16 Ways of “Going Green” at Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery

September 1, 2017 | Categories: HeartBeat Magazine

Yesterday’s article featured Missouri’s only “green” winery, Jowler Creek Vineyards & Winery. Here are 16 ways that they’ve “gone green” at Jowler Creek.

  1. Solar Energy Production Monitoring System. The 22 photovoltaic solar panels on the tasting room help reduce the winery’s electric bill and the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. Each year, their array offsets more than 4,000 kilograms of CO2.
  2. 5 kW Solar Array. A 5 kW photovoltaic solar array on top of the winery’s roof produce an average of 5,166 kWh per year.
  3. Electric Vehicle (EV and Charging Station). Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers can charge their car for the return trip in Jowler Creek’s parking lot. The winery’s own 100% electric-powered Nissan LEAF can drive up to 80 miles on one charge. At 8 cents per kWh, the winery spends just $2.40 per 100 miles driven.
  4. Green-Built Winery Facility. When designing their winery, the Gerkes worked to be resource-efficient. Design features such as natural and high-efficiency lighting, spray foam insulation and a high-efficiency HAC system help use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Green Waste Composting Bin. All skins, stems and seeds from the wine making process are composted and spread between the vines to provide nutrients and organic soil amendments. The compost also helps with erosion control, moisture retention and overall vineyard health.
  6. Honeybee Colony. A honeybee colony helps improve the cover crops between the rows and surrounding ecosystems that boost vines via increased biodiversity and improved soil health. The colonies also produce raw honey that is sold in the tasting room.
  7. Missouri Stream Team Adopted Access. Jason and Colleen Gerke are members of the Missouri Conservation Stream Team and help keep the local watershed cleaner and safer. They work to keep the creek free of waste and harmful run-off and effectively manage the creek’s natural ecosystem.
  8. Automated Drip Irrigation System. The winery’s automated drop irrigation system uses 30% to 50% less water than conventional sprinkler method by providing precise water volume to the vine’s root zone. It helps the Gerkes conserve water by reducing evaporation and erosion.
  9. Eco-based Integrated Pest Management. An eco-based integrated pest management (IPM) program with hands-on monitoring helps keep fruit quality high and free from rot and insects while minimizing the use of synthetic controls.
  10. Pest-Controlling Bats. Bat houses are strategically placed throughout the vineyard. The bats feed on flying bugs all night long, keeping the insect population in check and maintaining the natural balance of the vineyard.
  11. Solar-Powered Wildlife Fence. High-tensile fencing powered by the sun surrounds the vineyard to protect the grapevines from deer and other wildlife that could potentially damage the plants and fruit.
  12. Native Plant Butterfly Garden. The Gerkes incorporated a number of native plans and grasses into their landscaping to provide the resources necessary for Monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.
  13. Recycling Collection Center. By partnering with community programs, the Gerkes recycle as much packaging material as possible, keeping it out of local landfills.
  14. Rain Collection Barrel. Collecting reclaimed rainwater from their expanded roof-top provides water for native plants and landscaping while reducing demand from the public water supply. It also eliminates potential erosion.
  15. Pest Controlling Chickens. A flock of free-range laying hens helps control crawling insects naturally, enabling the Gerkes to reduce or eliminate insecticide use in the vineyard. The chickens also produce free-range eggs that are sold by the dozen in the tasting room.
  16. Weed-Controlling Sheep. During the growing season, the Gerkes maintain a small flock of sheep to mow under the Norton vines, helping to eliminate the use of herbicides, minimize soil erosion, decrease dependence on fossil fuels and improve soil health.

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