Sustainability

Culmina works towards the overall enhancement of environmental quality on the property to not only improve quality of life for themselves, but also for the wider community at large.  In 2012, Reflecting on Culmina’s arid location in the South Okanagan and their irrigation dependency, the Triggs decided to embark on a project to try and determine the feasibility of dryland farming on the property.  Looking at research carried out in similarly arid locations in Europe, they decided to plant nearly 1000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah vines in equal proportion directly into the steep, grass covered areas on the slope towards Stan’s Bench.

Planted 2 x 2 metres apart, and grafted onto drought resistant, high vigor rootstocks (RU140 and R110) known for pushing their roots 30 meters downwards in search of water, the young vines are earmarked to be goblet or ‘bush vine’ trained once mature.    Due to the unique training system employed, all of Culmina’s bush vines will require significantly more hand work than the other parts of the vineyard, potentially for a significantly smaller yield.  Regardless of the resultant crop, the possibility of verifying whether or not water consumption can be reduced while still growing high quality wine grapes is a question that the Triggs are committed to answer.

In addition to the research that Culmina has undertaken to explore reduced dependency on water, sustainability initiatives continue to be taken in a number of areas, both in the development and the ongoing management of the estate:

Land Use

  • Hand-hoeing and cultivation of weeks to minimize the use of undesirable sprays
  • Using hand-split cedar end-posts and galvanized steel in-row posts in lieu of chemically treated wooden ones
  • Sourcing local cow manure compost to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Developing a natural cover crop to support bio-diversity and beneficial insect populations in the vineyard
  • Minimizing tilling and cultivation in the vineyard to prevent soil degradation

Water

  • Conversion of the old vineyard from overhead irrigation to maxi-jet under canopy irrigation which uses much less water

Waste

  • Chipping, not burning, of old vines into compost material
  • Reclaiming old trellising wires and aluminum irrigation lines for sale to salvage companies
  • On-site crushing and re-purposing of rocks pulled off of vineyard for roads and pathways

Energy & Emissions

  • Installation of north-facing windows and skylights in the winery to reduce the lighting, heating and cooling requirements of the facility
  • Installation of high quality wall insulation in the winery, machine shed and workers quarters
  • Installation of double-paned windows and under floor insulation to reduce the rate of energy consumption

Community

  • High-quality, energy-efficient housing built on-site for seasonal vineyard workers
  • Local suppliers and contractors used to develop the vineyard and build the winery