How a B.C. winery’s sustainable actions benefit plants, animals, the earth—and the wine drinker
In the Thompson Valley, British Columbia’s newest Geographic Indicator, the team at Monte Creek Winery is showcasing their passion for quality, innovation and sustainability by creating wines that work with the land, not against it.
Sustainability has always been a part of the culture at Monte Creek Winery, and now it has been integrated as one of the winery’s key pillars. The winemaking team utilizes regenerative agriculture, a practice that includes the rehabilitation and conservation of an ecosystem, to shelter their unique growing region and enhance the soil. Cover crops (the native plants that are left between the vines), are used as ‘natural guards,’ enriching the soil while protecting the vines. A robust compost program, including the use of chicken tractors to replenish the fields with manure, is also used at the winery. These regenerative agricultural practices lead to healthier vines, which gives the winemaking team premium fruit to work with.
Bees and badgersMary Putnam
Honeybees have been on-site at Monte Creek Winery for many years to help pollinate the surrounding plants. Two acres of Haksap berries were planted at the winery so that the honeybees could feed on the nectar. In return, the winery is gifted with all-natural, unpasteurized honey that is available for visitors to purchase.
One of the most successful sustainable projects at Monte Creek Winery is their commitment to making their whole environment a better place—even for their furry neighbours. In B.C., badgers are red-listed and ranked as imperilled by BC’s Conservation Data Centre due to their dangers, such as illegal trapping, vehicle traffic, and habitat and food loss. The stretch of highway outside Monte Creek Winery between Lafarge and Pritchard is reportedly one of the worst in the province for badger mortality. To combat this issue, the winery partnered with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Manager of the Wildlife Program to make badger travel safer.
Monte Creek Winery raised money for Badgers in BC and the BC Wildlife Park this past summer, and the entire badger safe campaign was recognized as the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association’s 2021 Sustainable Project of the Year.
And wine, oh my!Whiskey and Wine Photography
Recently, Monte Creek Winery rebranded its packaging to better align with its overall commitment to sustainability. The winery even dedicated its Living Land series to celebrate the philosophy that in order to grow incredible fruit, you must promote and maintain an environment that is healthy and working with nature, not against it.
“As a small business, we’re very connected to our community and this region,” says Erik Fisher, Monte Creek Winery’s general manager. “It wouldn’t feel right to disregard this land and all that it has given us. Instead, we’ve made it our goal to continue creating our award-winning premium wines without jeopardizing the eco-system we participate in.”