Orchard & Vine Innovation Issue 2022

Page 1

The Value of Digging Soil Pits Heidi Lorch Viticulturist of the Year Removing Smoke Taint Gold Hill Winemaker Val Tait Innovation 2022 $6.95

Display Until Sep.15, 2022 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40838008 www.orchardandvine.net

Innovation Issue


Innovation 2022

Innovation 2022




Photo credit: Munckhof Manufacturing

The vineyards at Gold Hill Winery have produced award-winning wines for Canadian winemaker Val Tait.


Publisher’s View – Lisa Olson


Awards – Heidi Lorch is named Viticulturist of the Year

10 News and Events 16 Innovations


Lieza Munckhof trimming the vines with an electric sickle bar trimmer designed specifically for small vineyards.

31 T he Value of Digging a Hole: Keeping vineyard roots safe from disturbances is important, but exploring what those roots deal with is worth a little ruckus. 34 T antalus – Powered by the Okanagan Sun: Tantalus Vineyards has launched an innovative solar energy project that reduces greenhouse gases, and returns a profit to grassroots investors.

Photo credit: www.plantandfood.com

39 Word on Wine – Kelly Josephson 41 Marketing Mix – Leeann Froese 43 Seeds of Growth – Glen Lucas


The new apple variety by the Hot Climate Program was developed for warmer climates, but could act as a hedge against global warming.


Innovation 2022

46 Canadian Winemaker Series – Val Tait Cover Photo by Danielle Rodgers Amy Richards, director of farming with Phantom Creek Estates, giving a demonstration on the value of digging soil pits at a BC Grapegrowers’ Association event .

Photo credit: www.goldhillwinery.com


Collaboration from manufacturing line to bottling line BOTTLES 100% AMERICAN MADE & SUPPORTED As the largest producer of glass wine bottles made 100% in North America, Ardagh Glass Packaging has the resources to meet your unique needs with flexibility, responsiveness and ease. We’re ready to collaborate with you — right from the heart of the major North American wine regions, helping things run efficiently every step of the way. Call us to learn more about our extensive bottle portfolio and the exceptional quality and support you can expect from your local glass partner.

317-558-1585 ardaghgroup.com/wine2022 2022: INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF GLASS Innovation 2022



Heart of Gold

Vol. 63, No 4 Innovation 2022

What a rainy and cloudy start to the growing season in the Okanagan Valley! I’m sure hoping for a good summer season, free from excess heat, fires or smoke.

Established in 1959 Publisher Lisa Olson

During this cool spell, we’re delighted to bring you some equally cool innovations that we’ve been gathering for you.

Editor Gary Symons

Whether you need to test your wine for smoke taint or alcohol levels, dig a hole to take a peek in the ground to see what the roots are dealing with, or looking for a convenient and safe way to manage extensive vineyard growth, you’ll want to study and save the articles inside this issue.

There are so many new packaging and container options available, as well as innovative and pretty eye-catching label designs out there. We bring you a sample here and encourage you to let your mind wander and think of something new and unique to you. If ideas aren’t your zone of genius then check out some award-winning ideas from Leeann Froese in her marketing column.

Stephanie Symons Writers Photo by Kimberly Brooke Photography

New innovations aren’t always about new inventions; they can also be about people doing cool and heart-warming things. That’s the case with Fort Berens Winery, which is gathering the community together for a fundraiser to assist with the rebuilding of Lytton, BC, which was tragically burnt to the ground last June. See more on page 10, and to donate to the cause, contact LyttonStrong@fortberens.ca. Similarly on page 12, you can read about a ‘Freedom Blend’ wine to raise funds for the Ukrainian war refugees.

Graphic Design

Also, check out each supplier advertising, as they are dedicated to the industry and have the experience and product knowledge to help you know what can work the best for you, or help you through whatever problems you may encounter. One thing for certain, this industry is a heart-felt industry providing high quality fruits and wine as well as helping each other with advice and assistance. Here’s to a fruitful season, fewer obstacles, and filled with a community of fun and laughter mixed in with some hard work. Enjoy the magazine!

Leeann Froese, Kelly Josephson, Glen Lucas, Ronda Payne, Gary Symons Contact lisa@orchardandvine.net Orchard & Vine Magazine Ltd. Mailing Address 22-2475 Dobbin Road Suite #578 West Kelowna, BC V4T 2E9 www.orchardandvine.net Phone: 778-754-7078 Fax: 1-866-433-3349 Orchard & Vine Magazine is published six times a year and distributed by addressed mail to growers, suppliers and wineries in the Okanagan, Kootenays, Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Washington State and across Canada. Orchard & Vine is also available online. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40838008 Undeliverable copies should be sent to: 22-2475 Dobbin Road Suite #578 West Kelowna, BC V4T 2E9

• 120 Wh Lithium Battery • Weight 1.7 lbs

Designed for pruning professionals Grape Vines | Tree Fruits | Blueberries | Landscaping


Infaco Sales and Service | Western Canada | 6015 Fir Ave, Summerland, BC | V0H 1Z4 P: 604.378.4826 E: Neil@corsicaequipment.com W: www.corsicaequipment.com


Innovation 2022

Custom Climates Refrigeration Inc.

Wineries, Breweries, Fruit Processing & Storage Facilities Commercial • Industrial • Agricultural

Custom Climates Refrigeration Inc. is a full-service refrigeration company, specializing in commercial refrigeration, as well as all aspects of heating and air conditioning. From the chiller in your winery or brewery to blast coolers/freezers and controlled atmosphere applications, we thrive on any challenge and feel very confident that we will exceed your expectations.

• Refrigeration • Chillers • Geothermal • Controls Red Seal Refrigeration & Gas Fitter Certified Proudly Serving the Okanagan Valley 24 hours a day - 365 days a year Innovation 2022 Kelowna, BC 250-869-5308 www.customclimatesrefrigeration.com



Heidi Lorch the BCGA Viticulturist of the Year By Ronda Payne Growing high-quality wine grapes is all about soil. As it turns out, the same appreciation and support of the land that leads to amazing grapes (and therefore wine) can come from just about any kind of farming, as Heidi Lorch can attest.

In May, the BC Grapegrowers’ Association (BCGA) honoured Lorch for the ways in which her background, education and labour in the field have led to spectacular grapes. About 40 growers came together at Heidi’s Peak Estate Vineyard, to celebrate her accomplishments as the third BCGA Viticulturist of the Year, as well as to learn about soil health; something she is deeply interested in. Lorch’s family were dairy farmers in Ontario, so she was accustomed to the hard work of farming long before she studied agriculture at the University of Guelph and bought half the family farm. “I focused on raising poultry and growing corn and soybeans,” she says. “I completely enjoyed doing that for 27 years.”

Photo credits: BCGA

Farmers and their stewardship of the land are key to great results, regardless of the crop.

Heidi Lorch with past winners Karnail Singh and Hans Buchler.

But something different beckoned. Lorch still wanted to farm, but she wanted to live in a scenic area. She also didn’t mind the idea of a little less snow during the winter months. Lorch purchased a neglected vineyard in Okanagan Falls, at the southern tip of Skaha Lake, and set out to give the 7.5 acres as much support as possible. “I came to BC and took the viticulture

course at Okanagan College,” she explains. “I love farming and being able to work outdoors while surrounded by beautiful scenery is a bonus.” The view may be a bonus, but don’t expect to see Lorch idle in her vineyard. She’s very focused on her Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris vines. “I completely enjoy tending to the vineyard,” she says. “The vines tell a different story each season or year, and it’s gratifying to see how I can be a part of that growth and maturation.” This year, she was honoured for those efforts as the 2021 award recipient. Wild Goose Winery makes award-winning wine from her grapes, the vines of which have definitely recovered from their period of neglect. Lorch invested in new irrigation systems and worked with the soil to increase organic matter for strong, healthy vines. “I’m extremely fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with Wild Goose Winery,” she says. “The Kruger family has been completely supportive and encouraging of my endeavours and I truly appreciate their expert guidance.”

John Bayley, CEO of the BCGA, toasts BC Viticulturist of the Year, Heidi Lorch. 8

Innovation 2022

The proximity is a nice plus, as her vineyard is across the street from Wild Goose. Winemaker Nik Kruger says although he sees her in the vineyard every day and watches her take individual care of the vines, he was surprised at how quickly she was able to get the vineyard in top shape. Her vineyard canopies are meticulous and she incorporates mechanical innovation when it makes sense to the end-results. Wild Goose plans to purchase all of Lorch’s grapes for the foreseeable future and use them in the third-generation winery’s wines. Her attention to detail and scientific approach won over the association’s judges when they were considering this year’s award recipient. Lorch says the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris blocks had soil specially manipulated from the initial excavation of her site. “Bulldozer-itis,” as she puts it. “My main goal was to address vineyard blocks that needed upgrades in regards to irrigation and soil amendments,” she says. “To have my work be noticed and receive positive feedback is truly amazing for me.” As a second-generation farmer, Lorch knows the importance of soil health to any crop. She notes that in addition to the excess manipulation, the base at her site is sandy and gravelly with low organic components and high pH. “Over time, the soil health will improve and sustain cover crops to further rejuvenate the soil,” she says. “It’s all about working with the land for the future.” The judges were impressed by her approach and her attention to detail in all the award’s criteria. Her extensive soil testing and record keeping as well as her long-term vision for the site were appreciated. “I felt extremely excited and at the same time very humbled because there are so many amazing viticulturists in BC,” she says. “I’m appreciative that there is an award like this to notice the farmers behind the deer fences who often blend, unrecognized, into the vines. I’m grateful for all the encouragement and good cheer I receive from others in the industry.” Winners like Lorch may be nominated by their peers and a committee of industry professionals evaluates the nominees based on their vineyard management and other factors. Kruger supplied a letter of recommendation for her nomination.

Innovation 2022



Fort Berens is Sold Out of Wine For #LyttonStrong By Gary Symons In my old life as a CBC reporter, I spent weeks in and around Lytton covering forest fires, and other stories. The beautiful village still occupies a place in my heart, so I was horrified to see Lytton destroyed by a wildfire during the heat dome on June 30, 2021. Almost the entire village was destroyed, and residents were forced to flee without even time to grab their possessions and sometimes their pets or livestock. Nearly a year later, and many still are unable to return to their homes. However, we do hear some news about the rebuilding in Lytton and some of the people whose homes and farms survived, like the Winch Spur Vineyard, located on the traditional territory of the N laka’pamux People on the far side of the Fraser River from Lytton.

10 Innovation 2022

Owners Chuck and Nonie McCann farm this small vineyard planted in Pinot Gris, and typically these grapes are purchased by the nearby Fort Berens winery. We’ve just heard Fort Berens again purchased the 2021 crop, but this time all of these grapes were made into a wine that has been bottled as a Special Edition wine to sell this spring as a means to raise money for the Lytton Rebuild Fund. “As our winery is based in Lillooet, Fort Berens Estate Winery has a deep connection to the people and community of Lytton,” explained Fort Berens owner

Rolf de Bruin. “Since the fire, our team had been looking for ways to be a part of the community rebuilding efforts. On harvest day, just a few months after the fire, while driving from Lillooet to Lytton, the Fort Berens team, deeply moved by the devastating loss in Lytton, crafted a plan to launch a fundraising campaign. These Pinot Gris grapes from Lytton escaped the fire, and became grapes with a special purpose.” Fort Berens is donating 100 per cent of the proceeds to the rebuilding efforts. With approximately 120 cases (1,440 bottles) available, Fort Berens hopes to raise close to $50,000. They are also looking for help to continue raising funds for the rebuilding of Lytton. The overall campaign goal is to raise $125,000, and you can get involved by emailing LyttonStrong@fortberens.ca, or call 1.877.956.7768

Andrew Peller Places Major Bet on Kamloops Vineyard Canadian wine giant Andrew Seller has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tranquille Developments to explore the viticulture potential of the Tranquille farm land in Kamloops, BC.

Photo Credit: Katelyn Faulkner Photography

The joint-venture announcement was made during an exclusive media event held on May 30, 2022, on the land of the Tranquille on the Lake proposed development, and attended by some of the region’s wine industry, tourism, and community leaders. “The consistent population growth and the willingness of the Kamloops restaurants and residents to support local businesses is a key factor in our interest,” said Kirk Seggie, Manager, Grape Supply & Business Development with Andrew Peller Ltd. “Having the vineyards and winery integrated with Tranquille’s residential development is a win-win for vintners and residents. “The four pioneer wineries in the Thompson Valley (Harper’s Trail Estate Winery, Monte Creek Winery, Sagewood Winery, and Privato Vineyard and Winery) have shown that award-winning wines are possible, and we feel that the opportunity to grow premium vinifera grapes on the Tranquille site is not to be missed.” With the MOU signed, Andrew Peller Ltd. will start microclimate data collection and micro-soil analysis to understand when the region gets frost free days, how many growing degree days it gets,

Ignition’s Project Manager, Tim McLeod, touring the team from Andrew Peller Ltd. around the property.

and most importantly, to find out how cold it gets in the winter months. These processes will help determine which grapes will be best suited for the land, the partners say. The vineyard could be planted as early as 2025.

Diverse Disease Defence


Phomopsis & Downy Mildew

• • • • •

Highly effective broad spectrum fungicide for Grapes, Apples & Pears The only group 19 fungicide available in Canada for food use Valuable resistance management tool No negative impact on beneficial insects, pollinators or wildlife Can be applied up to day of harvest – (0 day PHI) DIPLOMAT is a trademark Belchim Crop Protection Canada Inc.

in addition to

Botrytis & Powdery Mildew



Innovation 2022



Moldovan Winery ‘Freedom Blend’ to Support Ukraine The Purcari winery in Moldova has created a ‘Freedom Blend’ to help support its war-torn neighbours in Ukraine. The ‘Freedom Blend’ uses a combination of indigenous grape varieties from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to symbolise and celebrate freedom in those countries. Purcari is located just 15 miles from the Ukrainian border. It has turned its luxury suites, tasting rooms and conferences rooms into emergency accommodation, housing more than 5,000 people that have fled war-torn Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion. The winery has now created a new bottling of its Freedom Blend to raise funds for Ukrainian war refugees.


OKANAGAN FALLS Matheson Creek Farms! Your opportunity to acquire a legacy Okanagan property. Historically planted to red and white varietals, currently a mix of orchard and vacant land. Wide frontage and a stunning lake view from every vantage. Over 23 acres with approx 17 acres arable, mainly Class 1 in the Grape Atlas. Updated 3600 sq. ft. custom west coast contemporary home. Large 3 bay shop with industrial cooler. The eclectic post and beam fruit stand made entirely of reclaimed wood would make an incredible tasting room with full kitchen and bath. EXCLUSIVE SOUTH EAST KELOWNA Beautiful two story 5 bedroom home in the heart of East Kelowna on 12.1 arable acres. The main home was built in 2009 to high standards and offers a full walkout basement. Two additional farm homes are also located on the property - a 3 bed rancher with basement and a 3 bed one and a half story with partial basement. Massive 2900 square foot insulted shop with extra deep concrete floor. Currently 8 acres planted to apples. Many opportunities here. A desirable estate property, future vineyard, winery, or carry on with tree fruit operations. First time on market in over 30 years. MLS® $5,299,000

Your local experts in farm, residential, and estate properties



Independently owned and operated toll free: (800) 663-5770



Personal Real Estate Corporation

12 Innovation 2022




Personal Real Estate Corporation

Purchasing Specialist





Tried and tested for over 30 years.

A well matured green waste compost, free from biosolids.

An organic compliant blend of compost and peat improving overall soil health.



A true winner. A blend of mushroom manure and peat

A very fertile, free draining soil blend to produce the most nutritious vegetables for your home and restaurant.

retaining moisture and nutrients.



24 Spring 2021

Innovation 2022



The image of a John Deere tractor from a YouTube video seen pulling a Russian tank is an example of the epic struggle underway for the farmers in Ukraine.

John Deere ‘Kill Switch’ Renders Stolen Tractors Useless John Deere has struck a blow against the Russian Army, in its war of aggression in Ukraine. The tractor company found out Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership, and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area. But after a journey of more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment, because it had been locked remotely. Over the past few weeks there’s been a growing number of reports of Russian troops stealing farm equipment, grain and even building materials. The thefts include the removal of valuable agricultural equipment from a John Deere dealership in Melitopol valued at nearly $5 million US. The Russians didn’t count on the sophisticated equipment John Deere installs on its tractors and combines, however. The owners used its GPS systems to track the equipment to the village of Zakhan Yurt in Chechnya, and John Deere was able to render it inoperable. “When the invaders drove the stolen harvesters to Chechnya, they realized that they could not even turn them on, because the harvesters were locked remotely,” an unnamed source told CNN. The equipment is now stuck on a farm near Grozny, CNN reports, but their contact in the area said the thieves are trying to bypass the anti-theft protection. Failing that, they will likely sell the parts for cash. “Even if they sell harvesters for spare parts, they will earn some money,” the contact said. Unfortunately, little can be done to stop other types of theft from local farmers. CNN sources say Russian troops are simply stealing grain from silos. “They steal it, take it to Crimea and that’s it,” said CNN’s source. Last week the mayor of Melitopol posted a video showing a convoy of trucks leaving Melitopol allegedly loaded with grain. 14 Innovation 2022

Filtration Services Crossflow Filtration 4 - Filter Systems NEW! Cellar Dweller Crossflow @ ARTUS Bottling VA, Brett, Smoke Taint Reduction, Alcohol Adjustment, Concentration Crossflow System 4 - Reverse Osmosis Systems Juice Lees and Wine Lees Clarification 2 - RDVF-Rotary Drum Vacuum Filter Wine Tartrate Stabilization and PH Adjustment STARS-Selective Tartrate Removal Systems Trucking Services

Reverse Osmosis Systems

NEW! Freightliner M2-112 26’ Van 15,500 kg Capacity (Case Goods, Totes)

Cellar Dweller

26’ Tilt Flat Bed Trailer (Equipment, Vehicles)

250.497.2009 • Office

Flat deck 5500 Trucks

250.487.2995 • lesia@cellardweller.ca

Mobile Filtration Services Ltd. Robert Kwakernaak/ Lesia Wood 250.460.1313 • robert@cellardweller.ca

Interested in joining our team?

Now hiring permanent part-time/seasonal operators in the Kelowna & South Okanagan area.

www.cellardweller.ca Innovation 2022


Sponsored Article


Lieza Munckhof trimming the vines on a vintage Lamborghini, 3 cylinder air-cooled model.

What is Innovation?

Innovation is the practice of recognizing an unfulfilled need and finding a new solution that not only accomplishes the required job, but also does it within the customer’s abilities, resources and budget. Every summer during the season, grape cultivators do battle against their vines, trying to contain their voracious growth within the confines of the trellis and keep a neat and tidy operation. For the larger growers the task is fairly simple. Aided by the help of hydraulically driven commercial machinery they are able to make short work of the foliage. The smaller guys, however, suffer. Overlooked by the industry as not significant enough to target, they are left to fend off their vines with hand tools, like knives or gas-powered trimmers, and hours of backbreaking work. Larger manufacturers tend to overlook small farming operations and favour large scale mechanization designed to cover hundreds or thousands of acres a year. This puts the little guy at a distinct disadvantage.

16 Innovation 2022

unckhof has developed the world’s first fully electric sickle M bar trimmer designed specifically for small vineyards. Mechanization, however, is a farming advancement that should not be limited to large scale agriculture. Some of the finest wines are produced from fruit grown on small scale farms by people who know and care about every plant they farm. That’s where Munckhof Mfg comes in. “Many of these small operators have approached us looking to purchase commercial grade equipment and we were unable to help them because their tractors were too small to handle the required loads, or in some cases there was no tractor at all,” said Dennis Munckhof. “It was obvious they had limited options and some even resorted to desperate and dangerous solutions; strapping gas powered trimmer tools to their quads or tractors, or having a worker stand on a platform, trying to handle sharp tools while another person drove them around the farm.” A solution was needed and so Munckhof decided to tackle the problem. “We developed the world’s first fully electric sickle bar trimmer designed specifically for small vineyards,” Munckhof says. The company knew it would have to be something compact, robust, light, and simple, without any hydraulic cylinders or complicated mounting attachments. The trimmer features its own integrated electric lifting cylinder, turnbuckle angle adjustment and multiple cross bar attachment points so the operator only needs to securely attach a 1½-inch cross bar and connect the battery. The head has a built-in spring that will allow the upper blade to move away in case

it hits a post and guide it back to position automatically. It is even available with an optional “blade saver” bumper bar to guide around posts in plantations with overhead netting where contact is inevitable. At the base of the lifting cylinder is a shear pin to protect the machine in case of hard contact in the lateral plane/axis. One of the biggest design challenges in making this machine a reality was achieving the versatility needed to trim all the different shapes and styles of plantings with the limited cutter bars the small machine uses. The team developed an innovative head that can be set at the 90, 60, 30 and vertical position, giving a maximum cutting length of 5’9” in the vertical position. This, along with the turnbuckle, allows the trimmer to be conformable to match the shape of several different trellis styles. The best part is that the operator is able to sit safely back from the cutting head and control the height and trimmer motors from a simple control box, giving small operators the same comfort and safety that the larger operations enjoy, but in an affordable and accessible package. Munckhof is putting out their inaugural production run with a limited quantity to be ready for this summer’s trimming season. “This is a game changer in our being able to offer a safe and affordable option to hobbyists, micro-estates and small lot growers in the five-acre and under crowd. I am super happy to be adding this unique piece of equipment to our product line,” Munckhof says.

Munckhof Manufacturing 250.498.4426 office@munckhof.com www.munckhof.com Innovation 2022



Say ‘Hola’ to Spain’s Hot New Apple Scientists in New Zealand and Spain have developed a hot climate apple that can be grown on the blazing plains of Catalonia, near Barcelona.

Photo credit: www.plantandfood.com

Aptly called ‘HOT84A1’, the apple is an answer to apple growers in Catalonia who faced major problems growing traditional cultivars. A collaboration between growers, Catalonia’s Institute of Agriculture and Food Research Technology, and New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research, resulted in the new apple being planted commercially in Spain in 2020. But the impact of this new ‘manzana’ goes beyond Spain’s borders, as it offers an alternative for apple growers impacted by global warming. HOT84A1 is the first hot climate apple from the New Zealand-Spain Hot Climate Program, and prior to hitting the global market, will be given a new commercial name. Scientists say the next phase of development is to bring in disease resistance, and in some cases, pest resistance.

In response to concern about climate change, New Zealand Plant & Food Research has worked with apple researchers and growers in the Catalonia Province of Spain in releasing the first hot-climate apple, ‘HOT84A1’.

First Harvest of Newly Developed Happi Pear In the fall, Stemilt Growers harvested its first commercial crop of the Happi Pear, launching one of the first proprietary pear marketing campaigns in the United States. The launch serves as a test case to see if new varieties can help to reinvigorate a long-lagging category. “The thing that we got really excited about with Happi is that we would be able to brand a pear and market it differently than pears are marketed,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s marketing director. Unlike the apple market, the pear category is still dominated by traditional European cultivars, and consumers want to try something new, she said. Managing a proprietary pear allows for controlling quality to build demand for it.

Wineries, Distilleries and Cideries Ingredients, Laboratory Products,Supplies and Equipment Shop online at: ecom.bosagrape.com orders@bosagrape.com

6908 Palm Ave Burnaby BC - Phone 604-473-9463 - Toll Free 1-866-554-7273 - Web ecom.bosagrape.com 18 Innovation 2022


New Regenerative Viticulture Organization

From our central Kelowna office, NCA Commercial Inc. is best placed to offer experienced, reliable and professional valuation and consulting services to those owning and operating agricultural land and businesses in BC’s interior. Our team of accredited commercial real estate appraisers specializes in a variety of services including: • market valuations for financing

If you’re interested in adopting regenerative viticulture techniques, check out the newly formed Regenerative Viticulture Foundation.

• property settlement & estate planning

in 2021, driven by a desire to understand and promote greater biodiversity in viticulture on a global scale, with the assembly of a board of renowned experts in the fields of winegrowing, regenerative agriculture, and communications, the Regenerative Viticulture Foundation was formed.

• insurance replacement cost & risk management

Through the work of the Regenerative Viticulture Foundation, everyone and anyone can learn about regenerative viticulture. Viticulturists, wine industry participants and the general public can access the research, education and resources readily provided by the Foundation, and those looking to make the change in the way they currently farm grapevines can be informed, encouraged and supported in their journey.

• site selection & pre-acquisition negotiation • compensation in expropriation & partial takings • subdivision & ALR applications • arbitration & expert witness Brian Pauluzzi, B.Com., RI, AACI, MRICS Owner/Commercial Appraiser

• land leases & rent reviews • “going concern” business valuations

We invite you to call us today, or have your financial advisor contact us, if you require an accurate opinion of value.

Toll free: 1-844-644-7815 Local: 250-868-9244 www.ncacommercial.com

The Foundation argues the environmental costs of agriculture have historically been too high, impacting on the health of the entire planet. “Cooperation is needed to research and understand farming solutions which go above and beyond mere preservation of the status quo, in order to regenerate soils and environments whilst maximising the opportunity to inhibit man-made climate change,” the Foundation says. “The organization’s mission is to support a transition away from a chemical-based monocultural form of agriculture that is degenerative to soil and local ecosystems, towards a regenerative agriculture as it relates to the management of vineyards, and for greater biodiversity in viticulture to become the new conventional way of doing things,” said Jesper Saxgren, Trustee of the Regenerative Viticulture Foundation.

Premium Finished Trees and Rootstock

Taking Orders for Cherry Trees Spring 2023

CALISSI FARMS Inc. 250 317 2164

james_calissi@telus.net • www.calissifarms.com 3810 East Kelowna Road, Kelowna, BC, V1W 4H2 Innovation 2022


2022 FCC Food Industry Report: Growth amid inflationary pressures The annual FCC Food Report reviews last year’s economic environment and highlights opportunities and risks for Canadian food manufacturers for 2022. This includes an annual sales forecast, grocery sales performance and a new gross margin index.

historical levels 102



Grain and oilseed milling Sugar and confectionery products Fruit, vegetable and specialty food Dairy products Meat products Seafood preparation





95.0 93.6

94 92

• Bakery and tortilla products


Beverage manufacturers, we didn’t forget about you. We will be releasing a separate beverage report later this year.


Takeaways Several external factors impacted Canadian food industries in 2021, which have resulted in higher input costs, amplified labour shortages and upended food consumption patterns. In early 2021, there was hope that the pandemic could soon be behind us; however, new variants provoked more disruptions, restrictions and uncertainty. Despite these challenges, food manufacturers’ performance proved to be strong.

Three key observations from this year’s report:



86 84










Source: Statistics Canada, FCC Economics

2. Food manufacturing sector to outperform the overall economy Food manufacturing sales increased 14.8% YoY to $125 billion in 2021 (Table 1). This is the strongest YoY sales growth in recorded history (starting in 1992). Increased foodservice volumes and higher selling prices offset volume declines at grocery stores. Food manufacturing sales are projected to increase 7.4% in 2022,

1. Industry gross margins bounced back in 2021 but remain below historical levels Gross margins as a percent of sales in food manufacturing increased in 2021 YoY but remain below historical levels and below 2019 (Figure 1). Manufacturers have struggled to fully pass on higher labour and material costs for almost a decade. But margins improved slightly in 2021. At the individual industry level, results widely differ, which we dive into in the report. 20 Innovation 2022



Industries featured in the report are: • • • • • •

Figure 1: Gross margins grew in 2021 but remain below

driven by: • Historically strong disposable income and accumulated savings in 2021 • Food prices remaining elevated • Robust export markets with food exports representing an estimated 36.8% of overall sales

Sponsored Article

Figure 2: Most manufactured food consumed in Canada is made

Table 1: Manufacturing sales and exports grew in 2021 All figures in million $ Food manufacturing sales


YoY% change


YoY% change





Food exports





Food imports





in Canada Imports percent of domestic consumption 100 90


80 Sugar/confection 70 Food trade balance





Grocery & specialty food retail sales





Restaurant retail sales






Fast food retail sales















Fruit/Vegetable and speciality

60 50

Grain and oilseed milling Other

Specialty food service sales Total estimated food retail sales Source: Statistics Canada

3. Consumption of Canadian manufactured food climbed in 2021 The total share of domestically manufactured food consumed in Canada increased an estimated 1.9% after declining for two straight years. The combination of ‘buy local’ trends and domestic investments boosted Canadian sales. The share of imports relative to consumption as opposed to the share of exports relative to manufacturing sales within an industry provides information about the domestic vs foreign emphasis of manufacturers (Figure 2). Sales within the dairy manufacturing industry almost entirely occur within Canada. Under 10% of the value of dairy manufacturing sales are exported, and under 10% of Canadian consumption is of imported products. On the other end of the spectrum, seafood is more of a global industry. Over 90% of the sales value were exported, and the percent of imported product consumed was also over 90%. Overall, there’s a lot of two-way trade in the Canadian food industry. For example, nearly 50% of sales in fruit, vegetable and specialty food manufacturing is exported while an equivalent share of domestic consumption is imported.

Food Bakeries Meat Dairy

10 0




30 40 50 60 70 80 Exports percent of manufacturing sales



The bottom line Economic conditions are evolving rapidly. The labour market continues to be a challenge, and inflationary pressures continue to climb. War in Eastern Europe and economic sanctions also pose a risk to global economic growth, creating food shortages in many countries that depend on commodities from this region, potentially causing a food crisis for millions. Stronger disposable income and higher savings in 2021 will support 2022 domestic food consumption growth, although inflation is diminishing many households’ purchasing power. Margin growth will depend on several factors, the biggest being the COVID pandemic’s evolution and how businesses adapt to interest rates increases and input costs. Read the full report at fcc.ca/FoodReport Kyle Burak, Senior Economist

Innovation 2022



New Grower Guide for Ellepots by A.M.A. A.M.A. Horticulture Inc. has created a new guide to using its Ellepots for growers and propagators. Ellepots are typically used in greenhouse environments for plants of all sizes and types. Ellepots come in 15 different sizes and more than 100 tray options. The AMA Grower Guide is a quick reference document to help growers make the right selections for their crop, enhance bench density and more. “Since 1999, we’ve shipped over a billion Ellepots by A.M.A. across North America, and we’ve learned some things along the way. We hope this guide will give growers and propagators quick tips to improve quality,

efficiency, labour savings and sustainability in their operations,” says Rick Bradt, who serves as A.M.A.’s managing director, together with his wife Connie Bradt-Monsma. The scannable, informative guide is now available as a free downloadable resource on A.M.A.’s website. It’s one way that A.M.A. is leaning into it’s 40th anniversary theme of Always Learning, Always Growing. “This year is all about sharing what we’ve learned and promoting knowledge and collaboration within our horticulture community,” says Bradt-Monsma. “We will be introducing more resources and opportunities over the course of the year to help everyone grow forward, together.”

Stand Out With Peel Back Labels Want to stand out from the crowd on the liquor shelf? You might try peel-back labels, the latest out-of-the-box technique from Summit Labels, designed for inventive and engaging campaigns. Extended content labels have been around for a while. It essentially means using two layers of labels, and the pharma industry has been using this tech for years to increase space for regulations. But the peel-back labels for alcohol products is very new. Essentially, it creates multilayered, multi-function labels that genuinely interact with customers.

Coast Mt Brewing of Whistler, BC, recently took the peel plunge. Using peel-out technology their flagship Hope You’re Happy IPA became an instant collectable. “Given a facelift, this unique spirit lit up the tasting lounge for their fifth-anniversary celebration and left fortunate party-goers with the ultimate favour, a free re-stickable sticker!” said Summit Labels. “But that’s just scratching the surface of what this could do, because if you can dream it, we can make it. The real question is, are you ready to make an impact?”

Providing Packaging, Bottling, Corks, Screwcaps, Capsules & Closures for Wineries and U-Vins • Wine Bottles • Rigid Packaging • Amorim Neutrocork Corks • Aluminum Screwcaps • PolyLam Capsules • Closures

22 Innovation 2022

Proudly Locally Owned & Operated 1989 Harvey Avenue Kelowna, BC, V1Y 6G5 info@interiorbeverages.com

Toll Free: 1 (888) 703-6505 Local: 1 (250) 491-9266 www.interiorbeverages.com

Wine in a Can Taking it’s Place on the Shelf In 2019 we asked our readers if they were planning to offer wine in a can, and 90 per cent of our respondents said no. Flash forward to 2022, and the industry is seeing more and more canned wine on the shelves. According to Robert L. Williams, Jr., a Ph.D. marketing professor, “The biggest shift in 2021 was that the focus now is on the wine inside the can, not the packaging.“ The market appears to have shifted to the point you no longer have to sell the idea of wine in a can, as both the consumer and the wine industry understands the benefits. Williams says companies now need to focus on the wine people are drinking, and how they can try/buy it. Some of the findings this year include: • Wine-in-cans is closing the gap with bottled wine • C anned wines are winning medals in competitions against bottled wine • C anned wines show little to no difference in academic blind taste tests • Canned products include premium wine, at premium prices • C anned wines are now produced by classic wineries around the world, including the Okanagan and Niagara • A luminum cans are the most recycled material, with 70% of each can produced from recycled material • C anned wines weigh only half as much as bottles and don’t need packing insulation, so they are less expensive and more sustainable to ship

Quail’s Gate Piquette is a low-alcohol, fizzy wine made from Riesling grapes.

Meadow Vista’s newest product, Stinger, Yuzu Honey Lemonade Sparkling Mead.

50th Parallel’s Glamour Farming Gewurztraminer 2021. Innovation 2022



World’s First Paper Wine Bottle Launches in Canada The Frugal Bottle, the world’s first and only commercially available paper bottle for wines, spirits and olive oils, is now on sale in Canada.

we are now moving 80% of our production from glass bottles to paper ones.” The wine is now on sale in 285 LCBO stores in Ontario, and Frugalpac is calling on consumers and the drinks industry to join the paper bottle revolution.

Cantina Goccia – an award-winning Italian winery – has launched its 3Q Umbria Rosso red wine in the Frugal Bottle in a bid to help eco-conscious consumers cut their carbon footprint. “We are delighted to launch our awardwinning red wine 3Q Umbria Rosso in the Frugal Bottle here in Canada,” said Cantina Goccia owner Ceri Parke. “For us, this is about offering a much more sustainable form of packaging to consumers. “Sustainable practices in the vineyard are important but when more than half our

carbon footprint comes from packaging and transport, then it is time for us producers to take action,” Parke added. “We passionately believe this is a real game changer for the wine industry and

Correction The pull quote in the story by Ronda Payne “Cool it Down” in our Summer Issue 2022 was misattributed to David Mutz. The quote: Extreme Heat - “It’s very unlikely to happen again without climate change. It’s very likely to happen again before the end of the century with climate change.” This statement was made by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada agroclimate specialist Trevor Hadwen.

“We are passionate about bringing exciting new wines from around the world to Ontario and I am delighted to promote the 3Q Umbria Rosso in the Frugal Bottle to over 250 LCBO retail outlets here,” said DB Wine and Spirits Founder Dan Barrett. “It has been met with great enthusiasm and excitement so far.” Launched first in June 2020 and securing headlines around the world, the Cantina Goccia 3Q Frugal Bottle has twice sold out, with one wine chain, Woodwinters in Scotland, selling its entire stock in just one day. Cantina Goccia have now pledged to produce 80 per cent of all its wine in paper bottles. Made from 94% recycled paperboard with a food-grade plastic pouch to hold the liquid, the paper Frugal Bottles have a carbon footprint up to six times (84%) lower than a glass bottle. Weighing just 83g before filled, it is almost five times lighter than a normal glass bottle, making it easier to carry and lighter to transport, further helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the drinks industry.

Cruiser Contracting Ltd.

QUALITY CONSTRUCTION • LAND CONTOURING SERVICES • Land Contouring For Orchards & Vineyards • Surface Modelling and GPS Machine Controlled Excavation • Retaining Wall Construction • Excavators, Rock Trucks and Dozers • Services by the Hour or Contract

Cruiser Contracting Ltd. Call 778-753-6499 info@cruisercontracting.com cruisercontracting.com

24 Innovation 2022

New Can Toppers Made of Cardboard KHS Group has developed a process to make sustainable cardboard can toppers as viable and simple to produce as traditional plastic versions. The packaging is user friendly, the material kind to the environment, and the machine powerful: the KHS Group’s Innopack Kisters CNP (Carton Nature Packer) processes can toppers made of cardboard at a rate of up to 108,000 cans per hour. With the help of its recently developed CNP machine, the turnkey supplier is now establishing a further sustainable form of secondary packaging on the market. KHS says the Innopack Kisters CNP has been designed as a modular system that can be individually added to as and when required. This means that operators can switch to different cardboard materials or alter the pack size, among other options. “Optimizing our systems and saving on materials and energy as a result have long been among our core activities,” says account

manager Sören Storbeck. “In the Carton Nature Packer we offer the beverage industry yet another system that’s fit for the future.” For more information go to: www.khs.com/en/media

Coors Light to phase out plastic rings globally Good news for Mother Earth as Coors Light is eliminating plastic rings from its packaging globally where Molson Coors owns brewing operations, becoming the largest beer brand in North America to make such a move. The initiative comes under an $85 million investment by Molson Coors to upgrade brewery machinery. It will transition away from six-pack plastic rings by 2025. “Just as Coors led the way by pioneering the recyclable aluminum can, Coors Light will lead the way by moving out of single-use plastic rings in North America,” said Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley.

THE POWER OF CAN Get $100 towards your first order with Vessel, exclusive to Orchard & Vine readers. Claim your discount and find out more about how we can help you take your business to the next level at:

vesselpackaging.com/orchardandvine Innovation 2022


Sponsored Article


Need Cabinets for Your Winery? Canada Cabinet Can Help Building a winery comes with a thousand challenges, all adding up to one monumental job. From planting the vines to building the winery itself, hiring staff and marketing in a crowded sector, it all takes time and an incredible amount of effort. Fortunately, one company in West Kelowna can help take one headache off your hands. Canada Cabinet is an Okanaganbased company that distributes high-end cabinetry across Western Canada. Unlike the vast majority of suppliers, Canada Cabinet has a large inventory of higher quality cabinetry in their West Kelowna warehouse, so your building contractors won’t hit a snag as they schedule tradespeople during the build. “That’s one of our big selling points this year, both in residential and commercial,” says CEO Tom Bohna. “Because of what’s happening in the world today with shipping bottlenecks, we’re doing everything we can to solve them to help our customers. “The biggest thing is we’re carrying large inventories of higher quality cabinetry, which no one else in the Okanagan is doing right now, aside from the more entry level stuff from big box stores and places like that.” Commercial facilities like wineries typically need tougher cabinetry that’s going to look good in the long term, and Canada

26 Innovation 2022

“ The biggest thing is we’re carrying large inventories of higher quality cabinetry, which no one else in the Okanagan is doing right now.” Tom Bohna Cabinet essentially specializes in providing higher quality, at a lower price. “That’s essentially our secret sauce,” said Bohna. “It’s all made from the best three-

quarter inch plywood, and the boxes are finished inside and out with a painted finish, while the doors themselves are all lacquer, so they’re not like a cheaper thermofoil door, which is still in our price

bracket. It’s the same with the soft closes, the hardware, the doors and the drawers, which all feature dovetail joinery.

build. That’s not always easy, and everyone knows long delays also can cost a lot of money.”

“So basically we’re providing some better quality, but staying competitive on price even with competing cabinets of a lower quality, which we achieve through volume.”

Canada Cabinet has not specifically gone after the winery market in the past, but Bohna says the lack of supply has brought wineries to him. This month the company is working with a new winery in Summerland, supplying all the cabinetry for the new wineshop.

For example, Canada Cabinet sells between 50 to 100 kitchen sets out of its store in West Kelowna, but the company also sells 300 kitchens monthly throughout Western Canada. Despite the high volume, however, Bohna says the company has managed to maintain high levels of inventory, which is critical when you’re dealing with projects on a tight time schedule. “This is the narrative, the reality, we live with right now,” Bohna notes. “There are shortages of everything these days, but we’ve maintained a tight supply chain and we’ve kept high levels of inventory on stock. “For new wineries or wineries that are renovating, that’s a big deal because everyone is fighting the same issues we are, of being able to get supplies on time for the

“To give you an idea, we’re seeing lead times from two months to six months, and we’re taking that down to the point where it’s basically cash and carry out the front door,” Bohna says. “Most wineries may not be in a huge time crunch, I don’t know, but when you are, it’s good to know you can get what you need with no delays.” Like homeowners, wineries also seem to like the idea that a large distributor of quality cabinetry is based right in the Okanagan. Canada Cabinet also has its own contractors on hand for those who need that service, but is just as happy to sell cabinets to be installed by the winery’s construction team. That local presence also helps because the

showroom is in West Kelowna, located at 18A-1515 Westgate Road, and buyers can drop in to see examples of cabinetry first hand. To learn more, go to canadacabinet.com info@canadacabinet.com


You can believe it: Our prices beat the Big Box Stores! If you’re planning a kitchen reno, call us first and you’ll be glad you did. We’ll save you time, money and worry. We’ve been in this business for over 20 years and we have a local history of many satisfied customers.

• Free estimates and design • We supply your DIY or complete installation • 3/4” plywood cabinet construction only • Soft close drawers and doors • Over 20 years of experience

Come and visit our new showroom! 18A - 1515 Westgate Rd, West Kelowna 778-755-6960 canadacabinet.com info@canadacabinet.com Innovation 2022



BTAC Offers New Service to Remove Smoke Taint BC’s Okanagan College is offering a new service to help save local wines from the impact of smoke taint. The BC Beverage Technology Access Centre (BTAC) has acquired a Test Track reverse osmosis machine that can not only remove smoke taint, but can also lower alcohol levels and remove other unwanted molecules that affect the taste of wine. Wesley Peterson, general manager of BTAC, says the bench scale tactical filtration system is designed so wineries can test out what they want to do with their wine, before taking the risk of treating an entire batch. Peterson says BTAC bought the machine primarily to help wineries with the growing issue of smoke taint.

“One of the things that became readily apparent is the increased propensity for forest fires in our local community up and down the Okanagan Valley,” he explains. “We listen to our client base and what they were saying was, you know, it’s not enough just to test for smoke taint. So look at it from the standpoint that if you walked into a doctor’s office and you said you’re sick, and then turned around and walked out, what would you do with that information? One of the things was, can we give them a trial size system where they can test small batches prior to moving on to a much larger RO (Reverse Osmosis) remediation.

before they bite the bullet and do several thousand litres of production.”

“We give them the opportunity to do things like smoke taint reduction, ethanol reductions, and a number of other things to modify their wine on a smaller scale

The method was originally developed in Australia, which suffered massive wildfires in 2003, the same year the ThompsonOkanagan region experienced the infamous Summer of Fire. Dahlberg says his company adopted the technique, and when the Mendocino Fires hit California in 2008 they were able to salvage millions of litres of high quality wines.

The reverse osmosis machine was obtained from Winesecrets, a company based in Napa Valley and owned by Eric Dahlberg. “This is a laboratory scale version of the filtration equipment that we’ve been using since 2004 to remove a variety of different wine imperfections,” said Dahlberg. “We started building miniature ones maybe 10 years ago, so that the winemakers could see what their wine would taste like, following whatever process they thought they wanted.”

In the Okanagan Valley, smoke taint remediation is done by Cellar Dweller, which has three of the larger RO machines. But Peterson says the BTAC machine is critical because it takes the risk out of remediating a full batch of wine. “It’s a big risk when you’re talking about literally thousands of litres of product where you might just want a small tweak and it might not end up the way you want it or expect it to,” Peterson says. “So, we can give them a small-scale adjustment, and that can scale up to what Cellar Dweller can do on a larger scale. It takes a lot of the risk out of it.” Dahlberg notes the equipment can do a lot more than just remove the molecules that cause smoke taint, so in some ways, it’s a tool to improve wine that may have been affected by a wide variety of issues. For example, if a winemaker is trying to produce a smoother wine with lower alcohol, but the weather hasn’t cooperated, the Test Track machine can often discern what process is needed to achieve that taste profile. The Test Track reverse osmosis machine can remove smoke taint, lower alcohol levels and remove other unwanted molecules that affect the taste of wine. 28 Innovation 2022

“They operate at a variety of different

pressures with different membranes and different accessories, so they produce different results,” Dahlberg explains. “And the test track will do all those things at a smaller scale, so they can concentrate colour, they can remove alcohol, if there’s vinegar or other off-flavors from fermentation problems they can get rid of that, and of course also take out smoke taint, so it’s a very targeted way to remove unwanted traits at the molecular level.” Peterson says his group has already worked on different experiments with a number of local wineries, not just on smoke taint, but on reducing alcohol levels. The wineries generally reach out to us directly and say things like, ‘Hey look, we’ve got a stop ferment, can you help us do a few ethanol reductions to see if we can get it restarted’? Or, they come to us and say we’re looking at innovating and creating a non-alcoholic version of our white and red wines, can you give us a hand? “The emphasis is certainly with smoke taint, and we’ll hear them say you know, ‘we’re

doing a malo ferment right now, and this kind of smells like an ashtray. We’re really concerned about it. Can you give us a hand’?” In most cases BTAC works on a fee-forservice basis, but the service is very affordable, usually costing, as Peterson says, a few hundred dollars for the testing. If the testing results in a workable plan to salvage the wine, then wineries can contact Cellar Dweller to have that technique applied to the entire batch. In some cases, Peterson says wineries come up with novel problems that result in BTAC getting a research grant from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), so the winery only needs to pay a nominal intake fee. We have to make this affordable or no one’s ever going to want to do a test trial,” Peterson says. “So, for a few hundred dollars they can do the test trial, and with our system we’re typically asking for somewhere between 10 to 15 litres to test, so it’s become a unique opportunity to assist wineries with what

has become an all too common problem here in the Okanagan with smoke taint.” Winemakers can learn more at www.okanagan.bc.ca/bcbtac, and can contact BTAC by phone 250-492-4305 ext. 3360, or by email at bcbtac@okanagan.bc.ca

Innovation 2022



Kubota Introduces Next Generation Tractor Models Good news for Kubota’s fiercely loyal fan base, as the company announced two new additions to its legacy Standard L series compact tractor line with the addition of the L3302 and L3902. From its humble beginnings more than 55 years ago, the L Series has been enhanced and refined over generations, building on its reputation for affordability, durability and versatility to become the number one selling compact tractor in North America for over a decade. The addition of these two new L02 models continues to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and “do-it-yourself” lifestyle of Canadians, Kubota says. “The upgrades on our new L02 compact tractors were strategic and universal to introducing the next generation of our popular Standard L Series line,” said Chris Isaac, Product Manager, Compact Tractors. “With the new L3302 and L3902, we added enhanced operator comfort features and modern styling, as well as key operational features – such as the new independent PTO on the HST models – while keeping affordability top of mind.” Powerful Performance Kubota has built a reputation in its class due to the L Series tractor’s power and performance, backed by a Kubota diesel engine. The L02 Series offers two horsepower options, with 33 and 37.5 gross horsepower on the L3302 and L3902, respectively. Equipped with a Common-Rail System (CRS) with electronic controlled fuel injection and designed to reduce noise and vibration for a smooth operator experience, Kubota’s fuel-efficient diesel engines are designed to maximize performance. Both new L02 four-wheel drive models are available with either gear drive or HST transmissions. The HST provides speed and forward/reverse control that can be operated simply by pressing down on the pedal. The gear drive transmission provides power and versatility with eight forward and eight reverse speeds to get the job done. Also, new to the L02 this year is an independent 30 Innovation 2022

Kubota introduces next generation of its popular Standard L Series tractor with two new L02 models: L3302 and L39 PTO on the HST models, allowing for quick engagement of the PTO with an easy flip of a switch while operating the tractor. Modern Styling and Comfort The new L02 Series sets itself apart from its predecessor models with a more spacious operator station, standard rubber floor mats and improved suspension seat with optional arm rests. The ergonomically designed lever grips and steering wheel provide easier access and smooth operation, while the new LED lights and side work lights deliver great visibility in tough conditions. Pulled together with a sleek curve to the bonnet and grill to keep the engine and tractor protected from the elements, the L3302 and L3902 look, feel and operate as a premium compact tractor. Performance-Matched Front Loader Designed specifically for the L3302 and L3902, the LA526 front loader is deeper and has a maximum lift capacity of 1,144

pounds at the pin and a maximum lift height of 94 inches at the pin. The loader valve is designed for simultaneous boom and bucket operation and a regenerative circuit, increasing seed and dump times to maximize productivity. Easily removed without tools or purchasing additional “parking” kits, the LA526 is also more versatile and easy to use. The L3302 and L3902 will be available nationwide in early spring 2022.

Photo by Danielle Rodgers

The Value of Digging a Hole

Keeping vineyard roots from disturbances is important, but exploring what those roots deal with is worth a little ruckus. Innovation 2022


Vine growth and productivity are completely dependent upon healthy soil… Digging holes and looking at the dirt is something that we do – or should be doing – regularly. Amy Richards By Ronda Payne If a random person said the best way to assess vineyard issues was to dig a pit right next to the vines, then hop into it and look around, grape growers would likely laugh and say they were crazy.

The BCGA meeting “provided an opportunity for local growers to come together to talk about soil,” she says. “It was a fantastic opportunity to share experiences and knowledge.”

After all, don’t growers spend much of their time ensuring roots are protected and left alone to do their thing?

Pits are generally about the width of the excavator bucket and a meter or more in depth, right next to the vines. The length is usually about six feet, but this is intuitive as the digging process begins, says Chris Mark, president and CEO with Vintality Tech.

But what if digging a pit could tell all the stories of the vines? Experts are uncovering the benefits of soil pits, which are ideal for learning more about what vine roots deal with, soil qualities and what might be causing localized issues. At a May BC Grapegrowers’ Association event, Amy Richards, director of farming with Phantom Creek Estates, spoke about the value in digging soil pits to better understand the soil and therefore what roots deal with. Taking a soil sample from a foot down can be helpful, but when vines reach much further into the earth, knowing what they come into contact with can explain why some blocks thrive and others struggle. “Growers have been excavating pits to examine their soil as long as there have been growers,” Richards says. “I started digging holes in vineyards as part of my PhD research into understanding soil salinity in drip irrigation back in South Australia, my home state.” The purpose of those study pits was to sample and measure the three-dimensional pattern of water and solute movement under Cabernet sauvignon grapes that had minimal drip-irrigation. But, digging down isn’t just about water interactions. There are many things soil samples can disclose. The difference between a single soil sample and a soil pit is much like the difference between a single bee and a bee hive. Richards has used pits as a diagnostic tool in commercial vineyards ever since her early exploration. 32 Innovation 2022

“A vineyard, it’s an above-ground structure. Most of what’s happening in the vineyard is happening beneath your feet,” he says. “There’s actually an entire structure below the ground, a system that essentially goes down to the bedrock. We’re trying to open up and view – much like you would with a canopy – the structure below. That’s where we get the ‘aha’. All of a sudden it makes sense.” The soil is a world of its own and the visual of a vineyard above and below ground is somewhat like an iceberg both above and below water. Digging down a foot or two simply can’t reveal the whole story. “You think you have one thing, then you dig down and it’s such a different world,” says Mark. “This subsurface information, it’s the most critical thing we can do with you for your vineyard.” In an existing vineyard, use physical observation of the vines and their health to determine digging locations. As Mark explains, once the excavator is on site, the biggest expense has already been incurred. Digging an extra hole (or two or three) is easy to justify. “In existing vineyards with visible issues (stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies and/ or toxicities, for example) soil pits allow the grower to see the growth pattern of the roots,” Richards explains. “Are there any impediments such as a compacted layer or

Amy Richards from Phantom Creek Estates, takes a hands -

high-water table? Characterize the soil type, sample the soil for chemical analysis (pH, organic content, macro and micro nutrients) and identify limitations.” Existing vineyards benefit from soil pits to help diagnose issues, she says, but they are also beneficial in assessing the soil and other subsurface factors when renovating or starting a new vineyard. “Vine growth and productivity are completely dependent upon healthy soil,” she notes. “Digging holes and looking at the dirt is something that we do – or should be doing – regularly.” This is the same underground view Mark holds. He feels that new sites benefit from

Photo by Danielle Rodgers

on approach to examining the vineyard soil.

10, or even 15, pits to examine soil characteristics.

help determine which varietals to plant, where.

“It doesn’t cost that much,” he says. “You want to dig close to, right up to, the vines. You don’t want to do it in the middle, you want to do it right next to the vines.”

“How does it feel? Is it sand or is it clay?” he says of scraping at the soil in the pit at different layers and handling it. “You want to get in there and see what is happening. We recommend bringing a measuring tape with you.”

This seems counter-intuitive to those who have lived by the adage of not disturbing roots, but Mark assures the benefits far outweigh any short-term issues that may be caused. The soil pits are small and only disturb a few plants rather than the row or area that will gain specific care due to the deep-down information that comes back from soil testing. Knowing the soil characteristics can also

A measuring tape and notepad allow for making notes of where samples are taken from within the pit as well as visual observations. “Look at the changes in the layers and the structure,” he says. “Take lots of soil samples. You don’t have to run them right away. You’ve opened up the pit, so take a ton of

samples. You might as well take advantage.” Seal each sample in a bag, label and store them to have them analyzed whenever makes sense. He suggests taking samples from each layer to provide a complete view and adjust management practices based on the full picture. “You can see how the roots are interacting with the soil itself,” he notes. Ultimately, knowing soil characteristics will improve fruit quality and help with decisions that lead to better wine or even greater yield. Appreciating what the soil is contributing can inform all management aspects of the vineyard. It’s a small effort for a big impact. ■ Innovation 2022


Tantalus – Powered by By Gary Symons Tantalus Vineyards has launched an innovative solar energy project that reduces greenhouse gases, and returns a profit to grassroots investors. The project is the brainchild of SolShare Energy and Tantalus, who installed 108 solar panels on the winery’s main building. The solar panels are dual sided, meaning they can produce energy from both sides of the panel. What’s really unique about this solar installation, however, is the business model. Rather than simply buying the panels and pocketing some savings, Tantalus has partnered with SolShare on a community-owned solar project. As the name implies, these types of projects are owned by members of the public, typically with some sort of investment to buy a share of the solar installation in return for dividends. SolShare Energy is a subsidiary of Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op, which runs similar programs allowing people to invest in and profit from renewable energy installations. In this case, Tantalus held an open house in May at its LEEDS-certified winery in East Kelowna, where people were invited to invest for a minimum of $1,000. Tantalus then purchases whatever power it needs from the Solshare installation, while any excess power is sold back to the grid, and a credit is issued by FortisBC. In return for their buy in to the project, investors are paid a regular dividend from the power purchases. 34 Innovation 2022

Photo by Shawn Talbot

the Okanagan Sun

Innovation 2022


Photo by Shawn Talbot

“Our mission is to deliver clean energy to our communities, and in turn, give annual returns to our local investors,” said Robert Baxter, CEO and founder of SolShare Energy. “We’ve completed two prior projects in Vancouver; one with a co-housing complex and another with a small developer. This will be our biggest installation so far.” Baxter believes the Tantalus installation will not only be the largest to date, but also the most profitable, due to the amount of sunshine enjoyed in the Okanagan Valley. “We have consistently paid four per cent over the last four years to our existing community investors, and expect to increase dividends in Kelowna,” he said. “With more than 300 days of sunshine a year in Kelowna, the Tantalus solar installation holds a lot of promise, and is an example to wineries and other businesses in the Okanagan of the potential that sun-powered energy offers.” That type of arrangement is also a bonus for wineries, housing complexes and other types of businesses, as it lowers capital investment, while simultaneously lowering power costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. David Patterson, the general manager and 36 Innovation 2022

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year in Kelowna, the Tantalus solar installation… is an example to wineries… of the potential that sun-powered energy offers. Robert Baxter winemaker at Tantalus, says the 50 kilowatt installation will produce an estimated 60,000 kWh per year, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.8 metric tonnes.

Renewable energy generation is considered the single most important aspect of the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn cause global warming.

The facility will produce between 70 to 100 per cent of the winery’s overall electrical consumption, depending on the weather, and in some cases there can be extra power that is sold to the FortisBC utility.

The reason is that the generation of electricity is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions globally, due to the fact that electricity is often generated using fossil fuels like oil, gas, or coal. In the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), electrical power generation represents 28 per cent of all emissions.

“Partnering with SolShare has enabled us to achieve the goal of significantly reducing our reliance on the grid, without huge upfront costs,” said Patterson. “It’s a win-win.” The open house at the winery was held on May 5, and by May 17 the partners had raised their entire $120,000 goal towards construction of the solar installation.

Global warming from power generation is beginning to decline, however, as renewable energy generation starts to increase. Currently, according to SEIA, solar energy alone is reducing GHG emissions by the same amount as 2 billion full grown trees. ■

Greenhouse Gas Emissions by the Numbers A 2020 report from Climate Watch and the World Resources Institute provides the best example of why reducing energy expenditure in buildings, industry, transportation and agriculture is so important. ■G lobal GHGs for 2016: 49.4 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents. ■P ercentage of emissions for energy consumption: 73.2 per cent That includes: ■ E nergy use in industry: 24.2% ■ E nergy use in buildings: 17.5% ■ E nergy use in transportation: 16.2% The remainder comes from agriculture and fishing, fugitive emissions from energy production, and unallocated fuel combustion. In 2016, agriculture also contributed 20.1% of global GHG emissions, the second highest of any other sector, following industrial production at 24.2%. On The Bright Side …. Renewable energy is growing faster than any other source of power, growing by 3% in 2020, and more than 8% in 2021. The share of renewable energy generation jumped to 29% of the world’s total energy production in 2020. Solar and Wind power now contribute roughly two-thirds of renewables growth. Canada currently places seventh on the list of countries generating the most gigawatts of power from renewable sources, and is the smallest country in the Top 10 by population. The Top 10 countries are, from most to least: China, the US, Brazil, India, Germany, Japan, Canada, France, Italy and Russia.

Photos by Shawn Talbot

Canada currently produces 103 gigawatts of renewable energy. The US, with 10 times the population, produces 325 gigawatts, and first-place China, with over 1 billion people, produces 1,020 gigawatts.

Innovation 2022


Sponsored Article

Biostimulant Solutions Increase Wine Grape Quality & Offer Sustainable Approach Efforts to improve sustainability and increase productivity in agriculture are being encouraged globally. More growers are turning to Ascophyllum nodosum extracts within their crop management program to assist with this goal. “High-quality wine starts with high-quality inputs, that lead to top performing vines,” says Dr. Holly Little, Director of Research and Development, Acadian Plant Health™. Foliar applications of Ascophyllum nodosum extracts have been increasingly utilized as a strategy to improve grape quality. Growing regions are facing unpredictable climatic conditions which affect grape ripening dynamics, productivity, and quality. “Global research trials prove that incorporating Acadian Plant Health seaweed extracts into vineyard input programs results in improved plant establishment, as well as improved nutrient uptake and distribution within the plant. Trials on grapes using Stella Maris® found reduced transplant shock, increased new roots and shoots, increased

38 Innovation 2022

root length, and increased chlorophyll content in leaves,” says Dr. Little. Increasing environmental challenges throughout the season affect yields and long-term vineyard health. Stella Maris enhances the tolerance of abiotic stresses and improves grapevine resistance to water stress, consequently improving plant yield and berry quality. In trials, the rachis length was measured and treatments with Stella Maris increased rachis length. Longer, looser bunches allow for better spray penetration, resulting in healthier berries. Stella Maris elicits the production of anthocyanins, which are important for stress protection and contribute to the quality of juice for wine. “I recommend a combination of foliar and soil applications of Stella Maris throughout the season to gain the most long-term benefits,” Dr. Little said. Foliar applications for in-season stress mitigation helps with berry, and ultimately, wine quality. Bunches from plants treated with Stella Maris had less vari-

Wine Grape Trial ‘Merlot’. Roots pruned to same length prior to planting. Post four weeks, treated plant (right) had a much larger increase in root mass compared to the Control vine (left).

ation in Brix within bunches and between vines. This indicates more uniform maturity and ripening, leading to improved wine quality. Check out the crop application programs on our website. Acadian Plant Health products are used in soil and foliar inputs on over 70 crops in more than 80 countries worldwide.


Establishing Sub-GIs Key to Future of BC Wines professionals from across the world.

British Columbia is home to a number of grape growing regions, each producing distinct styles of wine but sharing in a rich history and awe-inspiring landscapes. The cool climate terroir sets the stage for exceptional wine. Now with 30+ years behind the modern industry, BC can count itself as an established and premium wine region that attracts wine tourists as well as wine

The wine regions of BC are identified by ‘Geographical Indications’ (GI’s). With a focus on terroir-driven wines, the BC wine industry is naturally looking towards the creation of ‘Sub Geographical Indications’ (sub-GI’s) in certain sites. “It’s time to recognize areas that stand out as having consistently unique terroir,” says Miles Prodan, President & CEO of Wine Growers British Columbia. “It is the next step in providing wine drinkers with additional assurance of origin and quality when they are buying a bottle of BC wine.” Much like the study of wine itself, the creation of a region of

distinction has to do with the people, the place, and the history. Take, for example, the most recently approved sub-GI in the southern Okanagan Valley: Golden Mile Slopes. Honouring the place, the geographical boundaries of Golden Mile Slopes are based around the natural features of gentle east-facing alluvial fan footslopes and glaciofluvial landforms existing between the western valley wall of Mount Kobau and the floodplain of the Okanagan River. This area is deemed ideal for premium wine production due to the history of Pleistocene glacial retreat and post-glacial erosion resulting in the landscape formation as well as sediment

deposits in the soil optimal for viticulture. The borders of the Golden Mile Slopes sub-GI respect existing natural and community features and are based only on sites primed for the production of quality wine grapes, for example, excluding the floodplain of the Okanagan River with its high water table and likelihood of consistent shoulder season frosts. The defining features of Golden Mile Slopes include Mount Kobau, which allows for vineyard sites east of the Mount’s western aspect to enjoy early sunlight when ambient temperatures are coolest and limited afternoon exposure during the heat of the day. Mount Ko-

VS Spreaders from Kubota

The VS220-330 is the smallest model of the unique Kubota pendulum spreader range. A variety of spouts for different applications and spreading widths makes it possible to spread fertilizer, seeds, sand, salt, pellets or any other granular product up to 14 meters. A hardwearing Poly-Ethylene hopper with a capacity of 330 litres. This is an optimal spreader for working in small areas. GERARD’S EQUIPMENT 5592 Hwy 97,Oliver BC 250-498-2524 or 250-498-6231 www.gerardsequipment.com

Innovation 2022


Meet our Agriculture Services Team We are dedicated to helping you achieve your business goals and creating a flexible and customized banking solution that is right for your farming operation.

bau also provides vineyards with cool wind flows, preserving acidity in the fruit. The presence of ideal landscape features and coarse, stony soil combined with low rainfall allows for the production superior quality red wines with good balance, deep colour, ripe fruit flavours and aroma, and ample body. The most planted variety in Golden Miles Slopes sub-GI is Merlot, followed by Cabernet Franc. The area is also making a name for premium Pinot Gris. Criteria for the application of a proposed new Sub-GI*

Jeremy Siddall District Vice President Pacific Agriculture Services British Columbia 250-681-4656 jeremy.siddall@td.com

Jamie Rivard, B .Comm Account Manager BC Interior 250-552-0638 Jamie.Rivard@td.com

Ready for you

® The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. M05336 (1118)

• The area must be geographically distinct and have clearly defined boundaries • Appropriate consultations must have taken place in the area and the region surrounding the area, with no credible objections made on the basis that the area is not geographically distinct • Grape production in the area must be commercially viable • The administrator must hold a vote, by ballot, with respect to the proposal, and the proposal must be supported by at least 2/3 of the following: - The practice standards certificate holders who process, in the area, at least 2/3 of the total wine processed from grapes grown in that area - The registered grape growers who grow at least 2/3 of the total volume of grapes grown in that area by registered grape growers *British Columbia Food and Agricultural Products Classification Act: Wines of Marked Quality Regulation. B.C. Reg. 168/2018. Section 9 (3).

BC wine connoisseurs are encouraged to explore the established sub-GI’s of British Columbia wine regions by taking note of their mention on wine labels! Learn more about each of the approved Sub-GI’s below: Okanagan Valley GI • Golden Mile Bench Sub-GI • Okangan Falls Sub-GI • Skaha Bench Sub-GI • Naramata Bench Sub-GI • Golden Mile Slopes Sub-GI Vancouver Island GI • Cowichan Valley Sub-GI ■ Kelly Josephson, Communications Manager, Wine Growers British Columbia, #BCWineMonth @WineBCdotcom 40 Innovation 2022


8 Ways to Turn Wine Awards into Marketing Gold 1. Update Product Descriptions on Web Store & Add to Tech Sheets Use this industry achievement as a “badge” on your winery’s online store and sell sheets. These additions act as visual reminders and credibility enhancers for anyone who visits your site in the future. 2. Display Award in Your Shop Sip, sip, hooray! Congratulations on winning an accolade for your winery; now it’s time to announce this to the rest of the world, humbly and strategically of course. Why Awards Can Be Marketing Gold Whether it’s the renowned National Wine Awards or British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards, industry achievements are powerful marketing tools your winery can leverage. They help solidify your winery’s reputation and credibility as the cream of the crop, and set you apart from competitors. Not only can you use this news to generate positive media coverage, it also reminds tasting room visitors of your product’s quality and commitment to excellence. Most importantly, awards recognize the efforts of your staff, instilling pride, boosting morale, and spotlighting your team’s talent and overall “awesome-ness.” 8 Ways to Make the Most of An Award I don’t suggest you win an award, have an internal “huzzah”, and then tuck the award away. Use the external accolade to your advantage. Here’s how:

In addition to digital mediums, showcase the award in your wine shop. If you get a physical medal, hang it from the wine that won the award. Makes a great talking point in the wine shop. 3. Enhance Your Retail Listing An extension of the award in your own shop is to make a shelf talker, or neck tag or even a sticker for the bottle that can get applied to the bottle in the retail locations where the awarded wine is sold. Note that you or your sales team might be the ones to apply. 4. Post on Social Media The fastest way to share any news is through social media. When crafting posts for Instagram or Facebook, be sure to include thank yous to the organizers and judges, tag accounts appropriately, utilize related hashtags, and end with a call-toaction directing followers to your website to drive traffic. If your team is on LinkedIn, repurpose content for your professional connections and add the award under your “Accomplishments,” or as a mention in the “About” section on all your winery’s social profiles. Get creative with the latest and greatest social media features, such as

The BC Fruit Growers’ Association

Supporting Members through programs:

extended 60 to 90 second Instagram Reels, or go LIVE. 5. Distribute a Press Release An official press release is a great way to announce the news, generate publicity and garner attention, but make sure that the award is significant and newsworthy in order to gain traction via media outlets. Leverage your press contacts to help spread the word. Create interest among regional and national wine affiliates actively subscribed to press feeds. Remember to include outbound links to your winery’s website to boost SEO!


❶ Free printed spray schedules ❷ EFP Incentive Program ($250). ❸ Green Spark Consulting Services - Discount on housing bylaw assistance ❹ Coming Soon! COR Safety Certification Incentive ($250)

There are many ways to celebrate winning an award – some as simple as the welcome sign at your door like at Blasted Church

➔ BCFGA provides free magazine subscriptions to Orchard and Vine, Country Life in BC, The Grower and (coming soon!) Good Fruit Grower. ➔ BCFGA provides assistance to members to complete Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program applications, backed by an accredited Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant.

Innovation 2022


6. Send Out an E-newsletter Share the announcement with your curated list of subscribers through an email newsletter. Current, past, and future customers may miss the update on your website or social channels, so send the news directly to their inboxes informing them of your team’s accomplishment, what it means for your winery, and add a call-to-action encouraging them to explore more. 7. Encourage Team to Share the News Speaking of your team, also send out internal communication celebrating this success to drum up excitement. Make this email personal, such as with a special message and genuine thank-you from the founders. Go the extra mile and host a celebration to thank them, and make them feel proud of what you’ve all accomplished. Your staff are your best brand advocates and ambassadors, as well as the people who contributed to winning the award for your winery, and will gladly help spread the news.

Posting on Instagram, is an excellent example of how to make the most of an award. 8. Onto the Next Keep in mind that not all award competitions are created equal, or in other words, not always the right fit for your winery’s goals or aligns with how you hope to position your brand. Oftentimes, wine competition awards are not meaningful to the public, and all they become is an additional talking point for tasting room staff.

Unsworth Vineyards posted their win on Instagram.

Think strategically when researching and deciding which awards to submit for and choose ones that will resonate with your target audience. For example, if all of your winery’s tasting room visitors are from the United States, the Los Angeles County Fair Awards may be worth considering, but they might not know anything about the All Canadian Wine Awards.

Another strategy is to enter competitions where you want the judges to take notice of your brand. Getting your wines tasted by some of the award’s global, prestigious judging panels and bringing home an award is not only the cherry on top, it is also a relationship-building opportunity. Many judges are also wine reviewers, so think long-term and privately send a note to each judge to thank them after the competition.■ Leeann Froese owns Town Hall Brands – a marketing and graphic design agency with 25 years experience branding and promoting beverage alcohol, food, and hospitality. See more at townhallbrands.com or on social @ townhallbrands

Vineyard Mulch Spreaders Custom Equipment Built to Last

Engineered for Precise Mulch Application. For moisture evaporation *weed control amendments * enhancing soil tilth. • Follower hitch for tight turns around end rows • Available with Quick Change discharge system • Belt discharge for on the row & spinners discharge for broadcast spreading Engineered for all applications: Mulch, Sawdust, Shavings, Manure, Solids, Gypsum, Organic Compost, Wood Chips etc.

Whatcom Manufacturing Mulch Spreaders Save Time and Money Also Available Orchard Mulchers Fertilizer Spreaders and much more …

42 Innovation 2022

Call today to locate a dealer near you and schedule a demo!

Whatcom Manufacturing Inc. Lynden Washington • Phone: 360.354.3094 www.whatcommfg.com • info@whatcommfg.com


Innovation – The Reality Versus The Hype

Innovation is more than just doing something differently. The change must be an improvement. The improvement could be to use fewer resources, speed up a task, improve quality, or increase output. “Higher, Faster, Stronger” (the Olympic motto) captures the improvement side, but it is the change, or ‘break with the past,’ that provides the second key to innovation - doing things differently.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the world comes to see what is new in electronics - a showcase for innovative products - it will be John Deere (the tractor maker) making the keynote speaker. John Deere was not even at the show in 2019! Bringing technological innovation to the collection of production data, combined with the locational precision of GPS, is revolutionizing field crop production for field crops and John Deere is a leader. John Deere has been making tractors for many decades, with gradual improvements brought to new models every few years. Comparing one year’s tractor models to the next shows is incremental improvement

(though sales staff will promote it as the ‘latest and greatest’). The innovation is marrying modern electronic and software technology. Now, instead of harvesting crops, growers are managing their field crops on an entirely new, smaller scale. Precision agriculture is born. Are other trends going to succeed? One way to judge the chance of success is whether the hype precedes the economic benefits of the new technology. “Precision agriculture” emerged from the real observations that, for example, applying nutrients at different rates to individual plants would be an economic improvement: fertilizer would be directed where it does the most good. Nutrients are not applied at the same rate to an

entire field - over-applying to some plants and leaving other plants without enough fertilizer. For irrigation, the technology is not at the plant level, but rather responding to the soil moisture in the local area within a field. In this case, ‘precision’ is responding to localized plant moisture needs and stresses. The precision irrigation is based on measurement (soil moisture probes, and perhaps evapotranspiration) and adjusting irrigation rates accordingly. For most tree fruit growers who use soil moisture probes, the soil moisture probe information is observed and irrigation schedules are manually adjusted (from an informal survey of growers last year). The next step, and adding to the precision,


the best


• Strong HDPE knit, open-mesh nets • 10 year UV warranty • Easy to apply and remove • Hail, shade, rain & other fabrics • Nets for grapes, cherries & berry crops • Custom nets and structures







• Strong HDPE knitted fabric • 10 year UV warranty • Easy to apply and remove • Adjustable reflectivity • Good porosity to prevent water buildup • Custom widths available


HIGH QUALITY REFLECTIVE COVERS 250-488-2374 Farmsolutions.net

Neal Carter & Assoc. info@farmsolutions.net Innovation 2022


is to control irrigation systems with automated valves. The valves are electronically opened or closed by a controller receiving input from the soil moisture probes.



To increase adoption of the advances in precise irrigation technology, funding is available for soil moisture probes and automated valves from the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program. To further encourage its members, the BCFGA is providing $250 for growers to get an EFP in place. This is an opportunity to implement a practical, effective, precision irrigation system on orchards in BC. It is clear that we cannot innovate everything all of the time. If that happened, things would be very inefficient; standard practices and routine ways of doing things increase efficiency. We can also streamline or simplify and make productivity gains without innovation. John Deere made these continuous improvements before it made the innovation leap by adding the innovative precision agriculture to its tractors. Innovation has another characteristic, it is based on knowledge or analysis. Innovation is ‘insightful’, there is an ‘aha’ moment. Then the hard work begins to refine and perfect the innovation. An example of an innovation is the creation and introduction of many newer rootstocks in the recent decade or two, followed by a lot of research effort to determine the performance of the rootstock for the different scion varieties. The innovation of grafting apples onto dwarfing rootstocks was insightful: shorter time to full production, more intensive use of land, and less time moving ladders! Once the new idea gained a foothold, there were many years of research and demonstration, trial and error, and learning before successful commercialization in BC. In fact, we are still at it - development of new rootstocks and varieties continues, perhaps even accelerates over time. There is a lot of discussion among producers about anecdotal evidence on rootstock-scion performance under different growing conditions, showing a need for further research. Sometimes conditions change and the innovation needs to change: with climate change, we need to determine which rootstocks perform well in water deficits (drought) and extreme heat. The BCFGA is considering investing in rootstock-climate-change research in the coming years. No discussion on innovation in the BC tree fruit sector could be complete without

44 Innovation 2022

mentioning our unique innovations. We are world leaders in sterile insect technology used for Codling Moth. At the inception of the program, damage levels were 5% of the crop (about $5 million annually of wholesale value) and growing due to increasing resistance of Codling Moth to chemical controls. Now, average damage level is below the economic threshold of 0.2%, and pesticide control of Codling Moth has been minimized. Another unique innovation is the breeding program for cherries. Dr. Charles Lapins in the early 1970’s created the new Lapin cherry and this line has continued to evolve into ever-later ripening cherry varieties, giving BC cherry producers the first dibs on the cherries that are taking the world by storm. BC is truly a world leader with these two innovations in Sterile Insect Technology for Codling Moth and the creation of a new line of late season cherries. No hype here! Agriculture has innovated through automation since the industrial revolution. In the information age, agriculture is innovating by adopting new remote sensing and computer processing technologies. This note has focused on practical technologies available now - the ones that are proven and beyond the hype. However, there are exciting new technologies emerging in machine intelligence, genomics, automation, and robotics that are being driven by the practical consideration of economic benefit. Innovation in agriculture looks to be accelerating. Growers will need to be both aware of new developments as well as more attentive to the economics of adopting new technology and production practices. Beware the hype and look for practical economic benefits! ■

AG CENTRE: Chilliwack


44725 Yale Road West, Chilliwack, BC 604-792-1301

21869-56th Avenue, Langley, BC 1-800-665-9060



202-150 Campion Street, Kelowna, BC 250-765-8266

3306 Smiley Road, Chemainus, BC 250-246-1203

Glen Lucas, P.Ag., General Manager, BC Fruit Growers’ Association

Toll Free 1-800-242-9737 www.rollinsmachinery.com

SUBSCRIBE Delivery to Canada or the United States 6 times per year. Get your copy delivered to your mailbox! www.orchardandvine.net/Subscribe


Providing Canadian Grapevine Solutions BRITISH COLUMBIA Phone 250.809.6040 bcsales@vinetech.ca

ONTARIO Phone 905.984.4324 sales@vinetech.ca Innovation 2022



Val Tait: Award Winning Winemaker at Gold Hill Gold Hill Winery in Oliver may not be a household name in BC, but it’s very highly regarded by those who really know Okanagan wines. Gold Hill has won the Lieutenant Governor’s wine award three times, a feat few can match, and the winery also supplies grapes for other award-winning wines throughout the region. The mind behind the wine belongs to Val Tait, who has been a hands-on viticulturist and winemaker in the Okanagan wine industry for almost three decades. We thought, it’s way past time we featured Val in our Winemaker Profile! O&V: How did you get started in the wine industry? Val Tait: I was working as a researcher at the Agricultural Research Center in Summerland after graduating with a molecular genetics/ biochemistry degree. I was studying plant viruses at the time with a focus on vitis vinifera (wine grape viruses). At that time I met Alex Nichol, who was the founder of Nichol Vineyards. He introduced me to a killer Riesling from Alsace region, and my love of wine was born. At the same time I began working closely with winegrowers who thought the vines had viral infections, but instead had nutrient deficiency disorders. I much preferred interacting with wine growers than working alone in the lab with mice, rabbits and chickens (as virus amplifiers). I also really started to enjoy wine. Both factors brought me to the wine industry.

46 Innovation 2022

O&V: Where did you go to school or apprentice, and what did you get out of that? Val Tait: Once I decided I wanted to work in wine production I returned to school, studying Oenology and Viticulture at UC Davis, near Napa, California. When I returned, I had more technical knowledge than most of the industry and I got a ton of work. O&V: Have you worked or studied in any other countries, and what was that like? Val Tait: I have worked in a few other countries doing harvest mostly in the Southern Hemisphere: New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Washington State. O&V: What is your favourite varietal to work with and why? Val Tait: Hands down Cabernet franc is my favourite. This varietal does exceptionally well in the South Okanagan, yielding a medium bodied, elegant red wine with balance and ripe lush tannins. This varietal could be a signature varietal for the South Okanagan and it performs very well when compared with premium single varietal Cabernet francs from around the world. O&V: What is the best thing about your job? Val Tait: The best thing about my job is that wine production is wholly dependent on natural processes that depend for the most part on a varying microclimate that changes every year, resulting in many changing variables in which I can apply many decisions, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The authenticity of the expression of the vintage in the wines produced from each harvest is

Val Tait, General Manager & Winemaker at Gold Hill Winery. very exciting and can be easily experienced just by tasting through the wines produced from each harvest. O&V: Is there a particular wine or vintage that you have made that you are most proud of? Val Tait: I feel very proud of a Cabernet franc block that is found at our Estate vineyard. I have made a Cabernet franc wine from that block every year that it has produced since 2009. I strongly believe that this is one of the best vineyard blocks in Canada. ■

Powerful speed Trenolin® FastFlow

All Erbslöh products are stocked and shipped from Scott Labs NEW Penticton facility

Highly active pectinase for intensive pectin degradation and improved filtration


ad-ov-trenolin_fastflow-7_5x10.indd 1

19.04.2022 2022 16:37:45 47 Innovation

Narrow enough to work between the vines, the Kubota M5N has the adaptability and strength to get more done in less space. Its electro-hydraulic shuttle lets you make quick directional changes, while the bevel gear front axle gives you an ultra-tight turning radius. One thing that’s not cramped? The redesigned cab that’s built for comfort. Kubota offers a wide range of implements, with an RPM management system that makes using them easier and more efficient. ABBOTSFORD

Avenue Machinery Corp.

1521 Sumas Way



North Island Tractor

3663 S. Island Hwy



Kemlee Equipment Ltd.

N.W. Boulevard



Island Tractor & Supply

4650 Trans Canada Hwy



Avenue Machinery Corp.

1090 Stevens Road



Gerard’s Equipment Ltd.

Hwy 97 South



Avenue Machinery Corp.

7155 Meadowlark Road


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.