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Case study

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

GHG Reduction Highlights

  • Virtual wine tastings
  • Strategic planning of travel
  • Drip irrigation system
  • LED lighting upgrade projects

Annual Emissions

  • Reduced by 26%
  • 2009: 171 Tonnes CO2e
  • 2017: 126 tonnes CO2e


  • 45 Tonnes CO2e since 2009
  • Estimated $3,793 cost savings in 2017

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, based in Oliver, BC, has 29 employees and annual greenhouse gas emissions of 126 tonnes CO2e (2017). Tinhorn Creek holds sustainability as a core value, and has been tracking and reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint with Climate Smart since 2009.

Strategic Travel and Webinars:
Tinhorn Creek has been looking for ways to reduce emissions associated with staff travel, both on-road and in the air. To address this, Tinhorn Creek began strategically planning travel at the beginning of each year. This focus led to a significant reduction in road travel: by 62%, or by 17.4 tCO2e since 2009. Tinhorn Creek has also developed a successful webinar series — Kitchen Chats with Winemaker and Guests. The webinars feature a variety of topics, including live cooking demonstrations, and information about food and wine pairings. Virtual wine tastings, which involve shipping wine — but not the staff — to buyers, have helped to further reduce travel. Focusing on virtual solutions rather than travel has helped decrease air travel by 55%, or by an additional 17.2 tCO2e — the equivalent of nearly 10 flights from Vancouver to London!

Irrigation System:
Tinhorn Creek invested in improvements to its irrigation system. Switching from overhead-spray to a drip-irrigation system allows them to combine water and fertilizer together in the same stream. This gives them the ability to increase yield and significantly decrease water usage by targeting irrigation and fertilizer to those vines that most need it.

Drip irrigation also eliminates the need for tractors to disperse fertilizer. This project was completed in 2016. This upgrade has led to a 25% decrease, or 8.57 tCO2e reduction heavy equipment-related in emissions since 2009.

Since completing its irrigation upgrade, Tinhorn Creek has been focusing on improvements that will increase electrical efficiency. In 2016, Tinhorn Creek upgraded tasting room lighting to LEDs, and is working on upgrading outside and cellar lighting in 2017. As well, there has been a focus on keeping doors closed. This has led to an approximate savings of 53,000 kWh electricity usage, a 36% savings, and an estimated $3,793 cost savings.

Organic waste and compost has been an ongoing struggle for Tinhorn Creek. While the winery organic material is composted in windrows and reintroduced to the vineyard after three years, organic waste from the onsite restaurant has been more difficult to deal with. After Miradoro opened in 2011, Tinhorn Creek realized that it needed a solution to the restaurant’s organic waste stream. Tinhorn Creek began a “bokashi” composting trial, which involved burying waste, fermenting it, and then waiting for decomposition. Due to the logistical difficulty of situating a shredder onsite (space, hygiene due to limited availability of water and concerns about attracting bears), and the environmental conditions in the Okanagan (hot and dry), the trial was unsuccessful. Since the trial ceased, Tinhorn Creek has been searching for another solution to their organic restaurant waste stream.

Despite an 11% increase in production and 13% increase in sales since 2009, Tinhorn Creek’s total GHG emissions have reduced by 27% or 46 tCO2e! Between 2010 and 2017, Tinhorn Creek has also achieved an intensity reduction of 36% per 1,000 cases produced.

Visit Tinhorn Creek’s website for more details.

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