Taltarni Vineyards is on track to save nearly $20,000 per year after implementing actions recommended in a resource assessment.
Taltarni Vineyards, established in 1969, is a vineyard and winery located in Moonambel in Victoria's Pyrenees with a strong commitment to sustainability. Taltarni is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, has been reducing chemical use for many years and practices Integrated Pest Management with an active insectarium operating on site that was featured in an ABC Landline story. Taltarni was looking for ways to reduce the business’s energy use and improve competitiveness.
'We have not considered a sustainability program previously as we believed it would be expensive and not have much return for the investment. We have learned that there is much we can do without having to spend large amounts of money,' said Taltarni’s General Manager, Jacques Olivier.
In 2013 Taltarni applied for funding under the Smarter Resources, Smarter Business (SRSB) program to cover 50% of the cost of an energy assessment, which looked at all lighting, heating/cooling, appliances and machinery. The assessment identified the energy intensity of different aspects of Taltarni’s operations and found that production and storage/cooling accounted for 12%, artificial lighting 10% and the compressed air system 9%.
'The grant made it possible for us to use professionals to guide us through a process to identify how much we can do with the limited funds within the business and the long term gains we will achieve. Through the assessment we now realise that we are wasting money and unnecessarily contributing to greenhouse gas emissions,' said Olivier.
The energy assessment report made a total of 16 recommendations including replacing lighting, selecting a more competitive electricity tariff, installation of a solar voltaic system, variable speed drives for compressor motors, and improved energy management. If all actions are implemented Taltarni could expect energy savings of 25%, with an average payback period of 4.4 years.
Taltarni also successfully applied for a $25,000 capital funding grant through the SRSB program toward the cost of installing LED lighting in hall, winery and warehouse, and upgrading to a high efficiency compressor with variable speed drive.
'My advice to other businesses is that you will be surprised to know that as a small/medium business you can reduce the cost of your energy usage and make a difference for future generations, without depleting your bank balance. We live in a different world than 50 years ago. We now have a better understanding of the impact we have on our own future. It makes moral and economic sense to reduce the energy input in our business and strive to be more sustainable,' Olivier said.
Following the assessment, Taltarni implemented a key recommendation which was to replace four electric wall heaters in the cellar door with a slow combustion wood heater which uses fallen timber from the 800 hectare forest on the property. Taltarni received a $3,000 implementation bonus grant through the SRSB program toward the replacement cost of the new heater. 'We are on track to save 6,390 kWh of electricity and $1,143 per year with the wood heater as well as it creating great atmosphere in the cellar door,' Oliver said.
The expected total savings from the lighting and compressor upgrades is approximately $18,000 per year.
Taltarni Vineyards will continue to adopt sustainable practices in its operations and is currently encouraging natural Kangaroo grass to grow among the vine rows. This will create a much better organic layer to protect the soil from the summer heat, preserving water through less irrigation and saving electricity and diesel.
Taltarni is also in the process of redesigning the outer cartons for its wine bottles to use less cardboard and introducing more sustainable printing processes.
Taltarni plans to change the practice of using conventional vehicles to drive around the farm and replace these with quad bikes which use much less fuel. If finances permit, Taltarni also plans to install solar panels to power its bores.
Energy assessment conducted by VECCI