Victorian vineyard runs off wind power

This story is a great example of locally produced wind power. The Elgo Estate vineyard in the Strathbogie Ranges has a 150kW wind turbine which has been erected on site to serve as the winery’s main source of electricity.
The following is lifted directly from their website and covers their approach to sustainability.

About us

Elgo Estate has over 50 hectares of vineyards, featuring Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Cabernet Franc. A new winery which employs traditional winemaking methods complimented by environmental and technological assets allowing production of superb wines. The Elgo Estate vineyards are situated in the beautiful Strathbogie Ranges of Central Victoria.

sustainability

Just as the wines of Elgo Estate are nurtured to reflect the special qualities of this region, it is therefore our responsibility to preserve this beautiful environment.

The sustainable approach starts in the vineyard. Water use is strictly controlled and pests and diseases are targeted specifically rather than employing broad-spectrum chemicals that can harm beneficial organisms.

In addition, a 150kW wind turbine has been erected on site to serve as the winery’s main source of electricity. Located at high elevation in the Strathbogie Ranges, this windy ridge on Elgo Estate is an ideal location for the turbine. It is anticipated that the turbine will actually generate enough energy to both supply the winery and put excess energy back into the power grid. The excess is projected to be enough to power approximately 50 homes, saving around 500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum.

The waste water emanating from the winery is recycled and returned to water the winery surrounds and vineyard. A sophisticated arrangement of screening out the solid waste and aeration of the waste water in specially constructed effluent ponds lowers the high organic load of winery effluent, making it acceptable for irrigation.

The screened waste-water is fed through a series of ponds which are aerated to feed the aerobic bacteria with oxygen. Aeration is simply conducted by large motor driven propellers that vigorously churn the surface of the water. The bacteria that break down the organic matter carried in the waste-water require oxygen to complete this essential part of the process.

The carbon dioxide generated by fermenting wines is also recycled in the winery. Carbon dioxide is used to protect maturing wines from oxygen (in extreme cases, oxygen will turn wine into vinegar) and is an expensive, though essential, requirement for any winery. A practical form of recycling has been to simply reticulate the carbon dioxide generated by one tank into another tank of wine that needs this protection.

The pressed-out grape-skins that are left at the end of the winemaking process are also cycled back into the vineyard. Once broken down, the spent grapes (also known as “marc”), are put back into the ground, enriching the soil with organic matter.

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