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Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery, Missouri – Jason and Colleen Gerke

June 12, 2012

Being “green” can mean so many things these days. For us, being green means making choices throughout the year to positively impact our environment, being efficient with the resources we have available, and improving our wine quality to sustain our business.

Since our family’s home is in the middle of the vineyard, and just yards away from the winery, we try to do everything we can to protect the environment and sustain our business for generations to come. Here’s just a sample of some of the green business practices we implement:

In the vineyard:

  1. We carefully tend to each and every one of our more than 3,000 vines on an individual basis, while practicing sustainable, integrated pest management and soil and water conservation programs throughout the vineyard.
  2. A flock of hard-working chickens reduces pest populations and helps maintain quality while minimizing synthetic controls.
  3. Bat houses encourage bats to naturally manage pests and maintain biodiversity in the landscape.
  4. A small flock of Babydoll Sheep “mows” under our Norton vines, helping eliminate the use of herbicides, reducing soil erosion, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and improving soil health.  In fact, we recently received a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program to test the effectiveness of controlling grass and weed growth in Midwestern vineyards with managed, rotational grazing of Olde English Babydoll sheep.
  5. Solar power is used to electrify the fence surrounding the vineyard.
  6. All skins, stems, and seeds from the winemaking process are composted and spread between the vines, to provide nutrients and organic soil amendments.
  7. A computerized drip irrigation system enables us to conserve water and manage soil health in the vineyard.

In the winery:

  1. Oak alternatives, such as toasted staves from Missouri-based coopers, are used in lieu of barrels.
  2. Wines are bottled in lightweight, recycled glass bottles which use less energy to manufacture and transport.
  3. Wines are sealed with technical corks that are biodegradable and made from the waste of other natural corks.
  4. Purchased grapes used to make our wines are sourced from local, family-run farms.
  5. Platte-Clay Energy Cooperative regularly monitors energy usage, provides energy audits, and developed ways and to enhance the facility’s energy efficiency, including energy star appliances.

In the tasting room:

  1. Our tasting room is Missouri’s first certified green-build wine tasting room.
  2. A 5-kilowatt array of solar PV panels supplies nearly all of the electric power needs for tasting room.
  3. The tasting room and production area are sided with 90% recycled steel, and framed with locally-sourced wood that is certified to the requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program.
  4. The design maximizes natural daylight while balancing the relationship between the sun and heat gain.
  5. Products used to build the roof are in accordance with the ENERGY STAR cool roof certification.
  6. The walls and roof are insulated with the spray-foam to create an air-tight seal.
  7. Walls are painted with environmentally-responsive Zero-VOC formula paint.
  8. WaterSense plumbing features and low-flow nozzles are installed to conserve water.
  9. The tasting room and production area is lit with fluorescent lighting, which uses 2/3 less energy.
  10. Marketing materials and labels are printed with soy ink on recycled paper.
  11. We encourage clients to recycle! For every empty Jowler Creek wine bottle returned to the winery and placed in our Ripple Glass recycling bins, customers get 10% off the purchase price of a full new bottle.

Being Green Video:





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