Wine Access –
The global wine industry is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. Many wine producers’ commitment to these green principles and practices extend beyond the bottle into the wineries themselves. Form and aesthetics are increasingly taking a back seat to function in ensuring that facilities have as little environmental impact as possible. And, just as producers can have their wines certified as organic or biodynamic, Canadain wineries are seeking certification for the winery structures themselves.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a green building rating system that is North American in origin and is now becoming recognized worldwide. It is a suite of standards for the environmentally sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings and neighbourhoods. And, in 2005, Stratus Winery in Niagara, Ontario, was the first building in Canada to receive LEED certification from the Canada Green Building Council and the first winery in the world to be recognized. Stratus’ 20,128 square-foot facility is silver certified, which represents a savings of 42 percent in overall energy, 49 percent in indoor water use and 15 percent in raw materials.
The winery buildings, designed by Niagara architect Les Andrew, use geo-exchange technology for heating and cooling and were constructed with a high percentage of recycled materials. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are all resource and energy efficient. There is a comprehensive waste management program and a landscape plan that is organic and based on indigenous and adaptive grasses and plants.
Stratus was the first, but has not been the last. The Okanagan Valley’s Tantalus Vineyards was the latest producer to open a LEED-certified winery this past May. This summer visitors will be able to fully appreciate the high-tech new winery when they enjoy tasting in the brand-new 13,000 square-foot facility. (Steve Thurlow)