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Wineries awarded for commitment to the environment

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From wastewater innovation to solar panels in unusual places, South Australian wineries are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

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Wine Industry Special Report

Pirramimma Wines, RedHeads Wines and Pernod Ricard Winemakers were the winners of the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) 2021 Environmental Excellence Awards.

Presented by SAWIA Chief Executive Brian Smedley, the winners were awarded for their leadership in sustainable practice within the wine industry.

The program also helps in the identification of the issues facing the Australian wine industry and through the awards, highlights the solutions that have been employed to solve those problems.

From left to right are Dorota Clausen (Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Winner Large Business Category), Oliver Lovat (Green Industries SA, Sponsor), Jeremy Blanks (Tarac Technologies, Sponsor), Geoff Johnston (Pirramimma, Winner Viticulture Category), Alexander Trescowthick (RedHeads Wines, Winner Small Business Category), Michelle Edge (PIRSA, Sponsor).

McLaren Vale winery Pirramimma Wines took out the award in the Viticulture category, sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA). Awarded for its innovative water management, the winery uses wastewater to irrigate its vineyards and has built a 50ML dam for reclaimed wastewater storage.

They have also invested in ultrasonic technology, designed to prevent dripper blockage and fouling, by keeping the quality of their reclaimed water.

RedHeads Wine won in the Small-Medium Winery category, sponsored by Green Industries SA, for their environmental initiatives.

The Barossa-based winery has achieved 97 per cent electrical self-sufficiency through solar power generation, battery storage and energy efficiency efforts, with their goal of reaching 100 per cent self-sufficiency nearly in sight.

They have also achieved 75 per cent self-sufficiency in their water supply, through cleaning and recycling technologies. The collection and reuse of wastewater and rain throughout the winery have saved approximately 2,700,000 litres of water per year.

In the Large Winery category, sponsored by Tarac Technologies, Pernod Ricard Winemakers came out on top for the fifth year in a row, this year for their investment in renewable solar energy.

The company has more than 10,300 solar panels in operation in their Barossa Valley vineyards, including their latest addition, a solar panel car park shelter.

Currently, the total energy generated from these initiatives is 3.8GWh per year, or approximately 15 per cent of the electrical requirements of the winery.

Further projects include the improvement of their barrel cellar and packing lines through the installation of a thermal energy storage battery integrated with a more efficient ammonia refrigeration plant, as well as staff sustainability programs aimed at raising awareness and driving improvements internally.

Smedley said the initiatives are examples of the wine industry’s good record in environmental stewardship that contributes towards South Australia’s clean and green reputation.

“This year, it is especially positive to recognise sustainability initiatives that have progressed in spite of tough operating conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and other externalities,” he said.

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