbian.”

Pat Pimm was sworn in as the new Minister of Agriculture by Premier Christy Clark at Government House in Victoria.

Pimm has already said he wants to build on advantages for new market opportunities in Asia. In addition he says the Liberal government will continue its commitment to persuade British Columbians to buy local agri-food products. The minister wants to break down interprovincial

barriers so that there are new opportunities in Canada for marketing B.C. wine. Outgoing minister Norm Letnick says it is vital that all those in the agricultural sector take the time to communicate with Pimm on the most important issues. Before entering politics Pimm was the cochair of the BC Oil and Gas Conferences in 2002 and 2005, and was president of Alpha Controls Ltd., which provides construction, maintenance and electrician service. Orchard & Vine would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Pimm on his appointment and wish him good luck in his endeavours in a challenging portfolio. ■

BC Tree Fruits Good-to-Go goes to Cancer Research

This year’s campaign asked entrants to show how BC Tree Fruits was “good to go.” The winner of the campaign re-

ceived $2,000 while another two grand was awarded to a charity, which for 2013 is the BC Cancer Foundation. BC Tree Fruits say Vu Nguyen received the greatest number of votes from 135,000 people who looked and voted online. Runner‐up entries in the contest, Kathleen McGiveron and Sian-Hoe Cheong, each received a $200 retail gift card. BC Tree Fruits says it is already planning for Apple Month 2014 and a new contest. ■

Photo Contributed

As part of its new efforts to connect with consumers, BC Tree Fruits has instituted an annual campaign that rewards those who make entries for a fun contest. In addition to the prize for the contestant, an equal amount is awarded to a charity. The winner was chosen online with votes from viewers for the best photo illustrating this year’s theme.

Vu Nguyen holds the cheque for the BC Cancer Foundation with a foundation representative (centre) and BC Tree Fruits’ Chris Pollock.

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Grapegrower Get Together

The makers of Nature’s Intent Calpril® and Nature’s Intent Dolopril® introduce 3 new Organic products!

Join the celebration of grape growers and grape growing in British Columbia! The BC Grapegrowers’ Association invites all industry members (growers, wine makers, suppliers, writers) to its second annual Celebration of Harvest on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Thee Vineglass Vineyard in Cawston, BC.


It’s a time to honour grape growers and their successes and recognize their importance in our industry -- plus have a great evening in the process. We’re planning all sorts of fun for the evening – dinner, live music, dancing, fabulous door prizes, stories, wine, and much more! The BC Grapegrowers’ Association was officially registered as a non-profit society back in 1961 by a group of growers who had a vision for our industry and saw a need for a grassroots organisation to represent grape producers in British Columbia on agricultural issues and concerns. With a current membership of over 240 growers, we work with other industry organizations, with provincial and federal agricultural organizations and all levels of government to represent, promote and advance the interests of grape growers in British Columbia. Some highlights of activities today include the management of the Okanagan Similkameen Starling Control Program, workshops and our annual grower day, regular newsletters and updates to our members, an active fresh market grapes committee that oversees the table grape production, and a multitude of other activities. If you’re in the grape industry in any way, you’re not only invited to the Celebration of Harvest in September, but also to become a member or associate member of the BCGA. Please have a look at our website at for more details about us and how to join our growing and vibrant association! For more information please call our office 877-762-4652. ■

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Innovation 2013 11


B.C. Raspberries – Looking Forward to Higher Prices 2013 Things are looking up for 2013 with the push for a national promotional council and optimism for better weather and market pricing, despite the disappointing 2012 raspberry season. “Things look good for this year so far,” says David Mutz, Raspberry Growers Association president. According to Jesse Brar of Pacific Coast Fruit in Abbotsford, with inventories of 2012 fruit now sold out, there is an expectation of better pricing for 2013 berries.

The national council, which is the brainchild of the association, is moving ahead quickly. The 70% vote in favour of forming a red raspberry national council conducted earlier this year at the 2013 Pacific Agriculture Show was a positive step. The Farm Products Council of Canada (FPCC) has agreed to move forward with the association’s proposal and was expected to hold a pre-hearing conference on June 11 to determine future steps and requirements.

“We, at the (association) board are pleased,” notes Sharmin Gamiet, executive director for the Raspberry Growers Association. Opportunities for stakeholders to give their opinions and ask questions will be permitted at sittings held in Ottawa and Abbotsford in October and November. Following the sittings, the panel will make recommendations to the FPCC. The council will then provide a recommendation to the agriculture minister. ■

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Wind Machines

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Outsmart Jack Frost with an Orchard-Rite® wind machine. 12 Innovation 2013


Photo by Ben Goode |

Weather Challenges

What will climate change mean to agriculture? A new report by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Strengthening BC’s Agriculture Sector in the Face of Climate Change, outlines what will happen in the future. “The science to date is unequivocal: B.C.’s climate is changing and getting warmer, and this is occurring faster than most climate models and projections have indicated to date.” The report, by Erica Crawford and Rachelle Beveridge, spends several pages outlining the challenges facing farmers in B.C. today, and suggests climate change could be so extreme that unless government, agricultural institutions and farmers push hard for changes now, the increased volatility of the weather could push costs beyond the point of sustainability. “The overriding picture that emerges from this research is of an agriculture sector that has a great capacity for innovation and resilience, but its capacity is being strained by mounting pressures. This will only increase as the projected changes in B.C.’s climate come to bear.” Unfortunately the weather changes don’t mean that farmers must adapt to hotter weather, but many more extreme variations. Crawford and Beveridge write: “The projections do not suggest single-direction shifts. In most cases both wet and dry extremes can be anticipated, and few crop varieties can tolerate the entire range of extremes.” The pair spend three pages outlining support and action that could help alleviate these dangers. The full report may be downloaded at: ■

enhance competitiveness and sustainability Since 1997, we’ve pledged over $8 million for projects led by British Columbia’s tree fruit, berry, grape and wine sectors. We’re proud to have assisted producers in carrying out projects ranging from pest and disease management, food safety and sustainable winegrowing programs, to testing the suitability of new growing regions and the feasibility of new value added opportunities. You can count on our support to assist you in finding innovative solutions that address the issues and opportunities your sectors are facing.

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Innovation 2013 13


Government Innovations: A New Research Facility Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz welcomed the official opening of a new $10 million state-of-the-art greenhouse facility at the Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre (SCPFRC). Canadian farmers stand to benefit from research focused on improving crop quality, productivity, and disease and insect resistance, to be done at a newly constructed greenhouse.

The SCPFRC, part of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada's (AAFC) national network of research centres, conducts research on integrated pest management, bio-based products and processes, genomics and biotechnology, and soil and water quality. The new facility will triple the Centre's greenhouse capacity. "The Centre has a long tradition of working with producers and building strong relationships with industry. Research done here will continue to lead to new technologies and better agricultural practices for farmers," said Minister Ritz. "It is a great example of how scientific advances can strengthen Canada's position in new and existing markets." Work undertaken in the new greenhouse will help researchers identify fruit tree germplasm resistant to the plum pox vi-

rus, reduce the reliance of cereal grain crops on commercial nitrogen fertilizer, use protein-trafficking technologies to develop plant-based animal vaccines as an alternative to antibiotics, improve the nutritional quality of dry beans, and develop higher-yielding, higher-quality alfalfa cultivars for the dairy and cattle industry. Collaborating in these efforts are the University of Guelph, Western University, the Ontario Bean Producers' Marketing Board, and the Grain Farmers of Ontario, among others. ■

Photos courtesy of Agri-Food Canada

"By investing in research, we are investing in Canada's competitiveness and growth," said Minister Gerry Ritz. "The results of the research conducted in this new facility will bring long-term benefits to Canadian farmers, industry, and the economy."

For more information please visit


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FRUIT, WINE & BEER SUPPLIES 14 Innovation 2013

Custom Crush Township 7 Vineyards and Winery has been providing affordable custom crush services successfully for 4 years. Ask about our host of premium wine production services and customize to your needs: We offer: ■ Equipment and facility to support both red and white wine production. ■ Winemaker included or optional. ■ Flexibility, full or partial production. ■ Storage options. ■ Package sourcing and bottling options available. ■ Grape sourcing options available. Our clients have received many awards and accolades including the following in the last 2 years: ■ 2 International Best in Class ■ 15 Gold medals or 90 plus point scores.

2013 harvest is approaching fast, book your space now. Contact – Mike Raffan, Proprietor Email – 250.486.3236

Innovation 2013 15

New ideas &

INNOVATIONS There’s nothing quite like a new idea. But can you make it work? From Robots to Orange Wine. What's new for 2013 or maybe 2030.

Harsh winter regions are not friendly to blackberry production. Fumi Takeda of the USDA Agricultural Research Service says a new trellis makes productive blackberries possible in temperatures as cold as -25°C. The laterally trained primocanes are tied to the trellis wires, then the cross arm is rotated below horizontal. This positions canes closer to the ground, allowing for effective cover protection over-winter. In early spring the covers are removed, but canes are left horizontal to force blooms to grow upright. When the cross-arm is rotated above vertical, all fruit is on one side, for more efficient harvesting. The trellis is in use in about 30 states and some farmers have more than 10 acres planted using it. For more information about this innovative method of growing blackberries, look online at

16 Innovation 2013

Photo by Olga Popova |

Blackberries Below Zero

Enhanced Extraction Phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in many plants. Science expects to find more than 10,000 of them. Most antioxidants are phytochemicals. Lycopene, from tomatoes, is said to have cancer fighting benefits. Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, apples and cherries carry these beneficial phytochemicals, but getting enough fruit to maximize the benefit can be difficult. Extracting and concentrating these compounds from fruits and vegetables has relied on various chemical extraction methods, but Dr. Giuseppe Mazza, a retired researcher from the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, has invented a process that uses temperature and pressure controlled water.

Mobile Wind Machine

Mazza’s startup company, Mazza Innovation, has received $475,000 in investments from the federal government through its Agricultural Innovation Program and the GreenAngel Energy Corp. investment company.

Fixed wind machines are the standard in orchards and vineyards, but there is a growing call for portable wind machines. Orchard-Rite’s contribution is the towable tilt wind machine, which is now designed so that an experienced person, on their own, can deliver and set up a portable wind machine in 20 minutes. The tower is so well counter balanced that one person can easily raise the 1,900 kg (4,200 lb.) tower and blade by hand.

Mobile machines are gaining in popularity with blueberry and strawberry owners. In blueberry fields they not only disperse cold pockets, but dry the crop so it can be harvested sooner. They are also useful in fighting against mold or diseases that thrive in wet conditions. The units are also popular where the plantings are not fixed and move around from year to year.

Zero Carbon Footprint Nomacorc, the world’s largest producer of non-cork wine closures, has produced a zero-carbon footprint wine closure, made of plant-based polymers derived from sugar cane, which is 100% recyclable.

Photo by Bendicks |

Company scientist Dr. Olav Aagaard puts the new product’s sustainability credentials and utility on display, saying, “When evaluating a closure’s carbon footprint, its susceptibility to spoiling wine and the environmental impact of end-of-life disposal, Select Bio is clearly the only solution that fully addresses all three aspects of the closure’s life cycle.” The Select Bio series are undergoing bottling trials with some customers, but the company expects they will be fully available on a commercial basis as of 2014.

To read about these products and others in more detail visit us online at:

Innovation 2013 17

…more 2013 IDEAS Picking Robots? Automation is coming to orchards and vineyards; although it will still be a couple of years yet. Vision Robotics Corporation out of California is working on a vine pruner, an apple “scout” and other agricultural devices like a lettuce thinner. The apple scout assesses crop load. Tony Koselka, one of Vision Robotics’ founders, explains, “The apple project got pretty far and works well for the most aggressively trained orchards. In short, it does an excellent job of identifying the apples it sees, even green apples.” The problem is fruit hidden by leaves, branches or the trunk. Development of the apple scout was begun using investment money from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, but that money is exhausted and further developments are on hold. More advanced is the grape vine pruner. Inside the totally automated device two robotic arms user lasers to measure and gauge where to prune the vines. According to Koselka, “We anticipate performing some real pruning next winter and have true beta units in the field with growers the following year.” For more information go to

Portable Protection Now there is a professional grade frost protector to use in smaller areas like a vegetable garden susceptible to frost pockets. Why is the Hot Spotter so great? It's designed for pesky little areas that get frosted regularly, but are too small for large, expensive devices. Specifically made for cold pockets less than a quarter acre in size, at 29” high and only 80lbs the Hot Spotter is convenient and easy to move around and economical. Set up is easy: just place it, plug it in, and turn it on.

To read about these products and others in more detail visit us online at: 18 Innovation 2013

& INNOVATIONS Celebrating Orange Wine! Orange wine is not what you think: a fruit wine made by fermenting orange juice or a sweet white wine macerated with orange peel. Nor should it be confused with rosé, pink wine produced from red grapes with the skins removed soon after contact. The name has been coined to describe orange or copper-tinged white wines that range in colour from salmon pink to tawny. Using white grape varieties, orange wine is made by leaving the juice in contact with the grape skins, seeds and stems to macerate with freshly crushed juice for a prolonged period. The resulting wine contains more colour pigment, phenols and tannins giving the wine its colour, flavour and texture. Unconventional by modern standards, which emphasizes removing the solids quickly, orange wines have taken such trendsetting markets as San Francisco and New York by storm, and wine aficionados and fashionable restaurants cannot get enough of them.

Italy's Newest Filter

'Pheasant’s Tears’ is an “orange,” or amber, wine from Georgia using both new and yet very, very traditional methods in production.

The MicroFlex direct-flow filter, designed by Diemme Enologia in Lugo, Italy, was tested at Quail’s Gate Winery in West Kelowna on a Marechal Foch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Quail Gate’s George Oake says, “The Microflex allows me to filter our wines in a gentle and thorough manner from 42 NTUs down to 0.4 NTUs; ready for bottle in one pass without stripping color, flavour or aroma.” The Microflex filter comes in three sizes, based on the number of membrane cartridges used in the low pressure, oxygen-free, closed system. The smallest filter utilizes 12 filters, with a rated span of 2.4 million litres. The 24 and 48 cartridge systems are rated for 4.8 and 9.6 million litres, which works out to a filter media cost of a quarter penny per litre. According to Cellar-Tek, the Canadian distributor: “The low operating pressure differential allows high flow rates with virtually no stress or heat gain to wine whatsoever. There are also no perceptible changes to the wine’s organoleptic qualities immediately after filtration. This is virtually unheard of in conventional filtration.”

Innovation 2013 19

…more 2013 INNOVATIONS The Z-Trap By the time insect pests are noted and recognized they may well have compromised a proportion, or perhaps all of a crop. A U.S.-based startup, Spensa Technologies, has developed the Z-Trap to monitor insect populations. This machine traps and then identifies insects and sends the information wirelessly to a farmer’s mobile phone or computer. The CEO of Spensa, Johnny Park, says, “The main goal is to reduce the amount of pesticide applications by providing precise information as to when, where and how much pesticide should be applied while keeping pest damage to a minimum.”

Into the Blackboxx of E-commerce As wineries proliferate one way to stand out is through an effective wine club. Blackboxx, a product of BlackSquare Inc., helps wineries create a comprehensive web-based experience focus on effective wine clubs.

The Z-Trap already works, but the company is using recently received research money to develop a new multi-sensor system to improve classification of multiple pest species and to improve the energy efficiency of the unit.

Judy Bishop, the chief marketing officer for BlackSquare says the biggest profits come from recurring shipments to people who feel connected to a winery’s products. A wine club establishes that ongoing connection to the customer with lower overhead. Recurring shipments from wine clubs, BlackSquare estimates, provide from 50 to 70% of online revenue. Bishop says the Blackboxx design and costs are structured so that a winery of any size can take create a club. “We developed Blackboxx to deliver a low stress way of selling online.”

Come Fly with Me Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) allow farmers to know more about what is happening on their lands and why. Mike Morellato, with West Coast Geospatial, is a big booster of UAV technology. He says UAVs can pinpoint problems because of their remarkable resolution. Too much water or too little, insect infestations and other stresses are reflected in the plant canopy. Near Infrared Imagery or NIR cameras will show the differences in the canopy and colorize them. With experience and help from staff at a company like West Coast Geospatial, farmers will be able to quickly realize what is happening with their crop. He also says this technology is well advanced and in common use in may other agricultural zones, but has only been recently introduced to British Columbia. To read about these products and others in more detail visit us online at: 20 Innovation 2013

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For over four decades, Thunderbird Plastics Ltd. has provided the highest quality injection-molded handling solutions to the agricultural industry. Berry flats, blueberry lugs, fruit/ vegetable boxes and agricultural containers made with the finest materials and available at very affordable pricing.

Providing bottling for runs ranging from a few hundred cases to the thousands.

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Innovation 2013 21

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10 ACRES RUTLAND NORTH Country Estate on beautiful flat hay land. Suitable for organic vegetable farming. Substantially renovated home, 4 bedrooms + den, 2 fireplaces, large kitchen. Large 40 x 50 ft detached garage+ 1 bedroom guest house. Seller will consider smaller property trades. $1,595,000 MLSr 1006 3439

Photos by Sara Dent

Finding a Way for Young Farmers

Arzeena Hamir, owner of Amara Farm on Vancouver Island near Courtenay, hosted a Young Agrarians event there to introduce young would-be farmers to the reality of farm work.

By Darcy Nybo Some people say young people have no dedication or work ethic. They obviously haven’t met the youth who want into farming, but don’t know how to get their fingers in the dirt in the face of rising land costs coupled with stiff competition from subsidized markets. Young Agrarians are trying to help. “We want to get more young people involved in farming and getting into agriculture in whatever way interests them. You need to try it out to see if it is something you want to do,” says Sara Dent. “It is not an easy career path.” Actually, there are plenty of young people out there who would love to be farmers – they’re just looking for a way to get in. Dent is one of them. She’s young, passionate about life, and loves working the land. As a photogra

We want to get more young people involved in farming and getting into agriculture in whatever way interests them… It is not an easy career path. Sara Dent pher, she finds art in every living thing. After years of travelling around to different farms and connecting with farmers, Sara is now the coordinator for the Young Agrarians, in partnership with FarmFolk CityFolk. She explains how the group came about. “A few years ago, I met Seann Dory, the co-founder of SOLEfood Street Farms. He and Michael Ableman turned a halfacre parking lot on Hastings and Hawks

streets on the downtown east-side of Vancouver into a portable farm.” Dent, Dory and others were becoming big fans of a group called The Greenhorns, a non-traditional grassroots nonprofit organization made up of young farmers and collaborators in the United States. “They’ve worked extensively with the National Young Farmers Coalition, which has a bill in the senate to advocate for new entrants into agriculture,” exInnovation 2013 23

Young Agrarians gather for a photo at their first wildly successful conference at Summerhill Winery in Kelowna.

plains Dent. “Seann was so excited about them and what they were doing, he wrote a proposal to the National Farm Union Youth Network. It was presented in the spring of 2011 and they were excited about the idea of the Young Agrarians; we just didn’t know how to make it happen.” By September of 2011, they had a much better idea. Dent, well known for her fundraising efforts, pitched the project to her business network and found people to help. By January of 2012, Young Agrarians was official. Dent wrote several successful grant applications and now has switched the majority of her time and effort to the growth and success of the group. “I was a bit bummed at first, because I wasn’t farming any more, but I call this digital farming.” The Young Agrarians are very much a digital community. Most of their networking and support is done online. They have online and offline communitybuilding projects where young farmers can network. “In the online sphere, it is a media presence for the young ecological farm movement,” says Dent. “Offline, we have an ongoing series of potlucks where people meet on each others farms and do skill shares and work bees. Sometimes there is music and as the warmer months roll around people can show up and camp on a farm.” They did their first young farmer mixer in January 2013 at Summerhill Winery in Kelowna. “We had people there for two days and had workshops on land access 24 Innovation 2013

and marketing,” says Dent. “We had a First Nations story teller come and tell us traditional stories. We did some open conference stuff. It was an experiment for us; the first time we’d pulled people together in this way.” In the few short months since that first mixer, the organization has grown and gained strength. “The most active chapter right now in B.C. is in the Okanagan,” she says. “What’s important is that the farmers are now starting to make their own events and tying it together in the same communication platform online.” The group is much more than an excuse to meet other young farmers. They’ve embraced high tech to make life a little easier for today’s farmers. “One of our first projects is an interactive resource map,” explains Dent. “It’s a map of B.C. and it has a number of categories and subcategories of listings. For example if you wanted to look for education programs, click on education and it will show you what is available. The same goes for land access, bank loans, and grants. Eventually we will map out where the young farmers are in our network. We have 11 different categories we are mapping at the moment.” In addition, they will be releasing a land access guide and will organize a handful of land dating events. “Land dating is like speed dating,” laughs Dent. “We find older farmers looking for younger farmers to take over their operations and others who are interested in having someone else farm their land. We con-

These members of the Young Agrarians of the Southern Interior belong to the most active chapter in British Columbia.

nect them up and provide some structural resources, like succession planning models. We give young farmers information on what they need to look for with regards to lease agreements. We show them the legal things they need to be aware of, and we do it in a fun format.” The group is currently going through the process of being branded by a design company. When all is said and done, no matter what their tagline or design becomes, the role of the Young Agrarians is simple, but challenging. Dent, with the help of Seann Dory and the rest of the Young Agrarians, are growing an organization that can’t ensure success for B.C.’s young farmers, but at least it will give them a fighting chance. ■

Photos by Mario Piombo

INNOVATIVE PROCESS TO REUSE YOUR BARRELS Mathew Kenny applying a new head to a restored barrel.

By Darcy Nybo In bygone days, when a wine barrel was past its prime, it usually ended up being cut in half and sitting in someone’s yard as a planter. Now those barrels can be restored using a technology known as Phoenix, developed by Diverse Barrel Solutions, an Australian company. Founder and president of the California company Winesecrets, Eric Dahlberg was looking at various ways to restore wine

We put about 300 barrels (back) into service in 2012, and many of the customers who tried those barrels then are back for more with the 2013 harvest almost upon us. Eric Dahlberg

Innovation 2013 25

Photos by Mario Piombo

Restored barrels in the Winesecrets facility in California.

barrels and was considering using high powered sonic technology. He called New Zealand-based Vintech Pacific, which told him about Phoenix Barrel.

around to the wineries that had received the barrels and tasted some of the wines being made in them. I knew right away that this technology was a winner.”

Intrigued, Dahlberg set up a meeting with Nick Wickham, the principal of Diverse Barrel Solutions, in Adelaide, Australia. “I liked the sound of the technology and the company itself,” relates Dahlberg. “Just before Christmas of 2011 I went down to Australia to watch the Phoenix machine work.

The feedback from winemakers was unanimous: the Phoenix barrel was everything promised. With the restored barrel, winemakers found a flavour profile that seemed more developed than new oak and at the same time, it retained new barrel characteristics not seen in neutral wood. Dahlberg knew there would be a high demand for a restored barrel. In 2012, Bob Rebuschatis was appointed VP of Business Development for Phoenix Barrels, and a Phoenix system was installed at the Winesecrets facility in Sebastopol, California.

Upon seeing the system work and what it did, I knew my customers would be compelled by it. The company had handed out restored barrels (which had been previously used for Shiraz) during the summer of 2011. In early 2012 I went 26 Innovation 2013

“We immediately put it into service because the bumper year in California combined with two years of short crops and short barrel budgets had created a scarcity of quality used barrels, especially for white wine,” explains Dahlberg. “One thing that is very special about Phoenix Barrel restoration is you can take a barrel previously used for red wine and use it for white wine. There is no other method out there that does that.” The newly-cut barrel is toasted using infrared technology. This guarantees an “ultra-consistent” toasting process, with no variation or blistering of the wood. Two things happen when you put wine into a new barrel. Flavours come out of the wood as, simultaneously, the wine

soaks into the wood. Unfortunately, once a barrel has been used for a time, the flavour no longer comes out of the wood and the barrel is good for decoration only. Then there is the cost factor. A new French Oak barrel costs around $1,100. Once that barrel is past its prime wineries can sell it as a planter, or, with this system, get it restored for $450. On average, the cost to restore a barrel is a little over one-third the cost of buying a new one. “Each barrel can only be restored one time,” says Dahlberg. “You are removing six to eight millimeters of wood. You can only do it once because if you remove any more wood from the inside of the barrel it will lose structural integrity.”

The process for restoring a barrel involves toasting the newly scraped barrel with infrared technology.

Innovation 2013 27

Photos by Mario Piombo

The restored barrels can be used for white or red wine.

Even with that limitation, what the Phoenix process does for the industry is double the life span of a barrel. Whether a barrel is used once, twice, or three times in the aging process, with the Phoenix process vintners will have the use of the barrel twice as long. When the barrel arrives at the facility the heads are knocked out. Then the barrel hull is placed into a robotic mill where an arm on the robot goes down into the barrel with a laser scanner on it. It then creates a digital image of the inside of the barrel. That information is used by a robot with a high-speed router tool to resurface the inside the barrel. Afterward, new heads of seasoned French or American oak are put on the reconditioned barrels. “We put about 300 barrels into service in 2012,” says Dahlberg, “and many of the customers who tried those barrels then are back for more with the 2013 harvest almost upon us.” Dahlberg will be at the 14th Annual Enology & Viticulture Conference on July 15 and 16 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Eric Dahlberg, owner of Winesecrets and Matthew Kenny.

28 Innovation 2013

To watch the video go to and click on Phoenix Barrel Solutions.

Photo Contributed.


The Slow, Innovative Connection between Consumers & Food Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith, owners of Joy Road Catering in Penticton, organized the food at the conference.

By Devon Brooks In April Osoyoos hosted the annual Slow Food Canada National Meeting. This was the first time the national event had ever been hosted in anything but a large city. Conversely, this was the most ambitious Slow Food event ever held in Canada and arguably the most successful.

The heart of the movement connects food producers, farmers, to the general populace and local industry that could provide better, healthier food for commercial ventures and people who live here. Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart are the proprietors of Joy Road Catering in Penticton, and were organizing food for the weekend event. Smith, who has been a Slow Food fan and member for a “very, very long time” says, “Even the most successful (Slow Food events) in Canada might attract a thousand people.” Ingrid Jarrett of Watermark Resort, where the event was held,

Innovation 2013 29

farm in Summerland on June 24, a ‘Market of Taste’ event next spring and a Slow Fish event using Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) sockeye salmon sometime in 2014. The convivium (local Slow Food chapter) will organize these events, but Jarrett says Slow Food can only really succeed when the general public supports the ideas behind it. She says, “I really want to emphasize that everybody is welcome. It’s not a closed group.” At the national conference every event was sold out. The conference attracted 60 meeting delegates, 40 non-meeting delegates and 630 people to the ‘Market of Taste’ where goods from 43 different farmers and food artisans were on display. Interested foodies attending evening meals numbered 294. Italy is where the Slow Food movement started in 1989 to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and combat the divorce between urban citizens and the cultivation of food in the countryside. Photos by Allen Jones.

Slow Food today is a network of 100,000 members in 150 countries but those numbers greatly underestimate the movement’s impact.

Ingrid Jarrett was the driving force behind bringing the National Conference of Slow Food Canada to Osoyoos.

is also a Slow Food aficionado. All three believe this is more than just a conference for foodies to experience some great meals together. Smith observes, “In Europe Slow Food is working to protect (food) tradition, but in North America it is working to create tradition. I think that’s really fascinating.” The heart of the movement connects food producers, farmers, to the general populace and local industry that could provide better, healthier food for commercial ventures and people who live here.

A Terra Madre is a conference for people in the food industry, but in Europe, as was done in Osoyoos, many, MANY more people are interested than just food professionals. Smith says it attracts people from every walk of life. The Turin event had 60,000 to 70,000 people attend every day of the conference giving a total attendance of 300,000 people, three times the official worldwide Slow Food membership. Smith says kids came to the events on school buses along with home makers and professionals of every kind. The Osoyoos event made use of its rural setting, taking delegates out to meet farmers and local producers. Ewart notes, “They wanted to hear about events on the farm. They’re a lot more interested in their food.”

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The national conference might be over, but Jarrett is already working on the return of Slow Food events, like a Terra Madre Day on September 10, a Slow Food gathering at Valentine’s

Smith and Ewart were the official representatives of the Thompson-Okanagan Convivium at the Terra Madre conference held in Turin, Italy last year.

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Hors d’oeuvres served on a board while on one of the field trips for delegates.

Table setting for delegates to the Slow Food conference.

Another event, sometimes held separately, but held simultaneously on this occasion is known as a Salone del Gusto. A Salone del Gusto constitutes the public events that everyone can enjoy and resembles a trade show.

and even people at Thompson Rivers University. We’d never met them and there are so many great things that they’re doing.” As well known as Ewart and Smith are in the Okanagan food industry, she says they still met local producers they didn’t know. “We get our fish through Jon (Crofts) through Codfathers (Seafood Market in Kelowna), but we’d never met Ted’s Trout (a small, family-run trout farming operation near Kamloops run by Ted and Maureen Brown - or knew about ONA salmon. They have their own seiner. It’s definitely a product we’re going to use again.”

The Canadian Terra Madre brought in Slow Food members and food professionals, but Ewart thinks the most significant events were the ones that connected the public and different food professionals with one another. The ‘Market of Taste’ was an outdoor event open to everyone. While the market was running, Ewart says, “I just walked up and down the street introducing people, between chefs and farmers who didn’t know each other. It really resonated.”

Smith agrees. “A lot of farmers didn’t look on it as (important for) direct sales that day, but as about connections. I think it

She adds, “It helped us build a network of farmers and chefs

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One of the vendors at the ‘Market of Taste’ where farmers connected with chefs looking for local produce suppliers.

was important for the farmer to realize that a lot of chefs want to have those connections. We need to concentrate on forming a network for a food delivery system from the north end of the valley to the south.” Osoyoos Band Chief Clarence Louie was a guest speaker at the event. The Osoyoos Band is part of the ONA and reconnecting First Nations' food traditions into local cuisine may be the perfect symbol for the Slow Food movement. Successful as the event was, it’s over and done now and the question is whether this will make any difference in helping the farm community. Smith believes this is something to build on. “There is no reason for there not to be a Slow Food event every year. It was fantastic to have it here. It was really good that we could pull something off like that.” Jarrett adds, “The consumer today wants to reconnect and celebrate the flavours and sharing of time and meals with friends and family.” ■

32 Innovation 2013

Photos contributed.

Innovations in Wine – Battling the Sulfite Blues

These grapes contribute to the greenest, most environmentally friendly, and now headache-reduced wines in British Columbia.

Organic winemaking has come a long way. For those who enjoy a glass or two, the modern practices are being investigated to improve the ancient beverage are welcome advancements. At Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, winemaker and viticulturist Eric von Krosigk, was experiencing symptoms many wine drinkers encounter, but perhaps chalk up to “bad wine” or “one glass too many.” “I noticed I was becoming a little more sensitive to sulphur,” von Krosigk notes. “This is my thirtieth year in winemaking and I’m more motivated by my own pure interest, but certainly there is a market there (for sulfite-free wine).” Sulphur can combine with many different elements and compounds. When it is by itself it is the element sulphur, but

when mixed with other elements or compounds they collectively are known as sulfites. So that nasty headache, congestion, red cheeks or other symptoms may be due more to sulfites than anything else. The problem isn’t necessarily “one too many,” but one too many with sulphur. Sulphur dioxide is added to wine as a preservative to prevent bacterial spoilage. Debates about sulfites rage on, but Health Canada states sulfites are among the top 10 priority food allergies. How much is too much is a personal thing: those with asthma and anaphylactic issues are at the greatest risk, while others may simply experience a hangover sensation. For that reason, regulations are somewhat vague. Wine containing more than 10 mg per litre of sulphur dioxide must be labeled as “containing sulfites.” Un

Photo by Kevin Trowbridge

By Ronda Payne

Summerhill Pyramid Winery winemaker and viticulturist Eric von Krosigk. Innovation 2013 33

Summerhill Winery founder Stephen Cipes stands next to the nitrogen tanks the winery is using to reduce sulphur dioxide inputs and the headaches some wine drinkers suffer due to sulfites.

fortunately, there is no way of knowing how much the vintner has used beyond the 10 mg/L. Interestingly, the World Health Organization suggests a maximum daily intake of 0.7 mg of sulphur dioxide per kilo of body weight. Given that the average Canadian woman weighs 66 kg (145 lb.), at 10 mg/L it means the average ‘she’ could consume 4.6 litres of wine before going over the WHO limits. At that rate alcoholism will become a problem long before sulphur dioxide intake does, but this is misleading since the sulphur dioxide levels could be 10mg/l or 200 mg/l. At the high end, instead of 4.6 litres of wine, the average woman would go over the maximum suggested amount at 0.23 litres of wine, which is approximately eight ounces. “The vineyard (at Summerhill) has been organic for a very long time,” comments von Krosigk. “Right now we make about 28 different wines – reds, whites, sparkling and desserts.” All the Summerhill grapes are from B.C. and are organic except one varietal. Summerhill began organic practices in 1988, with organic grape certification be34 Innovation 2013

ing achieved in 1995 and organic winemaking certification in 2007. Don’t think organic wine means an absence of sulphur. For the most part, it doesn’t. There is wine made with organic grapes, then there is organic wine – meaning the majority of the ingredients (including, but not limited to the grapes) are organic, then there are organic processes for bottling. “We researched a lot of systems,” says von Krosigk. “Nitrogen was used years ago, but fell out of favour to other gases.” Including the now pervasive sulphur dioxide. Through a program funded in part by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia, Summerhill, already the largest organic winemaker in Canada, is taking organic wine making further by incorporating a nitrogen generator into the processing. Summerhill’s 2012 harvest has been bottled with little to no added sulphur dioxide. Sulphur is used in the wine making process to “bind up” the oxygen, according to von Krosigk. There is always a tank that is only partially filled with wine, therefore more oxygen than desired

makes up the balance of the tank. Oxygen is necessary for bacteria to grow, and in certain temperature ranges bacteria grows even faster.


The solution was to fill the non-wine occupied section of the tank with nitrogen to displace the oxygen. Replacing oxygen with nitrogen prevents bacterial growth, regardless of temperature, so using nitrogen can reduce or eliminate the sulphur content and climate control becomes unnecessary, thereby saving energy. “We came up with this nitrogen system and modified it to our own use,” said von Krosigk. “We take it right out of the air and pump it into the tanks at one PSI. Just enough to push out all the oxygen.” Of course, the taste of the wine still holds the cards, so to speak, and while Summerhill will make wine without sulphur wherever possible, the odd case may require small amounts. Plumbing nitrogen directly into the tanks and applying constant low pressure is, as far as von Krosigk knows, a first for a B.C. winery. He is hoping that proving the nitrogen generation system will benefit all winemaking, organic and conventional. In addition, it will improve the enjoyment for those who have a sulfite sensitivity.

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“Right now, it’s doing exactly what we’d hoped it would,” von Krosigk says of the nitrogen system. “Plus it’s not out of reach as far as costs.” Early results of the three year study are promising. “It creates wine with a longer shelf life that is brighter, fresher,” he notes. Research and experiences from the testing will be posted on the Summerhill blog at, as well as in a report that will be shared with the industry soon. Research results so far have already been chronicled on the Summerhill blog. Von Krosigk says everything from the process will be documented, from research to itemization, procedures to suppliers. “It will be a very transparent process and transferable,” he comments. The whole industry must benefit.” ■


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Innovation 2013 35

2013 Wine Bloggers Conference – Bloggers Help Promote t

Excursion lesson on cooperage at Road 13.(top left)

By Michael Botner Bloggers and would-be bloggers turned out in force for the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton held in June. While the conference was aimed at bloggers already immersed in the industry, the conference revealed a lot of important information for others involved in different aspects of the wine industry. For the region, it showcased the Okanagan, B.C. our food and our wine. Other wines and regions were also presented, from Ontario, Uruguay, Greece, and South Africa. What those in the wine industry need to know, if they don’t already, is that blogging is increasingly important for disseminating information. Visiting bloggers should be treated with the same level of respect as any other visiting media. After all, many bloggers also write for established and national magazines, as well as social media. Others are consultants, winemakers or foodies. There were many events, sessions and 36 Innovation 2013

excursions. One event, ‘Live Wine Blogging’ allowed each winery five minutes to pour, tell their story, and describe the wine. For bloggers it was a frantic experience to sip, savour and blog in their social media of choice. Here’s the interesting part about this event. If 250 bloggers use Twitter to comment on 10 different wines to 2,000 of their followers (2013 survey results estimate the average blogger has 3,000 followers) that means 5 million mentions went out in the one-hour session (250 x 10 = 2,500 tweets x 2,000 followers). Multiply that by a three-day conference and add in photos and videos posted on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and the official blog entries. That’s a lot of coverage, just think of the spin-off.

How to Blog For those in the industry who are thinking of setting up their own blog, having a plan, or clear goals is highly recommended. Whether an independent writer, win-

Pre-dinner wine tasting and outdoor meal preparation of Paella by Jeff Van Geest, Executive Chef Tinhorn Winery.

Photos by Lisa Olson

Photo by Mark Hryciw |

the Industry

Photo by Michael Botner

Tasting, listening closely and then blogging quickly during the 5 minute speed wineblogging presentation. Check out twitter at #WBC13.

Native Dancing at Spirit Ridge Vineyard.

Roger Wong, from Intrigue Wines presenting his wine during the speed wine blogging event.

Dan Sullivan, winemaker at Rose Hall Run Vineyards in Ontario, shows off wine served at the Wine Country Ontario lunch . Innovation 2013 37

ery insider or a hired consultant, you must take a professional approach to writing. Telling a story should be emphasized over simply providing technical details. As well, people distrust “lazy writing” shown by mistakes in grammar and spelling, as well as content that lacks a genuine ring. While it takes a couple of years to build up an audience, wine bloggers are in the enviable position of being able to start a conversation with their readers and viewers. The tone of their experience at a winery will set the tone for how they describe it to their viewers.

The Wine Bloggers Conference Approximately 250 attended the annual event from across North America, about 25% hailed from B.C. Representing various facets of the wine industry from independent wine writers and authors to winemakers, owners, PR folks and marketing consultants.

Photo by Michael Botner

Given the proliferation of tools for blogging, publishing online content is easier than ever. For some, blogging means creating a free, self-hosted domain, others may be blogging for national publications; or it might mean social networking on Twitter or Facebook, known as “micro-blogging.” The next Winebloggers Conference will be held July 11-13 in Santa Barbara Country, California. For more information visit

Noted wine author James Conaway gave the keynote address at the conference.

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Where the bloggers are Noted wine author James Conaway, presented the keynote address highlighting the results of the 2013 State of Wine Blogging On-Line Survey & Report. Of 258 respondents here are some of the results: ■8% were Canadian (while 58% are American and 25% European) ■62% were male and 38% female ■When asked: “Why do you blog?” 82.4% responded, “Wine is my passion.” ■63% reported some professional association with wine, food or writing ■ The wine industry comes in fifth for blog content at 65.7%, after wine reviews, wine stories, travel stories and wine and food pairing. ■The results also show more people look at food blogs than wine blogs. The top four social media platforms that wine bloggers find are the most effective are Facebook, Twitter followed by Google+ and LinkedIn. Twitter 83.7%, Facebook 74.7%, Pinterest 27.2%, Google+ 26.6%, LinkedIn 36.7%, Youtube 15%. Left out of the 2013 Survey were Instagram and Flickr.

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Despite a soggy start to the season, Mother Nature eventually came through making August and September perfect for grape growers. In the Okanagan, picking started in the south in early September.

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Innovation 2013 39

Planting Seeds for New B.C. Wine Region results are now available online (www. to help interested grape growers successfully plant in the Lytton-Lillooet area.

While the number of wineries in the province grows annually, the local wine grape supply has halted given the decreased availability of suitable land coupled with increasing property prices in popular wine-producing regions.

According to project leader Christ’l Roshard, the reports are enjoying extensive use. Photo by Deyan Georgiev |

Lytton-Lillooet could soon join the ranks of the Okanagan and Cowichan valleys as a destination in BC’s roster of mustvisit wine regions.

In pursuit of available and affordable land, the BC Grapegrowers’ Association identified the Lytton-Lillooet area as an alternative region to begin planting wine grapes. The only question that remained was: will the grapes actually grow? They soon discovered they were not the first to consider wine grape production in the region; in fact, experimental vines were established as early as 1965. Building upon more recent research of experimental plantings, the association

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“Prospective growers, as well as grape industry investors seeking winery sites, are able to access and capitalize on these resources,” says Roshard. “Some vineyards – such as Fort Berens Estate Winery – have even been established thanks to this project.” This project was funded by the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) through former federal adaptation programming. IAF is a not-for-profit organization that manages and distributes federal and provincial funds in support of innovative projects to benefit the agriculture and food industries in British Columbia.

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Time to get Mobile and Responsive Okay, glass in hand? Let’s get down to it and see how this affects you. I am not going to suggest by going mobile your business is going to double in revenue overnight. However, I am confident that sales will increase if it is designed to properly help market your company. I am also willing to say I am 100% confident your sales will decrease if you don’t embrace what is happening. This is not a temporary trend.

Getting back to trends of the industry, I am sure you’re getting tired of hearing you need to pay out for a mobile version of your website, or move to a responsive design for mobile browsers. I am happy to say that you’re not alone!


o you remember a time, about ten years ago, when having a website was a trendy thing? There was no proof a website would increase sales. Companies were either guessing it would help or wanted to be one of the elite in their industry and say “Check us out, we have a website!” That time has passed. Having a website has become mandatory in just about every market place, including the fruit and wine industry. Websites and online marketing have proven to be the sales force of many companies. Unlike radio, phone books, brochures and other traditional advertising methods, with online marketing we get to see all the statistics or analytics of our marketing in accurate real time. If the numbers are not working, we get to tweak it until it works and sales increase.

I will also say now is not the time to lock yourself in the cellar, drink a glass of wine and hope the problem goes away. The truth is, it is expected that there will be more tablets sold than PCs this year, and there are more smart phones sold in a 24hour period than babies being born around the world. Take a minute and wrap your head around that.

Utilizing mobile marketing builds connections with potential customers. I am sure you have noticed how people like to connect over a nice glass of wine. You are probably thinking it’s because of the good wine; however, like the mobile device or social network, the wine is just the tool used to help people connect.

This is not just a trend. Google will be lowering the ranking of websites that are not mobile friendly as a result of their studies. Their study has found that 77% of mobile searches happen when people are at home or at work – even when there is a PC nearby and available. They also found 55% of mobile-searches influenced conversions that take place within the hour!

We all want to be a part of something. This is why the world has so many clubs, organizations, memberships and groups that connect people.

This is why social media has become so popular and why almost all social media websites have mobile versions or apps. They know how people want to use their mobile devices to connect. All smart, savvy businesses have been jumping on board. If you look closely you will see the large companies that are doing well with social media are all doing the same thing. They are trying to be open and authentic so people want to connect with them. Big corporations are loosening up and are trying to become more relatable by almost appearing not to be “big brand.” Not long ago, if


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Innovation 2013 41


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a corporation was going to say anything public there was a huge process leading up to an official press release. People don’t have time for that anymore. With all the information at our finger tips and need for connection, we demand an instant response. Successful companies have realized this and hire people to be the instant responders to anything online. Here is a true story: A man tweets about his brother’s frustration with Koodo mobile. Within minutes Virgin mobile catches the tweet and replies, “Your bro should switch to Virgin Mobile. Just sayin’.” When was the last time you saw a company of that capacity reply to something so fast, and use terms like 'bro' and 'sayin’' when communicating with a potential customer? Awesome! That company has just become current, funny and approachable. Needless to say, bro switched to Virgin Mobile. Wrapping this up, I would like you to think about how this matters to your business. The age of information is gone; we have all the information we need as it’s simply taken from one website and reproduced on the next website. We have now stepped into the age of connection and relationships. It’s just learning how to use the information and technology to genuinely connect with potential customers. If you don’t jump on board and adapt to this changing age, you will be left in the saying to yourself, “Remember the good old days?” At least there will always be wine. ■


Mike Cooper specializes in business marketing and website development and is the owner of Black Mountain Media. Contact Mike at 778-214-0519 or

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B.C. Grape and Wine Sector The current federal government seems to be of the opinion that agriculture research should, in the long run, be conducted by private companies or academic institutions and less and less by the Federal Research Branch.

We have conducted research at the Pacific Agriculture Research Centre (PARC) in Summerland as well as at a few academic institutions (UBC Vancouver and Okanagan and Simon Fraser University).


he role of research for the BC Wine Grape Council (BCWGC) and it’s predecessor, the R&D committee of the BC 
Wine Institute, have been developing and funding research projects for the past one-and-a-half decades. The BCWGC’s purpose is to improve the quality and sustainability of both wine grapes and wine through industry-initiated research and education.

These past few years most projects were funded with industry money matched by federal contributions from the Developing Innovative Agriculture Products (DIAP) program.

While there are a few specific, time limited projects that can be executed by the private or academic sectors, much of what we do is ongoing research in the fields of sustainability and quality enhancement. Most of these projects build on past findings and accomplishments and require continuity in staff and effort.

It is no secret that in recent years the federal support for PARC has declined considerably. Some positions are now vacant because after those in the positions retired no replacements were hired while others are due to straight forward budget and staffing cuts.

Despite those cutbacks, a few examples of accomplishments to date:

• In the field of entomology we have improved the knowledge related to leafhopper control, which has resulted in a reduction of insecticide use. • We have documented some secondary insect pest outbreaks caused by excessive or poorly timed insecticide use. • We are currently conducting very promising research in using cover crops to reduce the populations of climbing cutworms, which can on occasion cause significant damage in some vineyards. • As far as diseases are concerned, we have improved the approach to powdery mildew control through the validation of climatic models (this area still needs more work)


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and improved knowledge of sour rot causing agents and climatic conditions favouring this disease. • Currently we are working on developing a trunk disease diagnostic tool that will be able to quickly identify up to 35 causal agents, resulting in the ability to identify problems at a very early stage. Both grape quality and overall sustainability are important growing issues impacted by the amount and timing of irrigation. As water will become less available due to climate change impacts and increased competing uses (e.g. development) these water issues will become more and more critical. We have studied the influence of cultural practices on vegetative flavours (pyrazines) in wine and looked at fertilizer regimes and their impact on fermentation. Most of these studies are conducted in commercial vineyards, which is facilitated by GPS mapping of almost all vineyards in the region. Much of this would have been very difficult to achieve without PARC and the outstanding researchers and staff working there. Future research will focus on further reduction of inputs through better decision making tools, continuous optimization of grape and wine quality, adaptation to climate change and changing consumer preferences and early detection and response to new threats. Latest findings of most DIAP projects will be presented at the annual BCWGC conference, which will be held in Penticton on July 15 and 16. ■ Hans Buchler is the chair for the BC Wine Grape Council.

For the Latest News on the Industry visit


44 Innovation 2013


Looking Forward to the Future The world’s fastest growing economies are now in Asia and growing fruit that can’t be grown there represents a rare, rich export opportunity.

the cozy relationship it has built across the 49th parallel, there are huge markets beckoning. Europe, through the Canada-European Trade Agreement is one of them.


o back three-quarters of a century and you’ll find a time when Canadian exports went to the four corners of the British Empire. Following World War II Canada leaned heavily on the burgeoning expansion of the U.S. economy, but the world is changing again, and likely to Canada’s benefit. It is no secret to anyone that while still the world’s largest economy, the United States has spent itself into a corner and has little appetite for making any real changes. This may seem like bad news, but there are many great possibilities that go with these changes to the world stage, especially for fruit farmers. When Canada looks beyond

Witness the recent cherry deal announced with China (see story this issue). Even if you only count the third of the Chinese population that is considered affluent enough to purchase these cherry imports that represents a market ten times larger than all of Canada.

A second is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement which comprises Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, with Japan likely to join in. As all such negotiations go, these are slow and cumbersome. It may be months, possibly years, before the deals are finalized, but it is also immensely important they do go ahead.

If Canadians can negotiate down some of the walls that shut out our products, we have a natural advantage in Asia. Food safety is recognized as being superior in the West and for those Asians with money, buying from the West is seen as safer for their families and a status symbol.

The population represented by these two agreements is more than 1.1 billion people and if these markets are cracked open it represents huge opportunities for Canadian farmers.

In British Columbia only a small amount of land is arable. In much of Asia they have populations so great it is almost inconceivable to Canadians. Consider that the population density is 40 times greater in most of Asia than here. That means in an area the size of British Columbia

Looking back to the British Empire, Canadian fruit travelled to a lot of places and a lot of foreign money came back to help fuel growth in agriculture here.

you’d need 40 Vancouvers, 40 Victorias, 40 of every place. Asian arable land has hundreds of millions of people living on it, and even where it is given over to agriculture, this land is needed to provide staple crops like rice just to keep their still growing populations fed. These trade deals represent a chance to access greater prosperity for all Canadian farming, including fruits and wines, unlike anything seen here since the 1920s. Most times people get comfortable in their situations and only a shock will force them to do things differently. In this case the U.S. has hammered Canada a couple of times with blatant protectionism. By forcing us to broaden our trade barriers, the Americans have done us a great service. Canadian farmers have a lot to look forward to.■ Devon Brooks is the editor of Orchard & Vine. Send comments by e-mail to

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If you would like to inject a little innovation in your business, it doesn’t take much to get on the right path. Here are a few tips to help you on your way.

Be observant – Look around. Watch other businesses that are doing something cool and being innovative. Look outside your industry for ideas you could develop and adjust to suit yours. observe Listen to your customers – What are they saying about you? Keep doing what’s successful and do more of it. Involve staff – Keep an idea book at your front counter. Encourage your staff to write down ideas, suggestions for improvements. Appreciate their ideas (even criticisms) and try something different.



Work together – Create open collaboration with staff and other business owners. Develop a friendly, neighbourly approach to help each other. Celebrate wins – Not every innovation effort needs to be a home run. Appreciate and celebrate the small wins. You don’t have to spend money. High fives, salute or a positive ‘yes’ are often enough.


Try, try again – It’s okay to fail sometimes – learn from your mistakes and try to do better next time. Start small – Even small changes can make a difference and are usually easier to manage.

When you can add a little creativity, ingenuity and experiment with new ideas it can solve problems, create new ventures and help achieve your business goals.

46 Innovation 2013

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48 VERNON Innovation 2013

2013 Innovation Issue from Orchard and Vine  

Cutting edge discoveries, people, products, research and more!

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