Sustainability, it’s the new buzz word.
But as a wine company we have to take it seriously. Our livelihoods depend on it. We have to respect our planet – for the sake of our vines, the soils they grow in and how the climate affects them.
That’s why last year Tom Laithwaite built a 95% off the grid with the aim of being 100% off-grid winery in the Barossa. We’re told it’s the first in Australia. It’s also the first place our winemaking team Down Under have been able to put down roots.
RedHeads have been making rule-breaking wines for years, liberating parcels of special grapes from top growers in southern Australia and turning them into ridiculously delicious wines. But when they opened up their new winery last February (two days before the first grapes were delivered no less!) they also inherited their very own vineyard. The grapes are being used in 1888 – named in honour of the year the property was built.***
When the keys for 258 Angaston Road were collected six months earlier the team knew they wanted to make it as eco-friendly as possible. As RedHeads Manager Alex Trescowthick says, ‘we may be RedHeads by name, but we’re GreenHeads at heart’.
The first step was taking the winery off-grid by installing 50kW of solar panels. There’s so much sun RedHeads reckon they’ll probably produce more energy than needed, meaning the green power can be fed back into the system and harnessed by others too.
Next was the irrigation system. You don’t need us to tell you that water is scarce in the Barossa, so they’ve made sure they collect and reuse as much of it as possible. It all flows into a three metre-deep dam which harnesses UV rays to break down anything nasty before it’s sent back to the winery and vineyard. The system is so good that Drinks Business awarded RedHeads the Water Management Award last year.
A new bar too!
They’re also keen on recycling. All of the grape muck is processed and turned into fertiliser, and anything which can’t be reused is sent to the local garden centre for the winery’s neighbours to use as mulch.
But that’s not all … the Australian’s LOVE their coffee – they’d rather go without than have a cup of instant – so RedHeads opted to buy sugarcane cups which are planted out in vegetable patches on-site to break down.
And then there’s the RedHeads Studio Bar where visitors can sample a selection of the wines. Anything that could be made from material found on site was, from the Red Gum railway sleeper doors to the seating made from delivery pallets. And anything that had to be made new came from local businesses and Australian materials to minimise the carbon footprint.
It’s all very exciting stuff and we can’t wait to see what our RedHeads team do next.
Until then, we’ll be doing all we can to put protecting the environment at the top of our agenda.