The benefit of multiple revenue streams

We've reached what I consider a major milestone at Blue Gypsy Wines with the successful (as yet) planting of switchgrass in a previously unused 36 acre section of the property. What is switchgrass you ask? It is actually a grass that is natural to Ontario and can be harvested annually to burn as a biofuel. It can also be used as a plastic additive, horse bedding, etc. What it means to us is an additional revenue stream once it reaches full production in 3 to 5 years. Since it is grass, it is planted once and possibly supplemented over time. This grass grows approximately 8 feet tall and sends roots up to 10 feet down. On land that is typically wet like ours (not wetlands... just wet), this goes a long way to drying up a problem area and possibly reducing the number of mosquitoes. It provides shelter for wild animals and sequesters tons of carbon dioxide. So back to the revenue stream. As a biofuel, a successful crop could pay a good portion of our mortgage. As a carbon sequestering media, it produces carbon credits which may be worth something in the near future. This basically is a lesson in planning for a lousy wine year. If sales should drop in a year, there will be another source of revenue that we can count on to cover the basic operating costs... at least in theory. This does bring to the forefront the importance of spreading risk and making sure that a farm can survive an off-year. Check out our Facebook page (BlueGypsyWines) for pictures over the next few weeks as the plants take root. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louis Gaal is the winemaker (and spouse of the ever patient Claire Faguy) at Blue Gypsy Wines in Oxford Mills, Ontario Canada, 45 minutes south of Ottawa. You can find this raving lunatic using the BlueGypsyWines Facebook or Twitter account. Visit them on the web as well at

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