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  • Writer's picturePeter Yolles

Turning Water Into Wine

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Wine grapes are a canary in the climate coal mine. Smoke from fires can damage flavors. Water scarcity can shrivel grapes on the vine. Heat events and warmer night time temperatures may limit quality. The hot days and cool nights that characterize the grape growing season along the West Coast of North America is at risk.

That's why a major winery in the heart of the Napa Valley has hired three Echo River portfolio companies to help them manage water. Waterplan is assessing the winery’s climate and water risks. Epic Cleantec will be treating winery wastewater for reuse and irrigation. AgMonitor is analyzing the groundwater pumps in the vineyard for energy, GHG and water savings.

I toured the combined winery and vineyard operation last week learning about the water challenges and innovations being adopted out of necessity. Not a drop of water is wasted. Tiles collect irrigation water that seeps below the root zone. Water used in the washing of grape storage bins is gathered and conveyed into a holding pond for vineyard irrigation. And still, the risks persist and the company continues to seek opportunities for doing even more to drive operational sustainability.

The wine industry will be an early adopter of these technologies because of their high margins from vertical integration of wine grape production and wine sales, and I expect agricultural adoption to accelerate to address water risk, decentralized treatment and decarbonization.

To learn more about Sustainable Vineyards and Wineries, read more here.

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