ROSS Hill Wines has been making wine for almost 10 years, but soon will add another product to the mix when it start making electricity.
The company is spending $110,000 on a 32 kilowatt solar farm for its 500 tonne Wallace Lane winery and recently received a helping hand of $32,000 towards the project from the federal government’s Clean Technology Investment Program.
Director Peter Robson said the company was very pleased to receive the grant and hoped to have the solar farm completed by Christmas.
“It’s fit into our long- term 10 year plan that we started five years ago to become carbon neutral,” he said.
Cutting electricity consumption, investing in renewable energy and using as little additives in the winemaking process as possible are only some of the things the winery is doing to reach its goal.
“We’ve also halved our tractor hours, using half the diesel we would normally use,” Mr Robson said.
“We’ve done mulching and composting programs which improve soil quality and build up carbon.
“We measure the health of the soil by worms per cubic metre and we’ve lightened all our machinery so it doesn’t impact the soil so much.”
Ross Hill’s Griffin Road vineyard already has a solar farm up and running, but Mr Robson hopes adding solar panels to the Wallace Lane winery will mean eventually they will make more power than needed meaning electricity will be sold back to the grid.
“Everything we do is focused on the sustainability of the environment and this solar project funnels into that,” he said.
As well as the economic benefits of dodging rising power prices, being carbon neutral is part of the winery’s broader philosophy to avoid impinging on the environment, Mr Robson said.
Having green credentials is also attractive to the Asian export market.