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VineRoutes Video: Stratus introduces its lightweight bottle initiative

March 21, 2024

Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratus Vineyards has always been an early adopter when it comes to sustainability and eco-awareness. As a founding member of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario, they were the first LEED-certified building in Canada and the first fully LEED certified winery in the world. It’s no surprise then, that they are once again on the forefront with their new lightweight wine bottles.

I sat with estate director, Suzanne Janke, to discuss the new bottles along with many of their other initiatives, both in the vineyard and in the winery (see video below).

Read Also: Spotlight on Sustainability: Stratus Vineyards – a step ahead

Some of their practices include using pheromone tags and tea sprays rather than herbicides for pest control, and the use of biochar, which is made from burning weathered vine rootstocks until blackened, which reduces C02 emissions and puts carbon back into the soil. They spread straw and grow cover crops between rows to increase biodiversity, improve organic matter and introduce potassium into the soil.

In the winery, a geothermal heating and cooling system is generated by 24 wells that are 225ft deep. The building design itself is largely comprised of floor to ceiling windows to keep power consumption to a minimum. Furthermore, their winemaking is vegan, without the use of any animal fining agents and – bonus—they offer a vegan charcuterie board in the tasting room for their plant-forward guests. It’s a rare treat as many wineries offer vegan-friendly wines but not plant-based foods to taste them with.

It’s quite a comprehensive approach to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Let’s circle back to those new lightweight bottles as this is one of the most important changes a winery can make to combat climate change. I first learned  this when I interviewed Michelle Bouffard founder of Tasting Climate Change.

Packaging is responsible for up to 40 percent of the carbon footprint of a wine. Plus, there’s a global glass shortage, sometimes forcing producers to turn to buying from China which makes the carbon footprint skyrocket. While many producers still favour a heavy bottle due to tradition or company branding, Bouffard says “the planet is hurting and we need to find other ways to market our wine.”

It’s no small feat to go against the grain, but if anyone has the gusto for it, it’s the team at Stratus. Watch my chat with Suzanne in the light-filled tasting room overlooking their vineyards below.


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