Why have Norman Hardie and Broken Stone, two wineries in Prince Edward County, taken an interest in water management?
“If people around you raise their bar, you tend to raise it yourself.”
— Norman Hardie
Last Thursday, we met up with winery owners Norm Hardie (Norman Hardie Winery http://www.normanhardie.com) and Tim Kuepfer (Broken Stone Winery http://brokenstone.ca/) to discuss what they are doing to monitor their water-use, improve water efficiency, and reduce their supply risks. We gathered at Archive wine bar (archive909.com), which Norm enthusiastically refers to as the “best wine bar in Toronto,” to film the interviews.
Both Norm Hardie and Broken Stone are located in Prince Edward County, a budding wine region favoured for its climate and unique soil composition. The trade-off: despite being at such a close proximity to Lake Ontario, groundwater supplies are constrained in the region. This is one of the primary drivers behind both Norm and Tim’s interest in water. They recognize that water is an essential part of their business and that they require a reliable supply in order to operate their wineries and plan for growth. More than this, they view water as a valuable shared resource and take their role as users and stewards of that resource seriously.
This summer, we conducted demonstrations at each of their wineries as part of web-based modules we are developing to improve water and wastewater management at Ontario wineries. At Norman Hardie,with the help of Aureus Solutions, we established a system to practically monitor water usage, and at Broken Stone, with the help of Quinte Conservation, we explored how to measure well levels. The aim of the filmed demonstrations was to produce a step-by-step method that could be followed by any winery.
“We don’t want to have an unexpected shortage. It jeopardizes the whole business, really.” — Tim Kuepfer
During our discussions at Archive, Norm emphasized the impact that installing water meters has already had on his operations. He noted that their presence alone helped make water more “visible,” and reduced consumption before any data was even gathered. He figures that during the recent harvest they used at least 10% less water because the physical meters acted as a visual reminder not to waste water. Tim elaborated on his interest in monitoring well levels in order to be better prepared for droughts, and to make sure that his use of water wasn’t going to negatively affect his neighbours.
The results of these interviews will be integrated into the Well Management and Water Monitoring Modules that we are currently developing to help wineries improve their water management practices. Other modules will include Reducing Water Consumption and Wastewater Strength and On-site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems.