Environment & Sustainability
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY FOR BALGOWNIE ESTATE
Balgownie Estate realise the importance of our relationship with the environment and benefits of improving that relationship.
- A healthy environment will enable us to grow the best fruit and make the best wine possible, in a sustainable manner.
- We are committed to preserving our environment by adopting clean technologies and best practice procedures.
Marc is the dry grape skins, seeds and stalks that are left after the grapes are pressed and it is one of the main by-products of the wine making process. We utilize the marc to make our own compost. This traditional composting material is spread under the vines where it acts like a protective mulch that reduces water usage in the vineyard by up to 30%. The marc also provides valuable nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Over a four year cycle the entire vineyard receives a boost from this material which would otherwise be discarded.
Cover crops are sown between the vine rows over the winter season when the vines are dormant. We plant crops such as peas and beans that return nutrients to the soil and reduce the need for fertilizer throughout the vine growing season. The cover crops also help to improve the soil structure and they out compete weeds and prevent them from emerging.
Cooling tanks of wine during the fermentation process is an integral part of making wine. Maintaining a cool temperature during a white wine fermentation allows the fresh fruit flavours to develop in the finished wine. In red wine a cooler temperature reduces the rate of fermentation while aiding the extract of phenolic compounds from the grapes. In Bendigo the installation of new, efficient insulated tanks in the winery has allowed faster and much more efficient cooling of the tanks and wine. The new tanks have decreased the energy requirements for cooling and reduced our carbon footprint.
Bendigo was established as a gold rush town and as a result is one of the only major Australian cities not situated on a river system or the coast. In consequence our vineyards at Bendigo are completely dependent upon our own water supplies for irrigation. The two hundred hectare property is designed to catch rainwater and to channel it into three dams on the property which are used to irrigate the vines and gardens. Rainwater runoff is also collected from the roofs and channeled into the dams.
The vineyards in the Yarra Valley are also dependent upon rainwater collected in two dams for irrigation and to maintain the extensive gardens. The installation of rainwater tanks throughout the Resort to collect rainwater runoff plus the installation of AAA rated toilet suites, tap ware and the use of low flow water devices has resulted in the Resort dramatically reducing its need to utilize external water sources.
Balgownie Estate has made a massive investment and installed 90 kilowatt solar panel system in the vineyards at Bendigo (see above). The system produces 127 000 kilowatt hours, which is sufficient to power 23 households. The solar system makes winery and cellar door almost completely self-sufficient for power which has resulted in a massive reduction to our energy costs as well as offsetting 164 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.