Orchard & Vine Innovations Issue 2021

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Farming with Heart in Westbank Creating a Better Smarter Bung Training Vines with Vigour Canadian Winemaker Series: Pénélope Roche

Innovation 2021 $6.95

Display Until Sep 30, 2021 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40838008 www.orchardandvine.net

2021 Innovation Issue


Innovation 2021

Innovation 2021



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David Sommer from Barrelwise working on the lathe.

CONTENTS 8 Publisher's View – Lisa Olson 10 News & Events 15 Innovations 29 Barrelwise Creates a Better Bung


31 Farming With Heart In Westbank, BC 35 Training Vines with Vigour

The trellis system at King Family Vineyards.

39 Seeds of Growth – Glen Lucas 41 The Word on Wine – Carie Jones 43 Marketing Mix – Leeann Froese


Penny enjoying the shade at Saini Orchards. 6

Innovation 2021

46 C anadian Winemaker Series: Pénélope Roche Cover photo of Usha and Parm Saini with their dog Penny at Saini Orchards in West Kelowna. Photo by Gary Symons.

Photo contributed


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Many Forms of Innovation


Vol. 62, No 4 Innovation 2021

ummer is back, but this time, we have the freedom to travel, to meet friends, and visit the farms and wineries with few restrictions.

Established in 1959 Publisher Lisa Olson

As always in the summer, at O&V we are thinking about innovation, and inside this issue we have found some goodies for you! Aluminum wine bottles that have a multipurpose use afterward, vegan leather for purses made from pomace, a safer sanitizing product for packing fruit, numerous apps, solar, lots of robotics, and learning about the “Double Scott Henry with a V,” a highyield trellis system that sounds like a type of Boy Scout knot.

Editor Gary Symons Graphic Design Stephanie Symons Photo by Kimberly Brooke Photography


As well, Indigenous World Winery has introduced its first distiller’s blend with some new interesting hints of vanilla, strawberry, apricot, baking spices and coffee. Innovation is not always about new ways of doing things quicker or better, even though that’s what we focus on in the Innovation Issue. There is also a lot of value in doing things that work well and keeping it that way. Growing food with love is a great achievement in itself and something for anyone to be very proud of. We came to learn about the farming practices of Usha Saini, who year after year puts her love and caring tactics back into the soil, and it shows in her sought-after fruit. We jumped on the chance to tell the story of her, her family and neighbours who help bringing Usha’s fruit to market.

One thing I have learned over the years is that we all have something to offer, no matter how big, small or insignificant it may be. Whether it’s inventing new products, running a large company, or even simply making someone a sandwich with love, it all matters. Now more than ever, it’s important to have compassion for others, as we may not understand or comprehend what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Take a moment to think about what you feel is the best option for you and your family. I hope you have a fantastic summer. Enjoy the magazine!

Leeann Froese, Carie Jones, Kimberly Brooke Photography, Glen Lucas, Ronda Payne, Gary Symons, Tom Walker 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:

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Innovation 2021

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Clos du Soleil Moves Toward Fully Organic

When Clos du Soleil added Whispered Secret to their already stellar lineup of vineyards in 2020, they continued to convert the vineyard to fully organic status, with this certification being the culmination of a three-year transition process. As Winemaker and Manager Director Michael Clark explains, “Organic certification is really central to our whole approach at Clos du Soleil. We put a great deal of effort into producing wines of place, wines that speak of the land on which they were grown. Organic practices are a crucial part of that process by encouraging healthy soils, and healthy vines, which make for more


Clos du Soleil is thrilled to reveal that their recently purchased Whispered Secret Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley, BC, has been granted organic certification.

expressive wines. I’m so pleased that Whispered Secret Vineyard has achieved full certification now, as it is a very special property to us, and this certification recognizes the efforts we make to showcase this terroir.” Special how? “Before being presented with the opportunity to purchase this

secret gem, we had already been working with grapes grown here since 2014,” says Clark. Initially buying just the Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the original owners, and eventually leasing the vineyard, Clark and his winemaking team became more and more enamoured with this secret pocket of land. Converting to fully organic status was a nobrainer when the chance arose. “We believe that organic farming is a moral obligation when one becomes a steward of land," said Vineyard and Operations Manager Steve Roche. "It’s endeavouring to leave the soil as a living entity, a microcosm displaying the results of years of hard work, soils that are alive with micro fauna and flora, soils that give rise to wines that show where they come from as opposed to what they come from.”

Roche Wines Celebrates 10 Years The founders of Naramata’s Roche Winery are celebrating a decade of winemaking, as founders Pénélope and Dylan Roche brought their traditional French savoir-faire to the famed Naramata Bench terroir in 2011. Pénélope is a trained viticulturist and winemaker from Bordeaux. For six generations her family owned Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion, an exquisite vineyard and winery in the Graves appellation whose history dates back to Roman times.

The couple moved to the Okanagan after the family winery was sold in 2010, with Pénélope acting as viticulturalist and Dylan the winemaker. The winery focuses on small-lot wines, making only 200-500 cases of each wine. With the exception of two Bordeaux-style blends, every wine on their portfolio is of single vineyard origin. These include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Rosé.

Photo by David Mcilvride

Pénélope studied in Bordeaux, and made wine in Spain, New Zealand, and Australia. Vancouver-born Dylan earned his diploma in viticulture and winemaking in Beaune, then apprenticed in Chablis and New Zealand before relocating to Bordeaux.

Pénélope and Dylan Roche in their vineyard.

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Indigenous World Introduces First Distiller's Blend

Indigenous is already a widely acclaimed winery, but has also developed a premium craft distillery under the guidance of Colin Wertz, the company’s “distiller extraordinaire,” who’s in charge of crafting and overseeing spirit production and distillation. The first distiller’s blend from Indigenous consists of a batch of eight barrels, aged

in carefully chosen ex-port and cognac barrels to shape the new whiskey into what will undoubtedly become an Indigenous World guest favourite. Whisky fans will likely want to act fast to take advantage of this historic limited release. The Indigenous whiskey boasts tasting notes that includes vanilla, strawberries, apricot, baking spices and toffee, with a smooth and lingering mouthfeel that hints of smoke and with a beautiful peppery finish.

Photo by Indigenous Wrld

Indigenous World unveiled its greatly anticipated craft whiskey in May after four years in the barrel.



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Built in BC Wine Barrel Bunkies

A Vancouver Island company is serving the agritourism market in a unique way, building luxurious ‘bunkies’ or sleeping accommodations out of large wine barrels. Photo https://www.canadiansleepingbarrels.com/

One Of A Kind Creative Woodcrafting specializes in creating unique, natural living spaces that co-exist with nature, and has begun building hand-crafted, red cedar ‘sleeping barrels’ for use in resorts, wineries, B&B operations, ‘glamping’ campgrounds, or for extra sleeping space at the family cabin. If the idea seems a bit outlandish, consider that wine barrel bunkies are becoming a hot new trend in Europe for tourists on wine tours. Founder Dave Byers says the sleeping barrels “have become extremely popular with wineries in parts of Europe.” BC company is making wine barrel living spaces for 'glamping'.

Photo https://quintadapacheca.com

“These Sleeping Barrels are becoming popular with resorts, campgrounds, and the B&B industry. They are just under the 100 square foot limit, so they require no permits. “We now also offer financing, which makes it easier to purchase multiple units and get into this type of the hospitality business.” https://www.canadiansleepingbarrels.com

Photo https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/24430239

Quinta da Pacheca estate in Douro, Portugal, where guests at the vineyard can stay in giant wine barrels.

It didn’t take long for Orchard & Vine to find some impressive examples of sleeping barrels, not just in Europe, but in Canada as well. For example, at the Quinta da Pacheca estate in Douro, Portugal, guests at the vineyard can stay in giant, luxuriously appointed wine barrels. There are 10 barrels, all designed by property owners Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves. Quinta da Pacheca is a famous estate winery in Portugal set up for tourism with a variety of accommodation options, but one of the favourite for wine travellers is the opportunity to sleep in a giant wine barrel in the heart of the Douro Valley. In Ontario’s wine region, a houseboat is listed on Airbnb that is built from a gigantic, red cedar wine barrel transformed into a small floating bedroom. The barrel boasts a panoramic window with views of the surrounding vineyards. In BC, Byers and his team have already built accommodations at a golf resort in Qualicum Beach, a B&B style resort in Pender Harbour, at GPO Charters in Ucluelet, and at the Pacheedaht First Nations campground in Port Renfrew. There have been no winery customers yet, but Byers says the concept is an economical way to create winery accommodations that people will talk about for the rest of their lives. “Travel has now changed as we know it, and folks are looking for new and unique adventures closer to home,” Byers says. 12 Innovation 2021

An Ontario Airbnb built from a gigantic, red cedar wine barrel transformed into a floating bedroom.

Wine Auction Record $17,625 A 1992 Screaming Eagle has set a world record, selling for $17,625 during Iron Gate Wine's online auction that closed May 18. The price is the highest ever paid for a single bottle of the famous ’92 Screaming Eagle vintage, set just two months after Iron Gate began its online auction operation. The auction yielded strong prices in all categories, with an impressive offering of Bordeaux and Burgundy leading the way, grossing $673,510 overall.

Continued Growth For BC Wine Grape Acreage

Over 35,000



The acreage dedicated to vineyards has increased by eight per cent since 2014, according to the 2019 BC Wine Grape Acreage Report. BC is now home to 11,086 acres of wine grapes, up from 10,260 acres in 2014. The report further shows growth in the number of vineyards from 929 in 2014 to 1,049 in 2019, and the number of grape wineries in the province has also increased to its present count of 282, up 11 per cent from 254 in 2014. The Penticton, Naramata and Kaledan region boasts the highest percentage increase of total wineries at 18.4 per cent. Oliver and Osoyoos saw the largest increase of grape acreage at 7.3 per cent and remains the major source of acreage in BC with just over 50 per cent of plantings.

When one cold night can ruin an entire year’s hard work...

Top wine grapes planted in 2019 show only slight variance from the previous report, with Pinot Noir replacing Pinot Gris as the second most planted variety. Merlot remains the top planted red grape with 1,618 acres planted and Pinot Gris remains the top planted white grape at 1,166 acres planted. In order of acreage, 2019’s top 10 most planted wine varieties in order of acres are as follows:

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4. Chardonnay 1,132.31 acres

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5. Cabernet Sauvignon 853.41 acres 6. Cabernet Franc 719.52 acres 7. Gewürztraminer 646.47 acres 8. Riesling 613.13 acres 9. Syrah 553.86 acres 10. Sauvignon Blanc 403.01 acres The full report is available on WineBC. com, as well as on the BC Wine Grape Council website: bcwgc.org and the BC Grapegrowers’ Association website: grapegrowers.bc.ca.

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Innovation 2021 13

New Owners at Oliver’s Stoneboat Vineyards

The Verhoeff Group of Companies has purchased Stoneboat Vineyards, located on the Black Sage Bench in Oliver, BC. The business continues to be familyowned, changing hands from Julie and Lanny Martiniuk to the Verhoeff family. Led by husband-wife duo Kyla Richey and Rudy Verhoeff, the new owners keep the Stoneboat Vineyards name and are eager to build upon the legacy of the Martiniuks. The winery staff are staying on with new

ownership, including winemaker William (Bill) Adams, and general manager Levi Gogolinski. Industry veteran Pascal Madevon joins the team as consulting winemaker to work with Bill in the cellar. “Our family is thrilled to make its entrance into the BC wine industry by taking over from the Martiniuks, a family that has established their name as a top-quality grape grower and producer on the Black Sage Bench,” says Rudy Verhoeff, owner of Stoneboat Vineyards.

Photo by Shari Saysomsack


Recycling Corks Wine lovers can feel even better knowing every part of the bottle will be recycled. Used natural wine corks collected at the Return-It Boucherie Self Storage and Bottle Depot in Kelowna will be recycled into eco-friendly footwear. The initiative is a partnership between Return-It, the wine cork recycler ReCORK, and SOLE, a manufacturer of sustainable footwear. “We recognized an opportunity to collect this useful material, and work with processing and manufacturing partners to give it a new life,” said Allen Langdon, President and CEO of Return-It.

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AI Enters the Wine Tasting World

Sommeliers and winemakers train for years to be able to discern which wines will appeal to customers, based on their individual preferences. Now, a California startup company called Tastry has developed an AI program that can analyze wines, generate flavor profiles, and predict which wines a particular customer will like.

“Our business started to help winemakers,” says Axelsson. “Through our studies of changing wine consumption habits today, we saw how older customers have largely remained loyal, but the future of wine sales was an alarming mix of lost loyalties and confusion. So, we created experiences for everyone that are simple, fun and on the electronic devices they engage on.”

Photo contributed

Tastry founder Katerina Axelsson says Tastry uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze tens of thousands of wines a year, generating a vast storehouse of data that can help winemakers target their products more effectively. Tastry's founder and CEO, Katerina Axelsson in the lab, analyzing data sets.

Tastry began by analyzing wine samples and identifying the thousands of compounds that combine to create a wine’s unique flavor profile. The program then uses machine learning to compare those flavor profiles with other wines in the database.

The company is also developing a mobile app that will allow potential clients to express their wine preferences, with that data going back to the winemakers, and allowing for more targeted wine profiles.

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Innovation 2021 15

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Wash Fruit with No Residue Left Behind

Keeping produce safe for human consumption is a tricky business in a world governed by strict regulations, and where occasional failures in food safety have resulted in disease or even death, such as the problems with an e coli outbreak in the US this year that sickened 22 people and resulted in one death.

Adding chlorine can help, but creates its own issues, as it can create poisoning hazards for workers, and when used at higher concentrations can also leave residue on the fruit. In Europe, for example, the problem is taken so seriously that the EU has developed new regulations limiting the Maximum Residue Levels on fruit. Fortunately, the North American AgTech company FruitTek and their supplier BioSafe Systems has come up with a solution that not only solves these problems, but also allows packing houses to automatically monitor their sanitizing wash. Owner Brady Vander Woude says the system developed by BioSafe Systems uses Peroxyacetic Acid, better known as PAA, in its SaniDate FD Plus and SaniDate 12.0 products. “SaniDate PAA products are far more stable, don't off-gas, they don’t have pH issues and better maintain their efficacy under organic loads,” says Vander Woude. “ They also do not require a rinse, since their active ingredients evaporate, leaving no residue behind.” SaniDate PAA products are also easier on equipment, and there are no issues with runoff, unlike chlorine, which is considered highly toxic and potentially dangerous to humans and animals. In addition to offering PAA-based sanitizing products, FruitTek is bringing to the market another innovative BioSafe solution known as SaniDate MDS Plus. The MDS stands for Monitoring and 16 Innovation 2021

Photo contributed

Typically, fruits and vegetables are washed either with water alone or with water infused with chlorine, but both these approaches create their own problems. In some cases, water can fail to remove the pathogen, or even cause it to spread to more of the batch.

The new MDS Plus system from BioSafe and FruitTek allows for greater food safety in packing houses.

Dosing System, which is exactly what it sounds like, says Vander Woude. “SaniDate MDS is an electronic monitoring/injection system that utilizes probe technology to automatically measure the PPM (parts per million) of the solution in the wash water in real time, and then micro-pumps concentrated PAA from a drum and injects just the right amount of PAA to maintain the required efficacy to stop the spread of bacteria and fungal organisms,” says Vander Woude. “This same system records the PPM of the PAA levels into a data log that can be downloaded into a usable report that can be later submitted to food safety auditors.” FruitTek’s mission is to lower the possibility of infected food to as close to zero as possible, while at the same time providing the packers with a system that automatically demonstrates for inspectors and regulators how the fruit’s wash water has been sanitized to meet requirements in Canada and abroad. Vander Woude considers the topic so vital to human safety and the ability of fruit growers to export their products abroad that the company is partnering on trials in British Columbia and Washington State to test the efficacy and

fruit quality affects of SaniDate PAA products on fresh cherries, and then further testing on other types of tree fruits. The goal of the first trial is to test SaniDate PAA products as an alternative treatment to chlorine in cherry line hydro cooler waters and water circuits, Vander Woude explains. “The more proactive fruit and vegetable packers will inject a sanitizer additive into their dump waters as a broad spectrum kill step to control the spread of bacterial and fungal pathogens,” Vander Woude says. “Traditionally this additive has been chlorine-based, which has its own set of issues, including offgassing and maintaining efficacy due to pH issues and organic loads. “In the opinion of safety experts here in North America and around the world, PAA is a much safer and more effective product,” he adds. “We’re also trying to create more awareness out there about the problem, and let people know there is a better, cost-effective solution that can greatly improve food safety.” For more information on FruitTek and the SaniDate MDS system, go to fruittek.com, or contact Brady Vander Woude via brady@FruitTek.com

Fruit Wash Water Treatment Made Easy

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Innovation 2021 17


Orchard Tools - A Data App for Tree Fruits

If you’re sick and tired of painstakingly counting all the fruitlets in your orchard or vineyard while thinning, you’ll be happy to hear of a new app developed by Perennia, the provincial agriculture development agency in Nova Scotia.

the chemical thinning process more efficient and less tedious. Today, thinning often involves one person counting fruitlets, another recording the data on a spreadsheet, then one of them entering all of that data into a computer.

Perennia has now released the app Orchard Tools, available on the Apple App Store for an annual subscription fee of $29.99.

The Perennia team reasoned that everybody carries a smartphone now, so it made sense to create a data-entry app that could be used in the field, Cortens said.

The app’s record-keeping functions are designed to simplify the thinning process and save growers time. Tree fruit specialist Michelle Cortens describes it as a handheld tool for digital data input. The idea behind the app was to make

The app has a list of functions the farmer can select, each with its own specialized keyboard for entering data in the simplest way possible. For example, the users can enter the diameter of the fruitlets and its position in the cluster,

allowing the farmer to easily calculate the growth rate of the fruit. Orchard Tools includes functions for reviewing averages and graphs, providing the farmer with instant feedback, and it does not require a Wifi or cellular connection to work.

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Semios Acquires Altrac Ag Platform to Develop Unified System Semios, the leading precision-farming platform for permanent crops, has acquired Altrac, developers of an agriculture automation platform enabling farmers to monitor and control important agricultural systems required to produce high-value crops from their computer or mobile device.

with the growing number of precision agriculture tools available to address critical issues threatening crops. The acquisition of Altrac is a pivotal first step in Semios’ ambitious strategy to consolidate crop management solutions into one, easy-to-use platform. Bringing independent applications into one dashboard with a single login makes them more accessible and beneficial to farmers.

Farmers have long struggled to keep up

“Semios has been a fantastic partner,

Photo contributed

“Semios’ success is founded in helping farmers manage their risk and optimize yields through data, AI-driven insights and technology,” said Dr. Michael Gilbert, CEO of Semios. “Partnerships are a fundamental part of our strategy and last year we partnered with Altrac to combine the power of our per-acre, incanopy climate sensors with Altrac's industry-leading frost fan automation devices to manage the potentially devastating impacts of frost on crops. Our customers were really excited about the results, which motivated us to make this investment in Altrac. We look forward to unlocking more opportunities together.”

and we are excited to further our collaboration to allow Altrac to accelerate the geographic reach and adoption of our wind machine and irrigation control solutions across North America,” said Neil Schultz, General Manager and co-founder of Altrac. “We know there are additional problems facing farmers that have yet to be solved, and we look forward to tackling them together as a combined solution.” Through the integration of separate, complimentary solutions into one dashboard, Semios is simplifying the grower’s experience, saving customers time and money while providing the same installation, training, in-field service and remote support farmers have come to appreciate, and that the company is known for. “Semios helps growers get the most accurate overview of their crop’s development as it happens, leading to informed decision making and ultimately better crop outcomes,” adds Gilbert.

Innovation 2021 19


WSU Invents 'Spray On' Frost Protection

A new innovation from Washington State University offers a solution for an ancient problem; how to protect crops from frost damage at bud break. The issue is that, as spring brings warmer weather, plants awake from dormancy and begin flowering as a first step to producing fruit.

That’s where a new invention from WSU scientists Xiao Zhang, Matt Whiting and their colleagues Qin Zhang and Changki Mo comes in. The team is using cellulose nanocrystals, or CNCs, to protect grape, cherry and other flowering crop plants during frost events. Cellulose, the most common polymer on the planet, is a remarkable substance with myriad useful properties. The WSU team wrote in a recent paper that CNCs are stronger than steel in a strength-to-weight face off, capable of being drawn into thin film-like layers and, best of all, offer extreme insulation values. In a recent field study, the researchers concluded that a single

Photo Correction – Sonja Peters In our Summer 2021 Issue in the story "Know Thy Soil, Improve Thy Fruit". We ran a photo of Sonja Peters, agrologist and owner of Greenbush Greenhouses and Farm and Greenbush Consulting of Lumby. We incorrectly identified Sonja as Ann Gibson.

Photo contributed

But weather can be unpredictable, and a sudden cold snap for even a single night can kill those buds before they have a chance to grow. A report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that, “in the USA, there are more economic losses to frost damage than to any other weather-related phenomenon.”

CNC application “improves cold-hardiness of sweet cherry and grape buds by about 2–4 °C compared to non-treated buds.” That thin protective layer is just enough to keep baby buds snug until the cold snap gives way to the warmer spring weather which triggered the new growth in the first place. Zhang and Whiting have now formed a new company, Pomona Technologies, and hope to see their first product commercially available in 2022.


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20 Innovation 2021


Upscaled Waste-Product Fertilizer Shows Promise

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The Lucent Biosciences team Devon Simpson, Jason McNamee and Laura Jeffries are getting ready to perform a trial at Jason Smith’s blueberry farm in Abbotsford.


What do dairy manure and pea and lentil seed hulls have in common? Aside from being waste material, they are also ingredients in Lucent Biosciences new Soileos micronutrient fertilizer.


Manure solids are separated from liquids through centrifuge and make up the base of the product, says Jason McNamee, Lucent’s co-founder and chief product officer. The Vancouverbased company received a BC Agritech grant to scale up the production process of the sustainable fertilizer, to conduct field and greenhouse testing and to run test marketing. Early tests show an up to 20 per cent increase in yields, according to the company’s website.

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Long-term perennial crops like fruit trees, berries and grapes have unique nutrient needs and McNamee says Soileos is a carbon-neutral way to fulfill these needs.


“Particularly for long-lived crops like trees and vines, there is a long-term removal of micronutrients from those soils,” he says. “We need to replace those micronutrients at a rate commensurate with their removal. Soil applied micronutrients contribute to overall plant health, from roots to shoots to fruits.”

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Because this fertilizer binds micronutrients to the manure solids, the microbiome is supported and nutrients are provided to the crop as needed, without any concerns of excess nutrient leaching into water sources. Research on blueberries has shown an improvement in the grade of berries. This effect is expected in other orchard, berry and vine crops. Abbotsford blueberry grower Jason Smith will be trialing the fertilizer in the fall for efficacy and the company is looking for other growers to test the product on site.

Trish Rosenau, CAIB Account Executive Wilson M. Beck Insurance Services (Kamloops) Inc. Direct: 236-425-1770 Mobile: 250-572-3003 TRosenau@wmbeck.com

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Innovation 2021 21


World's First Fully Electric 'Tractor-bot'

Most of the ink spilled covering autonomous, electric vehicles is spent on passenger vehicles, but in reality, it's farm vehicles that are paving the path to the future. A prime example is Monarch Tractor, the world’s first company dedicated exclusively to development of fully electric, driver optional, smart tractors. Monarch has this year deployed the first of its flagship tractors at Wente Vineyards near San Francisco, the oldest continuously operated winery in the US.

Monarch was named Tractor of the Year by AgTech Breakthrough Awards, Big Innovation Award, and Top Ten Best New Product Award from the World Ag Expo, all in 2020. The Monarch tractor features all electric power with zero tailpipe emissions, and can be run with a human driver or completely autonomously. It’s also very simple to maintain or repair, with only 10 per cent of the moving parts of a comparable diesel tractor. “We’ve seen firsthand the benefits of the Monarch Tractor in

Photo www.monarchtractor.com

“We are thrilled to announce the ahead-of-schedule deployment of the first of several Monarch Tractors,” said Praveen Penmetsa, CEO of Monarch Tractor. “Our tractor has undergone strenuous real-world testing and is now ready to get to work and deliver on the promise of a more sustainable and efficient farming operation.”

our vineyards,” said Niki Wente, of Wente Vineyards. “Monarch Tractor represents the future of tractors and to be the first customer deployment is especially exciting as we kick off this new era of sustainable farming.” After a successful trial at Wente, starting on April 22, the winery opted to go ahead with a full order of 15 tractors. Penmetsa hopes to begin full commercial production before the end of the year.

Enjoy Nature With Aluminum Wine Packaging The traditional glass wine bottle is getting a lot of competition of late from boxed wine, canned wine, and even paper bottles, and now faces another up and comer in the form of a new aluminum bottle. Limerick Lane Cellars from Sonoma County is leading the way, launching a new sustainable premium wine brand in August, 2020 called Revelshine, packaged in aluminum bottles that are almost indestructible, but are also infinitely recyclable. Limerick says the wines are designed to be taken on the road … or on a rough hiking trail … providing the security of tough packaging with light weight to make hauling it back a breeze. "While my work life has always led me through wine, my passion and love is the outdoors,” said Revelshine founder Jake Bilibro. “Rivers, mountains, beaches, music festivals - this is where I find my inspiration. I realized, along with my other friends who are surfers, skiers, kayakers, mountain bikers and musicians, that you just do not have good wine where we enjoy these activities. If you do, it is because you had to go to extraordinary lengths to bring it. No matter the bottle, the glass doesn't work on the beach or the river. And that is how Revelshine was created.” The aluminum bottles are meant to be packed in and packed out, helping reduce pollution and waste. In its quest to protect the environment, Revelshine also has partnered with 1% 22 Innovation 2021

for the Planet to give back and is working towards creating additional sustainable and socially responsible products in the future.

Innoquest Puts the Precision Into Precision Spraying Precision spraying is one of the most important things farmers can do to reduce damage to crops from either under or over spraying, and for that reason, Innotech’s SpotOn Sprayer Calibrator Model SC-1 has become standard equipment for many growers.

of an app. Once the user has entered speed and nozzle spacing, the unit will automatically calculate:

Now, Innoquest has taken a major step forward, releasing the SC-2 model that more than doubles the measurable flow rate and increases accuracy and precision by an impressive 20 per cent.

“Our goal was to add features that benefit every user of our industry-leading

• Tip Flow Rate in GPM, LPM, oz/min • Tip Wear in % • Application Rate in GPA/LPH

Innoquest says the new SC-2 model is now able to measure flow rates of up to 2.25 gallons per minute (GPM), up from its predecessor’s 1 GPM capacity. At the same time, accuracy of spray is increased from plus/minus 2.5% in the older model, to 2% in the SC-2.

handheld sprayer calibrator. The SC-2 accomplishes this without sacrificing our hallmark ultra-simple operation.” says Bill Hughes, President of Innoquest. Having a durable and accurate meter to easily calibrate sprayers saves time and money, says Huges, making the SC-2 a must-have for quick verification of sprayer operation.


The SC-2 also adds some important new features. It now calculates tip wear in % and application rate in GPA/LPH and provides reliable readings quickly without the need for manual calculations or downloading

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Innovation 2021 23

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Pink is Beautiful – Optimizing the Colour of Rosé Wine







By Dr. Eric Hüfner, Michael Sobe, Erbslöh Geisenheim GmbH Rosé wine enjoys global popularity. Its colour and style are determined by the grape variety and vinification. Consumers prefer fresh, balanced wines, with marked fruit aromas and a pale pink hue. It is not easy to meet these requirements when vinifying grape varieties containing anthocyans in hot harvesting conditions. Depending on grape health, Maillard reactions can also occur as a result of laccase activity. This is why rosé must is often treated with activated carbon to tone down the colour and reduce oxidised phenols, which is detrimental to quality. This problem is not restricted to rosé wine production; increased colour extraction during process is often a problem when producing Blanc de noir and Pinot gris.

Fig. 1 Visual comparison of rosé colour. (top of page). Fig. 2 Pinot noir rosé must, Ahr. (above) Left: standard pectinase. Right: Trenolin® Rosé DF enzyme.

24 Innovation 2021

It is therefore a challenge for suppliers of wine treatment agents and specifically for suppliers of oenological enzymes to offer product tools that facilitate production of very pale rosé wines, but do not impair the wine’s other characteristics.

Rosé colour Depending on grape variety and vinification, the colour of rosé wine can vary from pale pink, via red, to salmon. Eight commercial wines were selected and analysed to better illustrate colour variations in different rosé wines (Fig. 1). Enzymatic colour optimisation There is a long tradition of using enzymes in vinification. The first products were successfully used in Europe towards the end of the 1960s. The purpose of oenological enzymes is to improve process characteristics, in particular to increase extraction of pigments and aromatics from grape must, to improve pressing characteristics and must yield, as well as to assist with sedimentation and flotation.

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In Trenolin® Rosé DF, Erbslöh has developed a new, liquid enzyme formulation for mash processing, for production of rosé, Blanc de noir and Blanc de gris wines.

Trenolin Rosé DF

This is a pectinase complex that causes very little maceration and is therefore a tool that the winemaker can use early to minimise colour extraction whilst the high juice yield remains unchanged. The enzyme is the perfect choice for anthocyan-rich grapes, hot harvest conditions and high pH values. Only very short contact time is required to achieve the greatest possible must yield, as a result of the rapid decrease in viscosity.

Press enzyme with very low maceration capacity for reduced colour extraction in Rosé, Blanc de Noir and Pinot Gris wines.




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Colour Intensity (420+520+620 nm) Control enzyme

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Fig. 3 Pinot noir rosé must, Ahr. Photometric colour intensity Figure 3 shows the total colour for a Pinot noir rosé must from the Ahr region, treated before pressing with 3 ml/hl of the Trenolin® Rosé DF and 3 ml/hl of a standard pectinase. The rosé enzyme was able to reduce the colour intensity from 2.92 to 0.95, compared to the standard pectinase.


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Innovation 2021 25 26.05.2021 10:11:56


Apple Packing at Twice the Speed

Photo by https://www.roboticsplus.co.nz/robotic-apple-packing

The great promise of robotics in farming is that they can generally do simple, repetitive tasks faster, better, and for longer than humans, leaving the people more time to take on the complex tasks of growing food. One great example comes from Robotics Plus Ltd., which has developed The Apple Packer, a robotic system that packs at twice the speed of a human being, and can operate 24 hours a day, every day, if necessary. “Packing apples is a labour intensive task for packing houses around the world,” the company points out, adding, “The labour to fulfill this role is often difficult to find, which can jeopardize the produce if it is not packed in time.” The RPL Apple Packer achieves an inhumanly fast packing speed of 120 apples per minute, while at the same time meeting the stringent demands of Canadian packing houses by ensuring optimal fruit handling.

And, just like a human operator, the RPL Apple Packer can differentiate between apple types, and carefully aligns the apples in the correct orientation, with all of the stems lying horizontal in the trays and pointing in the right direction, all at two apples per second.

The system includes a multi-head “pickand-place robot,” apple singulating lanes with a vision system that gets the apples into the correct orientation, automatic tray pocket recognition, and full control systems and analysis algorithms that make it all happen.

Google Reveals Autonomous Crop-Inspecting Robots Photo by https://x.company/projects/mineral/

One of the world’s largest tech companies is going into the farming business, as Google has unleashed prototype robots designed to inspect plants in a field. The Google-bots roll through fields on tall, upright pillars, so they can coast over plants without damaging the crop, collecting massive amounts of data as they go. The robots are part of Project Mineral from X Company, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. X Company was formed for the purposes of cutting edge research into what Alphabet calls ‘moonshot ideas’, creating world-changing technology for the world’s greatest problems. Project lead Elliott Grant says his team is literally working to transform how food is grown at a global scale. "We hope that better tools will enable the agriculture industry to transform how food is grown". 26 Innovation 2021

The team says its main goal is to address the world's increasing need for food and the sustainability of growing it. But current tools do not give farmers the kind of information they need. "What if every single plant could be monitored and given exactly the nutrition it needed?" Grant asks. "What if we could untangle the genetic and environmental drivers of crop yield?” The ‘plant buggys’ are designed to give farmers information about their crops

at an almost unimaginably detailed level, says X Company. "Over the past few years, the plant buggy has trundled through strawberry fields in California and soybean fields in Illinois, gathering high-quality images of each plant, and counting and classifying every berry and every bean," it said. The robots can report back on individual plant height, leaf area, fruit size, the presence of pest insects or disease, and overall plant health, allowing farmers to adjust quickly to threats.

The Burro is a Collaborative Farm Robot The 2020s is becoming the Age of The Robot for farmers, as new developments in AI and robotics make it viable for even smaller farms to add some mechanized assistants to the payroll. One of the most promising new robots comes from Burro, and provides a robot that will literally follow a farmer through the field, taking on all types of tasks. Photo by https://burro.ai/

The company says Burros use a machine learning detection and tracking model to reliably follow a designated person, remotefree, through any setting. Burros also have an on board interface that anyone can learn to use in seconds, which means anyone can turn on a Burro and go right to work. Burros operate online with 12 cameras on board, and numerous mounts for higher resolution, crop-facing cameras. Additionally, Burros feature a powerful on-board CPU and GPUs, coupled with precise GPS sensors. This combination of capabilities enables various crop scouting behaviors.

pests and diseases, spraying, and spot spraying. One of the main differences between a Burro and many other robotic systems is a novel and patent-pending approach called “Pop Up Autonomy.”

Burros can also be equipped with various attachments enabling low dexterity functions.

With Pop Up Autonomy, Burros work immediately out of the box, everyone becomes an operator, and there is no need for a means of commanding everything centrally or installing additional infrastructure.

The company says it is currently developing some capabilities for table grapes, including UV lighting for treatment of certain

Save Your Aching, Human Back With Robotic Weeders There is perhaps no task more miserable than pulling weeds. Like the legend of Sisyphus, who was cursed to push a rock uphill for eternity, only to see it roll back down, weeds are an endless enemy that just keep coming back. Now, Carbon Robotics has developed an equally relentless ally, the third generation of an autonomous weeding robot that safely targets, identifies, and eliminates weeds. Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilize high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil. The auto-

mated robots allow farmers to use less herbicides and reduce labor to remove unwanted plants while improving the reliability and predictability of costs, crop yield and more. “AI and deep learning technology are creating efficiencies across a variety of industries and we’re excited to apply it to agriculture,” said Carbon Robotics CEO and Founder, Paul Mikesell. “Farmers, and others in the global food supply chain, are innovating now more than ever to keep the world fed. Our goal at Carbon Robotics is to create tools that address their most challenging problems, including weed management and

elimination.” Unlike tillage, the Carbon robots don’t disturb the soil microbiology, and eliminate the need for herbicides, making it far easier to adopt a regenerative approach to farming, leading to healthy crops, healthy soil, and higher yields. It is also a significant aid for farmers trying to achieve organic status, but at the same time, the system also lowers costs, particularly for labour and for crop inputs like herbicides and fertilizers. A single robot will weed 15-20 acres per day and replace several deployments of hand weeding crews.

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Vegan Leather from Wine Industry Leftovers

The humble grape is a truly wondrous fruit, providing humanity with fruit juice, wine, balsamic vinegar, and, of course, leather for shoes or jackets. And no, that wasn’t a misprint. The Italian architecture and furniture designer Gianpiero Tessitore, working with the University of Florence, has codeveloped a new type of ‘leather’ made from the stalks, skins and seeds from grapes, known as pomace. This nutrient rich organic mix is often used as a fertilizer, but Tessitore and researcher Francesco Merlino have discovered that pomace is also ideal for producing a fabric that is very similar to leather. Tessitore patented the production process in 2016 and founded the company Vegea, which has dedicated itself to researching and producing sustainable materials from biopolymers for the textile industry ever since. Vegea’s so-called ‘wine leather' feels

like the real thing, but it also offers a host of other advantages. It requires no water to produce, unlike real leather, which has a vast water footprint, and can cause pollution if the production is not done according to stringent environmental rules. Tanning leather requires large amounts of toxic chemicals, that can both pollute waterways and sicken workers. Finally, no animals are harmed in the production of wine leather. “I think that separation and enhancement of the by-products of the winery industry, such as skins and seeds, are important imperatives for sustainability," said Tessitore in an interview with LTEconomy. "VEGEA’s process transforms what represents waste in one sector, into a valueadded raw material in another sector. And we do it without using toxic pollutants, without any waste of water. That means doing ‘circular economy’!”

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28 Innovation 2021

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Wine leather can be used for clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, seat covers and upholstery, and provides a sustainable way to dispose of the byproduct of 27 billion litres of wine a year.

Barrelwise Creates a Better, Smarter Bung By Ronda Payne Even for a small winery, barrel management can be a time-consuming hassle of removing the bung, taking samples, testing, waiting and topping up. It’s incredibly labour-intensive and Paul Gardner, proprietor of Pentâge Winery in Penticton, knew there had to be a better way. At 120 barrels, Pentâge is a relatively small winery, but its process of testing and topping up could still take upwards of 40 hours each test period. Fortunately, Gardner came across the work of BarrelWise, a project which was conceived by the minds of UBC students, including Jason Sparrow and Artem Bocharov. “It’s something I’d been trying to solve,” Gardner says. “Some BC kids have solved the problem. It’s been really neat to work with them over a year or more and see the evolution and the dedication.” Sparrow, BarrelWise’s CEO, explains the team that came up with the concept wasn’t from the wine industry, so they had no preconceived notions about the industry that they had to kick to the curb. They spent time learning about the industry and listening closely to winemakers.

The system includes specialized bungs for each barrel and a unique cart. A hose with a head unit runs from the cart and attaches to each bung to take measurements while also allowing for topping up in a single visit. Currently the BarrelWise team is crunching the data behind the scenes so winemakers get an autonomous experience, but as Bocharov explains, the system will soon be fully automated. “What we’re building on top of this is the sensing. We had to start with this first system,” he says. “We were in trial phase with several wineries for a while. Now their cellars are fully outfitted with BarrelWise bungs.” Pentâge is one of those wineries, and

Photo contributed

“We’ve been able to create everything we have now, based on what we were hearing from the wine industry,” says Bocharov. “We have a product almost built by the winemakers themselves.”

BarrelWise co-founder Artem Bocharov working on barrels in a BC winery.

Gardner is enjoying the reduction in labour and the increase in speed at which each barrel can be processed. He’s always tested every barrel for free SO2 levels, but as he explains, larger wineries previously didn’t have that option due to the time required. Some wineries test as few as five to 10 per cent of the barrels, randomly sampling some each month without a predetermined pattern.

“Every month, the barrel is having evaporative losses [known as the Angel’s share] that has to be topped,” Gardner says. “If you’re already going to top them, at the same time you may as well test them and correct the free SO2 level.” Without BarrelWise, testing would take more than 15 minutes a barrel, making it impossible to test every barrel in many cellars. With BarrelWise, barrels stay in Innovation 2021 29

place and data is collected through sensors on the head unit. The accuracy of the optical method for free SO2 measurement is comparable to aeration-oxidation measures. As the next stage of development is rolled out from BarrelWise, additional measures will be added to the roster giving winemakers even greater knowledge and control over their product.

“Information and decisions can be made on a rich dataset based on each barrel,” says Sparrow. “It gives the winemaker the ability to much more precisely control the sulfites in the wine. We can take a measurement in about a minute. There’s lots of efficiency and more information to make their decisions.”

Photos contributed

The ability to test every barrel removes the risk inherent in large batches.

Artem Bocharov, Jason Sparrow, Miayan Yeremi, Adrien Noble and David Sommer.

He adds that there can be significant variations in sulfite levels between barrels. Without measuring each one, wine can be creating undesirable flavours. “Two barrels can be sitting next to each other, but measure the free SO2 and they can be vastly different,” he says. “Most winemakers want to limit the amount of sulfites they use. You really have to carefully keep an eye on it.”

BarrelWise bungs installed in barrels at Kelowna's Sandhill Winery.

The challenge with a system like BarrelWise is proving the Return On Investment, or ROI, to those who hold the purse strings. It’s easy to illustrate the reduction in labour and the direct correlation in cost savings. It’s a little harder to prove the financial value in data measures, but the team is working towards that. “In the coming months, we’ll be able to summarize this in factual cases so that the labour and the quality can have definitive information,” Bocharov says. “We can go out to the industry with the proof.” Those like Gardner already have all the proof they need to appreciate the value and the ROI of the system. “It’s just a no-brainer. I believed they could do it and they’ve demonstrated the ability of that now,” he says. “You have a lot of money tied up in red wine and a lot of money tied up in barrels. They’re sleeping time bombs you just want to get right.” ■

30 Innovation 2021

Okanagan Fruit Grown with Love By Gary Symons If you've ever spend a July day driving through the verdant vineyards and orchards on Elliott Road in Westbank, BC, you’ll almost certainly see a cluster of cars and people lined up at one farm in particular. They’re there to pick up the monstrous, plum-sized cherries that have been grown on this 9.5 acre family orchard by Usha Saini since 1987. “Every summer, for many, many years, we sell the cherries in July, we put up a bit of a shade, and when they see it the people from around here all come by to get Usha’s cherries,” she says. “Last year we finished in 12 days and sold it all, and people were so happy. The cherries are massive, they grow like a plum! Ask people here and they know my name, and they’ll tell you, Usha’s cherries are awesome. We also have a bit of peaches and blueberries, and for me, it’s just great to see people happy with the food we grow.”

While regenerative farming is all the buzz today, for Saini it was something she did naturally, having come from a culture where fertilizers were made on the farm, and protecting the soil was a centuries old tradition. “For all the time I’ve farmed here, I’ve always tried to put life back into the soil,” Saini said. “From the beginning, I would take all the branches from pruning, we would cut them, and put them in between the rows. I remember my brother would complain and say the bugs will get in there over the winter and attack again in the spring, but that didn’t happen. So, I keep all my summer pruning as a fertilizer for the trees and put it back into the soil to keep it healthy.” Working on a small farm surrounded by other non-organic farms, Saini realized that organic certification would be dif

Photo by Gary Symons

But cherries aren’t really the family business. Rather, Usha has primarily been an apple grower for most of her life, after immigrating to Canada from her native Punjab in the 1970s, and is known among orchardists for her dedication to regenerative farming.

Usha Saini, son Parm, and grandson Noah enjoy a spring day on the farm in West Kelowna.

ficult or impossible, since at least some spray would cross over onto her land. However, she tries to be “as organic as possible.” “We really wanted to keep it organic when we bought this property, but unless all your neighbours are organic too, it is very difficult,” Saini explains. “What I try to do is keep the land healthy, because if the land is healthy, the food you grow will be healthy too. I don’t use a lot of spray, just a little when it’s really needed, and I don’t use a lot of fertilizer either.” Saini’s approach seems to work, as she and her farm were recently featured in a 2017 video about apple growers by Ambrosia Apples.

Strangely enough, Usha originally didn’t want to be a farmer, even though she came from a family of orchardists, but after arriving in West Kelowna she quickly discovered that while you can take the girl out of the farm, you can’t take the farm out of the girl. “It’s funny,” says Saini, while enjoying a rare moment of relaxation in the orchard where she lives. “When I was young I never even wanted to marry a farmer, and I don’t know exactly what happened, but when I came to Canada I saw all the orchards here, and I absolutely loved it.” Rather than marry a farmer, Saini married an electrical engineer named Ram, and the couple moved to England where Ram finished his degree. When a cousin Innovation 2021 31

Photo by Gary Symons


Saini Orchards in West Kelowna.

For all the time I've farmed here, I've tried to put life back into the soil. Usha Saini


told them about Canada, Ram travelled to the Okanagan Valley to check it out, and Usha soon followed.

Photo by Gary Symons

In the beginning, the couple lived in a tiny house while Ram worked as an engineer and Saini worked at the local packing house, and occasionally worked on other people’s farms. And that’s when she regained her love of farming. When Saini saw the 9.5 acre parcel come up, already planted and with a spectacular view of Okanagan Lake, she became determined to buy the land. Usha with one of her tractors. 32 Innovation 2021

Photo contributed

“My husband really, really did not want to be a farmer, so we had a huge argument,” Saini laughs now. “Ram said, ‘I’m not a farmer, don’t push me to do that!’, but I said, ‘Don’t you worry, I’ll do everything, just say yes to buying it. “But Ram had just had open heart surgery, and he felt so weak and frustrated, so he said, I don’t think we can do it. I said, well, if you don’t want to do this, give me my 50 per cent, and I’ll do it myself!” Needless to say, Saini won that argument, and the couple happily farmed the land for the next three decades until Ram passed away. In the beginning, however, it wasn’t easy. The trees planted on the land were not profitable, and the couple went through two replants. The first, using Summer Macs, didn’t work out, but then the Sainis planted Galas. “Ram went to visit another farmer one day,” Saini recalls. “And that man was pruning his trees that day and said, you know, take as much as you want, you’re welcome to it. So Ram took the truck and came back with all these branches, and we grafted those and it came out very nicely." Saini still runs the farm today, but has added Ambrosias to the orchard in a half and half mix with Galas, with pockets of the farm used to grow cherries, blueberries and a variety of field crops that they either eat or sell through their fruit stand. But farming alone is difficult, and after Ram’s passing Saini wondered if she could keep the farm going, before help arrived from the friends they’d made in their community. One friend named Madou comes by almost every day to help out, and Saini’s adult children make it a point to come back to the homestead every summer to work the land and help harvest the fruit. “I’ve been very fortunate, as some very good people came into my life after my husband passed away, and they have given me a hand working on the farm,” Saini says. “I was alone, wishing I had some help, but I wasn’t asking for it, and then they just came. My friend Mahdu comes twice a day and helps out, and we’ve become real buddies. She’s now my best friend, and so I never really feel alone.” ■

The late Ram Saini with his grandchildren Noah and Peter.

Innovation 2021 33

Training Vines With Vigour By Tom Walker If you were an Okanagan grape grower in the late nineties and a visiting French vigneron made a comment about your vineyard, you would naturally pay attention. “We’d been growing grapes for eight years and there was a tour of owners and winemakers from France,” recalls Rod King of King Family Vineyards in Naramata. “This older gentlemen came up to me and said, you know Mr. King, this will never work, you will never be able to grow any quality.” King panicked. “I had a lot of respect for this guy, he had decades of track record,” says King. “He said to me, ‘You do know low yield is essential for high quality?’ I thought, oh god, we are in trouble.” The low yield/high quality relationship is a popular theme in grape growing. It’s something that the Kings have been able to dispel, and in turn run a profitable vineyard, following the example of successful viticulturists in New Zealand. Their training system is based on the advice of the local extension agent and a scientist from AAFC Summerland. The low apple prices BC growers have seen for the last couple of years seem like déjà vu for the Kings. “The current poor apple prices are putting growers in the exact same position we were in back in 1992 when my brother Don and I planted our first eight acres of grapes,” King recalls. “We had looked at ways to diversify from our tree fruit business - ginseng and ostriches were all the rage - and friends in the industry urged us to try grapes.” But King wasn’t impressed when they ran the numbers through a business plan. “When we looked at the typical vertical shoot positioning training system (VSP), with a yield of 4 tons to the acre and the average wine grape prices, we would just break even. We wouldn’t be any farther ahead than with our tree fruits,” he says. King wondered if they could increase their yield to make the vineyard more profitable. The first step was to talk with provincial grape specialist John Vielvoye. “John did so much to get the grape industry on it’s feet back in the 1990’s,” says King. “He came out and looked at our site and he recognized the vigour that we had to deal with. We have very fertile soil.” Indeed, some 12-15 feet of topsoil with very high organic matter covers most of the King’s 40 acres. The dwarfing

Photo by Tom Walker

rootstocks the Kings used to support their apple trees would only keep them in check for about six years. “After that we had a hell of a time controlling the vigour,” he says. “John suggested I talk to Andy Reynolds (Research Scientist, Viticulture, AAFC) at Summerland about different grape planting styles.” Reynolds was just finishing an eight-year grape training systems trial looking at what would work well for growers in the Okanagan valley. He was evaluating VSP as well as Scott Henry, Geneva Double Curtain, and several others, recalls King. “He wanted to see what worked best across the valley and at the Summerland site, which also has really good soil.”

The Kings looked at the data that Reynolds had collected, including labour costs. They had sampled the wine, and they went all in. “Andy wasn’t aware of any other planting like this in North America at the time,” says King. “It came out of New Zealand. Dr Richard Smart developed it for high vigour sites down there.” “The training system we use doesn’t have a name,” King explains. “We call it a double Scott Henry with a V. We are putting twice the crop load of a typical Scott Henry on a given root system.” The Kings plant their chosen variety on root stock and select two main-stem trunks. The trunks are angled at 30’ off vertical to form a ‘V’ shape and attached to wires that are 4 feet apart. The Scott Henry system trains the vines into two sets of cordons, an upper and lower, rather than the single set of cordons in a VSP system. The shoots on the top cordons grow vertically, but the shoots on the bottom cordons grow downward. Each cordon row supports fruit, so there is a greater yield, but the canopy is also divided up and down and is more open providing more light than VSP. A robust plant can support a lot of fruit, son Ian explains. “The amount of fruit per square foot or square centimeter of leaf area on our trellis is the same ratio as a standard VSP,” says Ian. “We have 36 Innovation 2021


The trials followed the vine production right through to wine making and then blind tastings, King explains. “I was actually able to sit in on some of the tastings. I think the dozen or so winemakers who attended were from most of the wineries in the valley.”

Rod and Ian King on their Naramata vineyard.

The training system we use…we call it a double Scott Henry with a V. We are putting twice the crop load of a typical Scott Henry root system. Rod KIng

double the fruit, but we also have double the leaf area per acre. The trellis can support it, which means all things being equal, you have the same quality of grape someone else would have at four tons, but we can have eight.” This system would not work on the sandy soils of the south Okanagan. It requires the vigour of the King’s site to drive the fruit production. “Our input costs are about 50 per cent higher than a standard trellis system, you have double the wire and roughly double the labour to install, but everything else is about the same cost,” notes Ian.


a 2/3 to 1/3 split. “Generally we will leave two clusters per shoot on the top cordon and one cluster on the bottom,” he says. “With reds that might go down to one on top and one per shoot or every second shoot on the bottom.” The Kings average about seven tons per acre on their reds, like Merlot and Cab Franc, and eight to 8.5 tons on their whites, such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Auxerrois. In the early days, they sold their grapes to Cedar Creek winery. Now most of their production goes to Peller Estates under long-term contract.

They have to be very careful on canopy management and not get behind, but there is nothing unusual about the system, King explains. “We need a lot of labour through the season but that means we are also able to provide steady work from the beginning of February. Some of my crew planted these original vines,” he notes with pride.

After the comments from the French winemaker, King turned to Andy Reynolds for confirmation and Reynolds suggested they do a trial on their own site. “We took a Merlot block that was in full production and we managed for different crop loads of 4,6,8 and 12 tons per acre,” says King. “It was a nightmare to harvest but we did it for three years and had Cedar Creek make the wine.”

Ian explains that clusters are thinned for

At four tons to the acre the grape clus-

Photos by Tom Walker

A close up of the King family trellis system.

ters were massive. “They were the size of a leg of lamb. The outside grapes were ripe, but the insides were still green,” King says. “Six tons per acre was pretty good, but the vines were still really bushy and we needed lots more labour to keep them in check.” At 12 tons per acre there was less labour and still reasonable clusters, but King says fruit quality suffered as the clusters shaded each other. “Eight tons was the sweet spot, which was great, because after the Frenchmen’s visit we were worried that we had made a mistake and wouldn’t be able to sell our grapes.” And that, of course, is the whole point. The Kings have a profitable farming business that has enabled son Ian to come on board. “In the late 90’s Lee Cartier (business professor at Okanagan College) did a complete analysis of the cost of production for grapes, not including land costs.” says King. “His analysis concurred with what we had figured out on our own. It just doesn’t make any sense at 4

tons, and I think it is still true today. “

lose more money by building a winery?”

The Kings also say they don’t need or want to build a winery. “Why do you think there are 400 wineries in the valley?” King jokes. “I’m losing money growing grapes and I can’t sell them, so I

King says they are happy with what they are doing. “After we put the last bin of grapes on the truck we can start to relax, but the winemakers are just starting to get busy.” ■

Innovation 2021 37

Sponsored Article

Wineries Harnessing the Power of the Sun An electrical company in Oliver is launching a campaign to encourage wineries to adopt solar power in the OkanaganSimilkameen as a way to save money and become more environmentally sustainable. Eric Pierce, head of Solar Sales for Argon Electrical and Solar Services, says the company has primarily installed systems for houses and apartment buildings, with roughly 10 per cent of their installs involving commercial customers.

“Since starting here, I’ve been moving more toward commercial accounts, because it makes more sense," says Pierce. "With a winery, for example, you are typically dealing with a flat roof, making it easier to install and maintain, and most importantly, the client tends to save a lot more money because of the higher amount of electricity they generally use.” One winery, for example, installed 492 photovoltaic solar modules, generating roughly 232,000 kWh annually, and offsetting carbon emissions by 118.5 tonnes per year. “There are three very good reasons to go solar,” says Pierce. “The first and most important from a business perspective is that it will save you money, but as well, going solar can help wineries get certified with the SWBC (Sustainable Winegrowers of BC), they are key in protecting the environment, and a third benefit is that it’s great for marketing. “A winery can honestly say we have helped the environment by generating this many kilowatt hours of clean energy, we’ve saved this many trees, and we’ve offset this much CO2 going into the air. Wineries can use that to attract more customers, as people are much more concerned these days with good environmental stewardship.” The best thing about solar power in the 2020s is the high Return On Investment, or ROI, of at least 6.5 to 8 per cent annually. 38 Innovation 2021

Photo contributed

But Pierce, who got his degree in Environmental Sciences in 1987, says it is actually the heavy power users like wineries who get the best bang for their buck when it comes to installing a solar array. Argon recently completed a major installation in the South Okanagan, reducing costs and emissions at a waste water treatment site.

“Let’s say it’s a $100,000 investment,” Pierce explains. “We use pretty modest figures of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent return on investment, so for a 100k system you are going to save 6.5 to 7.5 per cent on your electrical bill. “At that rate a typical solar installation takes 10 to 14 years to pay off, and after that it’s all savings.” To get those savings, wineries are hooked up to the Fortis power grid, and during the summer they sell their excess electricity for credits. During the fall and winter when power use increases and solar generation decreases, the electricity they purchase is offset by the credits they earn in the summer. As well, Pierce says there are a number of things that can greatly increase the ROI for wineries. For example, power costs are going up, not down, so the ROI is expected to naturally increase over time. Secondly, the cost of installing solar is a 100 per cent write-off in the first year, so a winery installing a $100,000 system would expect to write off $20,000 to $25,000.

programs have traditionally been geared toward larger electricity users, new federal programs are expected to make it easier and more profitable to sell carbon offsets. But more importantly than even the economics is the fact that the world faces a significant challenge in keeping global warming levels below 1.5 degrees Celsius. An increase over 2 degrees Celsius is estimated to cost the world trillions of dollars in damage due to disasters, heat related deaths and disease, damage to coastlines and coastal cities, and specifically to crops. Fortunately, Pierce says winemakers and viticulturalists appear to be extremely aware of the need for action. Already, wineries are responding to the call for a shift to renewable energy. While he’s only recently begun working with founder Dean Malmberg at Argon, Pierce says they are already working on one large winery project, and negotiating the scale and terms for a second.

Lastly, both the BC and the federal governments are improving their carbon offset programs. In BC, carbon offsets typically sell for $8 to $15 a metric tonne.

“I think our greatest advantages is that we aren’t just a solar company,” says Pierce. “We’re an electrical company that also does solar. In our case, we do it all, so we offer a turnkey solution.” ■

In the latest figures provided by BC, a company selling 132 tonnes of CO2 offsets was paid $1,600 in 2019. While these

argonelectrical.ca, or contact Eric Pierce: sales@argonsolar.ca


Agricultural Associations Support Farm Innovation


griculture associations seek to grow the farm economy for the benefit of primary producers; but how are the ag associations themselves innovating in their operations, governance, and structure, and how do associations support innovation on the farm? Well, the future is here! The

provincial umbrella organization, BC Agriculture Council, has decided to re-tool its support for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Now, a business plan is being developed that will provide the Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI) with the resources to deliver more value for ag producers. Needs identified include all of the work being done now, plus:

BCFGA would like to see the WALI:

• support for the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) - Ag Stream Program;

In addition to introducing new resources and innovative systems into WALI, BCAC has decided to wind-up its administration of the EFP program and recommend passing the administration of the program to the Investment

• coordinate transfers (matchmaking?) of workers between farms; ●• work on a pathway to Permanent Residency for interested TFWs. WALI will need to be innovative to address the usual needs effectively and efficiently and add services of value to primary producers.

• developing new systems to make housing inspections more efficient; ●• a tracking system for LMIAs and workers.

Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAFBC), subject of course to approval processes of the federal/provincial funding agents. The motivation for the change came due to the resistance of some government officials in providing administration responsibilities to the same group that advocated for the program in the first place. Though we feel that some officials, in our humble opinion, do not understand the true value or social enterprise benefit of agriculture associations for agricultural producers. Sometimes we, ourselves, fail to recognize the value of our agriculture organizations! In passing along the respon-

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

Ken Uppal MMBBAA P. APg.Ag District Manager Abbotsford & Fraser Valley 604-621-3350 kanwar.uppal@td.com

Michelle Curcio Account Manager Vancouver Island 250-246-0859 michelle.curcio@td.com

Connor Watson B.Comm Account Manager Abbotsford & Fraser Valley 778-201-5753 connor.watson@td.com

Ted Hallman Account Manager BC Interior 250-470-7557 ted.hallman@td.com

Dave Gill Account Manager Abbotsford & Fraser Valley 604-807-4761 baldev.gill@td.com

Alyssa Barr Account Manager BC Interior 250-575-5047 alyssa.barr@td.com

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sibility for EFP, the BCAC wishes to see program delivery by a farmer-led organization. Unlike for-profit delivery agents, a farmer-led organization exists for the benefit of the sector, according to BCAC. In other words, it is not about BCAC controlling the purse strings; it is about agriculture associations delivering value to growers beyond what a straight forprofit entity could offer. BCAC is willing to stop managing programs and take an innovative direction, for the good of the sector. The BCFGA too has made huge contributions to innovative programs - firsts in the world (or at least, North America) - partnering with Regional Governments to establish the Sterile Insect Release Program (TFPG), on-line production guide, development of an online database of spray schedules, links (APIs) for the TFPG spray schedules to external programs line DAS and Crop Tracker. The tracking of PAC points using a database was also a first here in the Okanagan. It is difficult to think of an agricultural association that does not put funds into research projects, the basis of many farm innovations. Associations promote the use of and apply to innovation programs, such as the IAFBC’s Agri-Innovation Program and the federal innovation program. On the grower side, there is no shortage of information on the benefits of innovation. There is not enough space here to do justice to this incredible story of innovation, about which entire books have been written. Simply put, the 200 year march on agricultural productivity continues, as less than 2 per cent of the population currently produces food for the other 98 per cent. The future of automation, precision agriculture, and new IT systems will be a challenge for primary producers to keep up with. Your agriculture associations are here to support producers in continuing to be the most efficient and effective sector of the economy. We will all achieve success through the adoption of innovative practices on the farm and when agricultural associations develop innovative services that provide value to primary producers. ■ Glen Lucas, General Manager, BC Fruit Growers’ Association


The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

40 Innovation 2021

M05338 (0120)


WGBC Launch Topographical Wine Region Maps

During the last year, Wine Growers British Columbia (WGBC) worked with consulting soil scientist Scott Smith and Linda Decker of Geo Earth Mapping, on the cartographic development of these high-resolution topographic maps. Displaying B.C.’s officially recognized geographical indications (GIs) and sub-geographical indications (sub-GIs) on bottles of B.C. VQA Wine let consumers know the formal place of origin of the fruit and that the wine contains characteristics unique to that region.

Photo by Wines of British Columbia, WineBC.com


ine lovers, media and trade alike will now be able to get a clear picture of B.C.’s unique sites and growing regions thanks to the release of ten new topographic wine maps highlighting the dramatic landscape of the province and its nine diverse wine regions in detail.

“The topographic cartography combines simple design incorporating the Wines of British Columbia new brand elements, with the GI and subGI boundaries as regulated by the British Columbia Wine Authority, to construct a detailed look at B.C.’s diverse winegrowing regions,” says Laura Kittmer, Communications Director, Wine Growers British Columbia. “The maps depict the extent of the GIs which are largely based on watershed boundaries or portions of watersheds. The sub-GI boundaries are based on landforms which are enduring landscape features that do not change over time,” says Scott Smith, Eterrna Consulting, Penticton. British Columbia’s wine regions are on the edge of the wine world, at the highest latitudes where grape growing is possible. Long hours of daylight, baking hot days, cool nights and deliberately moderate yields create intense, bright fruit flavours beautifully balanced against vibrant acidity.

growing conditions on the planet, that are not easily defined. These maps are developed to be used by industry as an essential tool in telling our story. Whether you are in the wine business, interested in learning about wine, or visiting a region, these maps are an important way in understanding B.C. wines and the scope of our diverse terroir.

From the coast to the vast and rugged interior of the province, British Columbia is gifted with some of the most extreme and unique grape

British Columbia continues to build its reputation for excellent winemaking and excep-

tional wines, further solidifying its place among the best in the world. The release of these maps will help educate the trade, media and consumers about the diverse terroir and unique growing regions that make B.C. such a special place for growing grapes and making wine. To download all new Wines of British Columbia provincial and regional topographic maps, visit WineBC.com.

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Innovation 2021 41

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In May 2021, Wine Growers British Columbia in collaboration with the BC Wine Grape Council, BC Grapegrowers’ Association and the BC Wine Authority, shared the release of the 2019 BC Wine Grape Acreage Report. In support of Wine BC 2030’s strategic pillar, to achieve “Executional Excellence”, the 2019 BC Wine Grape Acreage Report provides new vineyard acreage, and data by region and variety for the entire BC grape and wine industry. The goal of the report (last produced in 2014), was to analyze the vineyard landscape across the province to assess trends in wine grape farming, and to help improve accuracy and timing of industry planning and business forecasting. The 2019 BC Wine Grape Acreage Report was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and in part by BC Wine Grape Council, BC Grapegrowers’ Association, BC Wine Authority and Wine Growers British Columbia. Visit WineBC.com to read the full report. ■

ARE YOU MOVING? Send us an email to change your address. info@orchardandvine.net 42 Innovation 2021


The Now of New-ish Marketing Tactics


or this issue I wanted to share something new that really would give the “wow” factor for being innovative when it comes to marketing. Not so easy.

Then it occurred to me that just because I, as someone who does marketing for a living, am aware of these techniques, you might not be, so I will recap some of the ways that wineries, cideries, and breweries are showing industry leadership and innovation over the past year. The Move to Virtual Tastings If you have not tried this yet, what is stopping you? Last year when sales channels shut down, out of necessity, businesses developed new and

Photo contributed

It seems by now its all been done.

The packaging design of Green Screen IPA is exactly that – a green screen.

ings, businesses can deliver intimate experiences in homes, offices, and kitchens across a wide geography; and engage in meaningful interactions that both the public and wineries were craving. This has resulted in strengthened relationships with loyal customers and wine clubs, and increased spending within this segment.

evolving DTC revenue channels through virtual tastings. Many cideries, wineries, and breweries have found great success taking their tastings online, both financially and with customer engagement. This is still happening and will likely stay. Expanding beyond the monetary rewards of virtual tast-

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Innovation 2021 43

Virtual Tourism As an expansion of the virtual tasting, brands are doing more live streaming, or recorded video if there’s no Wi-Fi in the field. This is a way to bring the vineyard to the people when the people cannot come to the vineyard. If wineries have not invested in video yet, now is the time.


New Packaging Formats

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The changes over the past year in shopping and drinking patterns led to a shift towards large packaging formats, such as bag-in-a-box, and small packaging formats, such as cans. Canned wines have been gaining momentum for some time, and this trend has been accelerated by the pandemic. While the expansion of the bag-in-a-box format is seen more as a temporary trend driven by Covid shopping habits and peoples’ desire to stock up, canned wine has long term appeal. Millennials of legal drinking age are drawn to the convenience of canned wine, as well as its environmental aspects, portion control, and fun packaging approach. Product Line Expansions – Low Alcohol and Seltzer

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This is only starting in BC: low alcohol wines. No- and low-alcohol wines only represent a fraction of global wine consumption as well, but they are experiencing double-digit growth rates globally. Companies are increasingly investing in dealcoholisation processes and campaigns to increase consumer awareness and we can expect more brands to offer their own interpretations of these dry, low-alcohol drinks. U.K.-based market research firm, Wine Intelligence, sees a coming push by wine producers “to ride the hard seltzer wave.” Mass-market wine brand Barefoot launched four last year made from white wine, seltzer water, and natural flavours, with a mere 4% alcohol. They’re lighter and crisper than canned wine-based spritzers, which naturally contain more wine. Retail Reigning

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44 Innovation 2021

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2020 showed us that the traditional grocery store is not going anywhere, and creative retail displays play a key role in getting your wine brand off the shelf and closer to the consumer. Effective retail displays can influence consumer taste

and help your brand rise to the top. Using graphic applications like wine case sleeves, case stackers, and custom backer cards are all unique ways to stand out in retail settings. These materials, made from cardboard, are easy to assemble, recyclable, and can be digitally printed to reflect the current seasonal promotions.

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AR Packaging The advances in what we do with the smartphones in our hands has led to the success of augmented reality (AR) apps. Innovative beverage alcohol producers are using AR technology to promote their products. Using AR technology, wine companies enable customers to point their smartphone at the wine bottle, and the app installed on their phone pulls up detailed information. The information can be about the brand quality and features, but they are most successful when they provide users with interactive and engaging content that gives a glimpse into a brand’s story and history. An Australian company launched the 19 Crimes wine label based on British prisoners who were sent to Australia after they committed a crime listed in a set of 19 felonies. The characters on the wine bottle narrate the brand story in an interesting and entertaining manner. It motivates the people to buy more to collect all the stories narrated via the interactive AR app. Their success in marketing the 19 Crimes wine label motivated others to follow suit and create similar AR apps. The successful 19 Crimes app has been downloaded more than a million times!


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Invisible Packaging I want to leave you with what I think is one of the most fun and of-the-moment innovations. R&B Brewing released Green Screen IPA, “an unprecedented beer for an unprecedented time.” The packaging design of Green Screen IPA is exactly that – a green screen. With a little bit of planning, you can attend your virtual meeting with your ‘invisible’ beer in hand. R&B Brewing’s website (randbbrewing. com/greenscreenipagreenscreen) has some how-to tips to show you how to harness the magic for yourself. ■ Leeann Froese owns Town Hall Brands See more at townhallbrands.com or on social @townhallbrands


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Innovation 2021 45


Pénélope Roche of Roche Wines

Born with wine in her blood, Pénélope counts six generations of viticulture and winemaking at Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, the small family estate whose elegant wines rival the Crus Classés of Bordeaux. From oenology and viticulture studies in Bordeaux to winemaking in Spain, New Zealand and Australia, Pénélope brings to the Okanagan a profound and holistic understanding of the grapevine’s relationship with its environment, from a winemaker’s perspective. Pénélope is also a winegrowing consultant and teaches viticulture at Okanagan College. O&V: How did you get started in the wine industry? Pénélope Roche: I was born into a winemaking family in Bordeaux, Southwest of France. My family used to own a winery in Pessac-Leognan since the French Revolution. I took after my dad in 2005 and became our family’s 6th generation winemaker. I did not realize I wanted to work in the wine industry before I was 16, I guess when you are born in it that's not the first thing that comes to mind. I had first wanted to become a chef!

Photo by Chris Stenberg

O&V: Where did you go to school or apprentice? Pénélope: When I realized I wanted to make wine I went to a wine and viticulture boarding school in Sauternes (close to Chateau Yquem) for three years before I went to university in Bordeaux. In total, I studied winemaking and viticulture for six years before I went traveling.

since arriving in the Okanagan.

O&V: Have you worked in any other countries?

O&V: What is your favourite varietal to work with?

Pénélope: I made wine in Spain in 2004 in Ribera del Duero, then in 2005 I had the dream to make two vintages in one year and left for New Zealand where I met my husband, Dylan, who was there for the same reason. I later travelled to Australia, Margaret River and Tasmania, before coming back to France to work with my dad for the 2005 crush. I eventually came to the Okanagan with my husband in May 2011 to one day create our own winery. Thankfully, that dream came true! 2021 marks our 10th year

Pénélope: I think I have a preference for red wine, Cabernet Franc might be one of my favorites. It needs to be treated well, and when it does, it can give you some amazing wines.

46 Innovation 2021

Pénélope Roche, co-owner, vigneron and winemaker at Roche Wines.

O&V: What is the best thing about your job? Pénélope: The best part of our job is the diversity of what we do. We are so lucky to be able to follow the evolution of a plant every year and make beautiful things out of its fruit. It is really scary to

be dependent on nature, but when you hold a bottle of your own wine after all the steps involve in making it, you feel pretty proud. O&V: Is there a particular wine or vintage that you have made that you are most proud of? Pénélope: It's hard to answer this question because I feel like answering it would be like choosing which of our kids I prefer most! I will not be able to answer that because I love each of them equally. I think with winemaking it is pretty similar, you learn from all of them for many reasons and every year is different. That is the beauty of it! ■

British Columbia: Okanagan, Interior, Kootenay

Cleanfarms 2021 Unwanted Pesticides & Old Livestock/Equine Medications Collection is coming to your region this fall! Okanagan, Interior, Kootenay – Oct. 12 to 22 Look for details on locations & dates later this summer and check out Cleanfarms.ca – see "Unwanted/Outdated Products" under "What to Recycle & Where" Unwanted Old Pesticides

Old Obsolete Livestock/Equine Medications Collection

What’s In

What’s In

Only agricultural or commercial solid and liquid pesticides, insecticides & herbicides identified with a Pest Control Product number (PCP No.) on the label • Adjuvants: only open with partial amount left; no full, unopened containers • Unlabeled pesticide, insecticide & herbicide product – identify it by writing UNKNOWN across it • Seed treatment products • Growth retardants with a PCP number

Only livestock/equine medications used by primary producers in the rearing of animals in an agricultural context or horse owners • Identified with a DIN number, Serial Number, Notification Number or Pest Control Product number (PCP No.) on the product label • Unlabeled animal health product – identify it by writing UNKNOWN across it

What’s Not

What’s Not • • • •

• No needles/sharps • No ear tags • No medicated feed

• No aerosols, even pesticides or animal health products • No treated seed No rinsate No household hazardous waste (residential waste, oils, paints, etc.) No foam makers, sanitizers, soaps, iodine, acids, premise disinfectants No fertilizer or micronutrients


Look for the PCP number on the label. If there is one, it's accepted; if there isn't, it's not!

Cleanfarms.ca info@cleanfarms.ca


Innovation 2021 47


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Avenue Machinery Corp.

7155 Meadowlark Road


*Minimum down payment of 10% required. Representative example M4D-071HDCC12 with price of $73,035 financed at 0% APR equals $905 per month for 72 Months. $7,875 down payment required. Borrowing cost is $0 for a total obligation of $73, 035. Dealer may sell for less. Dealer order/trade may be necessary. Prices, payments and models featured throughout may vary by dealer. Offer ends 31 May 2021. Offers valid only at participating dealers in Canada and are subject to change, cancellation or extension at any time without notice or obligation. Conditions apply. See your participating Kubota dealer or visit www.kubota.ca for details. ΩConditions and restrictions apply. Visit www.kubota.ca for full warranty details.