Winery Performance and Sustainability

Continuous improvement for a sustainable wine industry is a key objective for the sector, nationally and internationally.

The assessment of performance is a critical component of the management process especially for wineries as they can improve their performance on multiple levels, from the production in the vineyard to their marketing and sales. With increasing global competition, wineries need to focus on methods to streamline their wine production by introducing sustainable practices, to sustain their productivity and to optimize their sales profitability.

Sustainable winegrowing research and good business practices monitoring are set up by the WRC to support growers and winemakers in creating competitive advantage and improving the sustainability of their businesses. 

Current Projects

Wine Hospitality

The association of food experience and leisure activities has been a key aspect of the BC wine industry since its beginning. The WRC is committed to supporting the excellence of a BC wine experience through applied projects. 

As part of this, the WRC is actively participating in the work of the Great Wine Capitals network. Founded in 1999, the aim of the network is to encourage education and business exchanges between the most prestigious wine regions of the world.

Associated Researcher

Donna Senese, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UBC Okanagan
Roger Sugden, Faculty of Management, UBC Okanagan

Sustainability Certification

Using participatory research, we are working with Sustainable Wine British Columbia and the British Columbia Wine Institute to investigate the decision-making processes of winery stakeholders to participate in sustainability certification. We continue to facilitate sustainability certification to best serve the environment, culture and community economy of wineries and grape growers. Using a pathways planning process, we work with stakeholders to enable planning efforts to further sustainability and resilience in the challenging times of climate change and the COVID 19 pandemic. 

We have partnered with colleagues at Landcare New Zealand (Nicholas Cradock Henry, Senior Researcher Social Science, Landscape Policy and Governance, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research) to draw out comparative case studies in winery region sustainability and resilience.

Associated Researchers

Donna Senese, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UBC Okanagan
Adam Kunis, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, College of Graduate Studies, UBC Okanagan


FOOD+ is a team of 13 researchers from UBC, BCIT and Agriculture Canada in Summerland (BC) who are working together to discover, prototype and evaluate novel food ingredients from plants.

Waste residues from grape processing and wine fermentation including skins, seeds, dregs and sediments are being investigated as potential novel food ingredients. Ultimately, FOOD+ will deliver novel ingredients that enhance the safety, health benefits, and economic value of food products.

Associated UBC Researcher

Susan Murch, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan


Plant Secondary Metabolite Analytical Research Team (PlantSMART) is a team of researchers actively engaged in research to understand the chemistry and terroir of grapes and wines. The unique characters of wine are created when the natural chemicals produced by the grapes are enhanced and modified during fermentation and aging. The resulting wines contain between 8,000 – 10,000 distinct compounds but we don’t know the nature of >90% of these. PlantSMART uses analytical methods to identify and quantify the unique and important compounds that create the character of wines.

Associated Researchers

Susan Murch, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan
Michael Deyholos, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan
Soheil Mahmoud, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan
Thuy Dang, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, UBC Okanagan