Award Winning Hills Winery Set To Go Solar

The legends at Sidewood Estate have been slowly preparing for this step for many years, and have added host of recent environmentally friendly initiatives to their processes.

Sidewood Estate are known for pushing the boundary nationally for their delicious wine. How the wine is being made is always a consideration for their team, and the exquisite environs of the Adelaide Hills inform a large part of the process.

This seems to have proved the catalyst for a recent series of ’green’ projects within the business that support sustainability and the environment, with Sidewood’s Nairne winery set to ‘flick the switch’ in the coming weeks to become solar powered.

All part of a $3.5m expansion project at the Nairne based winery, Sidewood, with assistance from the State Government through PIRSA has installed a 100kw solar system to provide over 50% of the facility’s annual consumption. The system will provide 100% power during daylight hours and normal operations and 50-75% during vintage and bottling/canning periods. The winery’s output capability will, upon completion of the expansion increase from 500 to 2000 tonnes p.a. with the installation of new bottling and canning facilities producing  over 400,000 bottles of wine and cider per annum by 2017.

Additionally, Sidewood has successfully undertaken a number of initiatives at its primary vineyard ‘Ashwood Estate’ and been awarded Entwine membership (Environmental Viticulture) through the Australian Wine Research Institute and Freshcare. Within the coming months, Sidewood will also seek accreditation at its vineyards in Nairne, at Maximilians and Ironstone Rd.

Entwine Australia is the Australian wine industry’s sustainability program that was set up to support growers and winemakers in demonstrating and improving the sustainability of their business. “Securing Entwine Australia membership has been a long but highly worthwhile process that enables us to provide a guarantee to our customers and suppliers that an industry recognised environmental assurance program has been followed whilst growing our product.” said Sidewood owner Owen Inglis.

When growing grapes under the approved Entwine accreditation, Sidewood, as a grape grower / wine company has shown to have a fundamental interest in environmental management and has taken extended measures in protecting the surrounding environment and natural resources.

“We are fortunate to grow our fruit in the magnificent Adelaide Hills – a region for which I have immense passion – as does our viticulturist, Mark Vella.  As grape growers we can have a significant impact on natural resources such as land area, soil, water courses and the biodiversity. Using the correct management practices and sustainable quantities of production inputs such as chemicals, fertiliser and water will ensure the long term sustainability of our vineyard and the surrounding farming area” said Mr Inglis.

Achieving the Entwine accreditation though the Environmental Viticulture option, Sidwood was assessed and audited on nine categories including land and soil, chemicals, fertilisers and soil additives, water, biodiversity, waste, air, energy and fuel.

“Viticulture involves a high input of labour and resources to maximise productivity, quality and sustainability. Following the different Entwine protocols made us consider our business closely. We looked at why we do things and how we could reduce any inputs to achieve the same outcome and not affect the environment or fruit quality” said Mr Ingles.

Sidewood actually commenced preparing for the accreditation process several years ago with a number changes being made to become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly grower with practices including:

– Running sheep through the vineyard over the Autumn / Winter. This maintains pasture, removes hard to kill weeds and returns organic fertiliser back to the vineyard and also reduces chemical input, machinery operations and labour to manage these areas over the winter months.
– Chemical selection. Continually changing products and using softer products that have minimal / no effect on the environment.
– Irrigation Practices. Implementing different practices with timings and monitoring etc..
– Canopy management.
– Mulching prunings back into the vineyard after pruning.
– Maintaining permanent pastures for increased insect biodiversity.
– Fertiliser selections. Organic / natural products vs synthetics and manufactured products.

May Sidewood’s delicious wine continue to be delicious, and their outstanding respect for how their wine is made continue to look forward towards the future. For more information on Entwine, you can visit their website here.

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