In a rural part of Platte City, Missouri, north of Kansas City, Jason and Colleen Gerke’s Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery has become Missouri’s first “green” winery. Earlier this year, it was certified under the state’s Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program (ASAP) in specialty crops, farmstead, grassland, energy and livestock. Explore 16 stops on the self-guided Eco Tour throughout the property, from a green-waste composting bin to an electric-vehicle charging station.
What exactly is a green winery? We just try to do a lot of little things that have a positive impact on our environment. We want to have a sustainable business and be a sustainable and positive part of our community. A green winery to us [means] utilizing sheep rather than herbicides, having chickens [and bats] that eat bugs, using solar power to offset some of our electricity and using glass bottles that weigh less for our wine. From a business standpoint, it has to be good economically, too. –Jason Gerke
To pass [this winery] on to our next generation, we need to be sustainable. So the less we can spray in our environment, it makes the world a better place for them. –Colleen Gerke
Why make Jowler Creek green? We didn’t set out on this path. We just started doing individual things we thought were the right thing to do for our business, and our customers started calling us a “green winery.” That’s when we really started to take the idea seriously. Around 2011, after we got our solar panels, is when we decided to be a green winery. –C.G.
Tell us about your wines. We make eight wines, from dry to sweet: Chambourcin is a drier red that Jason introduced me to. We have a Norton, which is Missouri’s state grape. There’s Traminette, a semi-dry white, and Vignoles, a semi-sweet white. Our Butterfly Blush with Catawba and Vignoles [grapes] is semi-sweet. Red Cock-A-Doodle-Doo is a sweet red, Muskrato de Missouri is a blend of Muscat and Vignoles, and Nort is a Port-style version of our Norton. –C.G.
What are some of the green features at the winery? On the self-guided walking tour, you can see our sheep and chickens roaming around, and we’ve had quite a bit of interest in our bees. We also have the electric-vehicle charging station. There aren’t a lot of charging options once you get outside of Kansas City; and we have a Tesla charger, too. So people will stop here and top up. –C.G.
Why take the step of applying for ASAP certification? We’ve always felt blessed to have a piece of land to call our own, yet we recognize that we're only caretakers for a little while. Our goal is to contribute to our community by being productive, while at the same time protecting our natural resources for future generations. The Missouri ASAP program gave us the opportunity to benchmark our efforts to see if and how we were progressing in our sustainability goals. –C.G.
Why should other wineries go green? There’s an economic benefit to taking care of your environmental resources. We want to be good stewards and good neighbors in our community. We want to contribute as good neighbors and employers,too. –J.G.
Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery, 16905 Jowler Creek Road, Platte City, Missouri, 816.858.5528, jowlercreek.com