Local winery boosts water research

Summerhill Pyramid Winery is supporting research at UBC Okanagan that will address a critically important issue in vineyards – water use.

A $30,000 donation from Summerhill will fund a project led by biochemist Susan Murch to develop drought-tolerant rootstock genotypes. As part of the project, molecular biologist Steven Lund at the Wine Research Centre at UBC in Vancouver will also create a portable kit for early detection of water stress at the molecular level.

“We are honoured to partner with Professor Susan Murch and her team to pursue new and innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture,” says Summerhill winery proprietor Steven Cipes.

“Our strict practices of certified organic growing, permaculture, biodynamics and conservation, coupled with the technology of far less water-thirsty plants and rootstocks, will catapult our model to the world.”

"Innovations in drought-tolerant rootstock and detection of water stress can improve the efficiency of water use and inform irrigation management practices in the Okanagan Valley and many other parts of the world," says Murch, Canada Research Chair in Natural Products Chemistry.

"Summerhill has shown leadership in supporting this research - it's exciting to think what improved rootstocks and management practices could mean for Okanagan producers and for the entire wine industry."

This collaboration draws on UBC Okanagan’s outstanding strengths in sustainability, says Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, Provost at UBC Okanagan.

"This partnership with Summerhill Pyramid Winery is a great example of how our university and local industry – in this case the wine industry - are collaborating on research and knowledge creation for the benefit of our communities and their economies."

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