It’s the perfect time of year to stop and smell the rosés, as we get festive with this hand-picked selection of Australian wineries that have made the switch to solar power (and have had nothing to wine about since).
From boutique vineyards to historic family-owned favourites, a growing number of wine producers are finding that the sun can do more than help them grow grapes.
The 90-year-old De Bortoli Wines was named Winery Innovator of the Year at the 2018 International Wine and Spirit Competition . The judges were impressed with the style and presentation of its new Rosé Rosé – the pale dry rosé so nice that they named it twice. The award-winning shiraz at De Bortoli Wines continues to be a firm favorite at the family business. But as well as electrifying the taste buds of visitors, De Bortoli’s Hunter Valley operation is partly powered by a 230 kW solar PV system. The solar system was the largest in the Australian wine industry when it was built in 2013. The winery now saves thousands of dollars per year, which is also partly thanks to a 200 kW solar thermal preheater, a new bottling plant and a filtration upgrade. They are also aiming to be a zero-waste winery through improved water management, energy efficiency and waste management.
Yalumba dates back almost 170 years, and this family-owned and independent business has grown into one of Australia’s most recognisable wine brands through both quality and value. Heck, they even make their own wine barrels. But despite a strong sense of tradition, Yalumba has shown that they aren’t afraid to change with the times. The business has completed one of the largest commercial solar installations by any Australian winery to date, taking over three months to install solar at three different sites – Yalumba Angaston Winery, Yalumba Nursery and Oxford Landing Winery –. The 1.4 MW system produces enough renewable energy to reduce the winery’s energy costs by around 20 per cent and cut its carbon emissions by 1200 tonnes. That’s equivalent to taking more than 340 cars off the road.
Fancy a glass of award-winning pinot noir while basking in Victoria’s serene Mornington Peninsula? You can have that and a lot more, after Paringa Estate at Red Hill installed 30 kW of solar panels to cut its power use in half. The winery is almost as well known for its food as its wine, and has been a regular in The Age Good Food Guide for the last six years. Paringa Estate has come a long way since owner Lindsay McCall made his first vintage in his shed in the 1980s, using an old milk vat to ferment it in. Fast forward to 2018 and the winery has stocked up an impressive trophy cabinet of awards for its pinot noir, shiraz and chardonnays.
Watershed Premium Wines is a winery in harmony with the beautiful environment of Western Australia’s Margaret River region. So it’s not surprising that this award-winning winery is winning on the renewable energy front as well. With the installation of a 456-panel, 149 kW SunPower solar system on the rooftops of the winery’s barrel store and wine warehouse, the winemakers can expect to see a saving of $80,000 per year in energy costs, reducing the amount of energy they take from the grid by almost a third. Watershed is expected to generate almost 240 MWh of electricity per year, the same amount needed to produce 28,000 cases of wine annually – all the more reason to swing by for a little sav sipping if you’re in the area.
Moores Hill is Tasmania’s first 100 per cent solar-powered winery, producing cool and cold climate wine’s in the island’s Tamar Valley. Their riesling is highly acclaimed, and they also make pinot noir, pinot gris, rosé, cabernet merlot and much, much more. It’s owned by two couples who have a range of skills between them – wine making, growing grapes, marketing and business operations. A 100-panel solar array generates 30 kW of electricity, and they also have a bank of batteries so they can use the renewable energy after the sun goes down. But it gets better, with the winery also offering a charging station for Tesla’s electric cars – so both you and your vehicle can fuel up while you’re there. Holy shiraz! Pour us a glass of that riesling and we’ll meet you there.
Tyrrell’s Wines are another old family-owned winery which has helped to make the Australian wine industry the success it is today. Dating back five generations to 1858, the Hunter Valley winery has shown that some things really do just get better with age. It offers a huge range of wines which are almost as Australian as Akubra hats, RM Williams boots and Driza-Bones. The winemakers engaged Solgen Energy Group to design and install one of the country’s first commercial solar power purchase projects. A 350 kW PV system was installed on the ground and across two of its rooftops. The system is expected to generate 563 MWh per year and reduce the business’s standard energy costs by over 25 per cent.