Second time’s the charm: Stratus Vineyards launches its 1st wine in re-used bottles

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, April 19, 2024 /CNW/ – Stratus Vineyards, a leader in innovative and sustainable winemaking, is proud to announce the release of a new, super-premium wine in bottles that are being used for the second time.  They believe this pioneering project marks the first time a North American winery has re-used their own glass wine bottle, setting a new benchmark for environmental responsibility in the wine industry.

This re-use initiative is the latest step in Stratus Vineyards’ attentiveness to the environment. Attaining LEED™ certification for our full facility – the first winery in the world to do so – underlined our singular commitment,” says Estate Director Suzanne Janke

Our Motivation:  The Circular Economy

Valuing both innovation and community, it is no surprise that this re-used glass project began when Winemaker Dean Stoyka led Stratus’ partnership with environmental students from Niagara College in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The students quickly confirmed that glass was one of the most carbon-intensive aspects accounting for 39% of the winery’s carbon footprint.  And, according to the Porto Protocol, an industry non-profit dedicated to mitigating climate change, that total is closer to 50-70% when you factor in the energy needed to melt glass and transport it to market and consumers. Moreover, silica sand, a key component in glassmaking, ranks second behind water in terms of the world’s most exploited resource per a 2022 UN report.

Despite the logical appeal of bottle re-use and its adoption in some smaller European wine regions, it is still not practiced in the Canadian wine landscape. Commonplace in the beer industry, where the largest breweries agreed to a standard bottle, beer drinkers return their “empties” to the Beer Store and the bottles are cleaned and prepared for the next batch of beer.

To explore the possibilities for the wine industry, Stoyka found Circulr, a Kitchener, Ontario pioneer in the re-use glass movement, particularly in food packaging. Using Stratus wine bottles collected from both consumers and the winery tasting room, Circulr conducted trials for label removal, sterilization and food safety. These same bottles were returned to Stratus and now hold a new and distinctive wine which is ready for release on April 22 – Earth Day.  “This is the start of something truly impactful for the Canadian wine industry. We’re excited to keep growing this initiative and are fortunate to have found a leader like Stratus that is willing to evoke change,” says Tyler DeSousa, co-founder of Circulr.

2021 Stratus PVMT:

The wine selected for this landmark bottling is, appropriately, also an innovation, but one founded in tradition. It is a Field Blend of three very rare varieties in Ontario – Petit Verdot, Malbec and Tannat – that were co-fermented in a nod to ancient ways. Unlike the winery’s signature “assemblage,” in a field blend, it is the grapes that are “blended” together before fermentation, not the finished wines. Labelled PVMT, on eco-friendly paper with water-soluble glue for easy removal, these varieties were experimental plantings at Stratus – contributing to the winery’s philosophical trademark – “Diversity for Complexity.” Unique and delicious, the wine captures Stratus’ sustainable spirit from grape to glass. 

About Stratus Vineyards

Set in the heart of Niagara, Ontario, Stratus Vineyards has always been at the forefront of combining innovative techniques with time-honoured traditions to create exceptional wines. Sustainability, quality and design have been foundational for Stratus. Their 55-acre farm is home to 16 grape varieties and is certified sustainable by Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. 

SOURCE Stratus Vineyards Limited