Winery shares sustainability secrets

Winery shares sustainability secrets
Marlborough’s Spy Valley Wines has been accredited under the New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing sheme.

Deep in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough’s winegrowing region is Spy Valley Wines – a 130 hectare estate, which is one of New Zealand’s most successful boutique family-run wineries producing globally acclaimed award winning wines and exporting to 35 countries from a crush capacity of 3000 tonnes.
Named for its proximity to the spy base down the road, Spy Valley marketing manager Daniel Adriatico is now spilling the beans on some of the company’s sustainability secrets which have drawn attention to its modern winery building since solar panels were installed on the roof five years ago.
Concerned at the rising costs of electricity, in 2013 Spy Valley Wines installed 211 solar panels creating a 52KW solar power system.
Spy Valley was the first winery in New Zealand to install a solar power system of this size, which generates 20-25 percent of the company’s yearly requirements – equivalent to the power consumed by 11 family homes over a year.
Adriatico says almost all of the solar supply is used by the winery – with the majority feeding the refrigeration plant which consumes 70% of the power.
Any surplus is then directed back to the mains board, for general power use, such as powerpoints and light. In winter months when it is cooler and the winery’s power consumption less, excess power is sold back to the grid.
With its focus on environmental responsibility and ensuring guardianship of the land for generations to come, the company was keen to lower their use of water, power and fossil fuels.
Whilst the solar power system was expensive to set up – costing $140,000 – it was on track to pay itself off within 7 years…
“In two years’ time we will be getting the power for free, and that is guaranteed to last for up to another 23 years ,” says Adriatico. Another upshot from using solar power is that it reduces CO2 emissions.
Adriatico says to date the company has avoided more than 20.63 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere if it were relying solely on power off the grid which is made by burning fossil fuels.
The company also recently converted standard lighting to movement sensor LED lighting in the winery and offices.
“The decision to install the bulbs was made after a regular power audit identified this could save on average $4500 a year as well as saving additional CO2 emissions of around three tonnes per room.” Adriatico said better lighting was provided, at 90 percent less cost.
Since its inception in the 1990s Spy Valley Wines has been accredited under the New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing scheme, which promotes economically and environmentally sustainable vineyard management. This includes the winery, and all of the company and grower vineyards.
Other sustainability inititatives include using organic matter and compost to replace nutrients such as lime, minimising the cultivation of the soils, minimising use of chemicals in the winery and vineyards, recycling initiatives and encouraging biodiversity.
“Spy Valley is working with the Marlborough District Council to restore a native wetland on our Area H Vineyard on Hillocks Road, described as one of the best examples of spring-fed wetlands left in the lower Wairau Valley,” says Adriatico.
More than 700 native trees have been planted to restore the wetland to ecological health.
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