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Innovative bottle design saves tons of glass a year at Summerland winery

Okanagan Crush Pad Winery has found innovative ways to make sustainable wine.
Okanagan Crush Pad Winery has found innovative ways to make sustainable wine.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Okanagan Crush Pad Winery

With carbon footprints and organic produce being at the forefront of most consumer’s minds, one Okanagan winery is going the extra mile to make sure its practices are sustainable.

After joining the International Wineries for Climate Action organization, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, based in Summerland, had to come up with some creative ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

“It's hard to look at it with a fresh set of eyes and say, how can we make change?” general manager Craig Pingle told

One idea born from a team brainstorming session was to reduce the amount of glass used to bottle Crush Pad’s sparkling wine.

“We recognize that packaging is one of the leading contributors of carbon emissions in the wine industry, 25 to 40% of overall emissions come from packaging,” Pingle said. “And of course, glass is the biggest component because of its weight.”

Winemakers Matt Dumayne and Katrina D’Costa used a method of carbonating known as Charmat.

The wine was put into a 10,000 litre tank and infused with CO2. By slightly reducing the bar pressure, the team were able to find a safe level of carbonation where the wine could be packaged in a lighter glass bottle.

The winery makes 3,000 cases of this wine per year. The new bottling method means 12 pounds of glass is saved per case, resulting in 36,000 pounds or 16 tons of glass being saved every year.

The design has also allowed for the sparkling wine to have a screw cap, which means is can be resealed and used over a longer period.

“We've even had a wine writer, Anthony Gismondi, who's arguably one of Canada's top wine writers, put it in his fridge. (He) forgot about it and went back to it a few weeks later. (It was) still a carbonated product.”

The innovation also means less waste in restaurants, as a new bottle doesn’t have to be opened for each fresh glass of sparkling wine.

This is only one of the initiatives Crush Pad has taken to be more sustainable.

“We're always looking to find new innovative ways to find efficiencies,” Pingle said. “Whether it's cost efficiencies or reducing our environmental impact or both.”

The winery also eliminated printed cardboard packaging and now uses recycled cardboard instead for 30,000 cases of wine a year.

“We got 50 cubic yards of steer manure last year, and it's not a glamorous topic, but it's coming from the valley and it helps to replace the chemicals or the nutrients that are lost every year,” Pingle explained. “Because every time you have a harvest you're depleting the soil nutrients.”

The winery also enlisted the help of 50 roosters to help get rid of cutworms and grasshoppers. The chicken experiment turned out to be a success and soon 500 more birds were bought to keep the bug population down.

According to Pingle, none of this would have been possible without Crush Pad’s owner Christine Coletta.

“We've got our work cut out for us to determine what initiatives we're going to put in place in 2024 and beyond,” Pingle said. “All it takes is one good idea and it can make a significant impact.”

More information about Okanagan Crush Pad Winery can be found on its website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Georgina Whitehouse or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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