Quebec Standard

Geothermal energy holds grapevines cozy in winter at Eastern Townships vineyard


Key takeaways: 

  • Vignoble du Ruisseau in Dunham formed its system from heating vines from the ground up.
  • Sara Gaston, general director of the Vignoble du Ruisseau in Dunham, Que., states the vineyard’s geothermal system lets it cover sensitive buds and restrict failures of grapes in extreme cold breezes.

The geothermal system saves grapes in extreme cold: 

At the Vignoble du Ruisseau in Dunham, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, rows of grapevines are taking their long winter’s nap beneath cocoons of insulating geotextile, coated with a coating of snow. 

But these vines help from an additional heat source to maintain them comfortable during Quebec’s brutal winter freeze: geothermal energy.

The household that owns the vineyard thinks it’s the first in the world to use the technology to protect grapevines from icy conditions.

“The thought here is, go big or go home,” stated Sara Gaston, general director of the Vignoble du Ruisseau.

The system, patented by the vineyard, spreads heat across 7.5 hectares of fields, appreciating 15 kilometers of tubing running both outside and below ground, keeping the soil temperature past–10 C all year round. 

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Geothermal energy keeps grapes warn in winter conditions

In addition, the vineyard’s warehouses, vats, and cellars are all warmed and chilled utilizing geothermal energy. 

“Two metres below floor, it lasts between 5 and 8 degrees, in summer or winter,” said Gaston. “Whether you’re in Hawaii or France, it’s almost the same temperature.”

The system works by taking that subsurface heat to the surface with the benefit of a glycol solution rushing through the tubes.

Gaston says, in winter, that turned heat shields sensitive buds and allows limitation losses of grapes in severe cold snaps.

“We wanted to make certain that the vines don’t die and that there is a complete and quality crop, year after year,” she said. “That lets us have vines that are almost ten years old…that are infused with the terroir of our area.”

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