With Earth Hour taking place this Saturday (March 26) at 8.30pm, TheShout thought it timely to ask Taylors Wines third generation MD Mitchell Taylor what wine producers can do to ‘go beyond the hour’ and help create a more sustainable planet.

“At Taylors Wines, we believe that great wines shouldn’t cost the earth.

As a family winery the long term view we hold for our business development results in a commitment to operating in a manner which reduces our impact on the environment.

Each business will have its own set of challenges when it comes to operating in an environmentally friendly way.

However, here we’ve shared some of the key initiatives we have implemented over the years.

Since the launch of our 100% Carbon Neutral Eighty Acres in September 2009, the first wine range in the world to become 100% carbon neutral based on a complete life cycle assessment compliant to the International Standard (ISO14044), we have watched the range go from strength to strength.

Most recently we’ve celebrated when our 2010 Eighty Acres Clare Valley Chardonnay was awarded Australia’s only gold medal at the international Chardonnay du Monde wine competition in France.

In making Eighty Acres 100% Carbon Neutral we were careful to use a life cycle assessment, adhering to the ACCC’s guidelines for Green Marketing and the Trade Practices Act, which state that an organisation should ‘consider the entire life cycle of a product when making claims about carbon neutrality’ to avoid potentially failing to account for any carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

Our winery was the first company in Australia to achieve ISO14001 accreditation for an environmental management system using Eco-Mapping™ and EMAS Easy tools, approaches both supported by the South Australian government.

This system is critical in allowing us to identify and prioritise our environmental work.

As a precious and limited resource, conserving water has also been a primary focus for Taylors.

Efforts such as laying 550 hectares of straw spreading and composted grape marc to reduce evaporation, storm water harvesting, installation of precise computer-controlled drip fed irrigation lines, deepening our dams to reduce surface area evaporation and introducing dam linings to limit seepage have all played their part in reducing our water consumption, while our state-of-the-art water recycling plant allows us to recycle 100% of the waste water produced in the winemaking process for use on our vineyards.

For many wineries a significant cost and environmental impact in the production of wine is refrigeration.

To tackle this we are undertaking a project to replace 50% of our refrigeration plant with energy efficient ammonia refrigeration. This will mean energy savings of 35% and result in a reduction of energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

Our winery was amongst the first Australian wine producers to adopt O-I’s innovative LEAN+GREENTM range of premium light weight glass wine bottles, which were almost 40% lighter than the original glass we used to package the Eighty Acres range.

This glass which has now been introduced across our Promised Land and Taylors Estate ranges has delivered significant environmental and business benefits.

We often found that often the most effective processes can also be the simplest.

For us, these have included techniques such as allowing sheep in our vineyards during Winter, which helps to keep grasses and weeds under control and reduces the need for herbicides.

Or composting solid organic waste material produced in the winemaking process, and then returning it to its original place as compost on the vineyards.

We have also made a concerted effort to promote and celebrate broader environmental initiatives, this year partnering with Earth Hour, to give the winner of the inaugural Earth Hour Lifetime Achievement Award a weekend at our winery in the Clare, to see our environmentally-friendly practices first hand.”

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The Shout Team

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