As communities around the world express increasing concern about climate change, energy use and carbon emissions, we thought it would be worth telling a little known-story about how your local winery is doing its best to make a difference. Right from the day we opened our doors, we have been determined to be at the forefront of environmentally sustainable wine production with a strong focus on minimising our carbon footprint, reducing and recycling waste, along with water and energy conservation. We are constantly redeveloping our processes and are looking to the future to ensure we remain as sustainable and accountable to the environment as we possibly can.
In 2017, Sirromet relocated and installed a new fully computerised waste treatment facility on-site. With the capacity to process 50,000 litres of waste per day and a holding capacity of 350,000 litres, the waste treatment facility pours 58,000 litres a year of old sludge onto drying beds, which are designed to evaporate 85% to atmosphere and balance sent to Sirromet’s worm farm. Our waste water plant treats and reuses approximately 7.6 million litres of water a year and we use this recycled water to water the plants and vines throughout the property.
Sirromet’s On-site Waste Treatment Facility
Our on-site worm farm not only treats the carbon-based waste from the dry sludge, but our worms also take care of 150 tonnes of skins and stems, along with all ‘green’ waste from the restaurants annually. Our commitment to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” ethos also extends to much of the packaging and consumables used on-site, with all cardboard and paper being separated from general waste and also sent to our worm farm to ultimately produce high quality compost for use throughout the property.
RESPONSIBLE WATER USAGE
One of our key successes has been our ability to significantly reduce dependence on mains water, by collecting and processing rainwater for both potable and ‘grey’ water, closely monitoring and reducing water consumption, recycling wastewater, and by using ‘grey’ (dam) water for cleaning and irrigation. Rain water is collected from the roof of the main buildings and stored in tanks before undergoing filtration and disinfection. The clean water is then supplemented with mains water before being utilised as drinking quality water. We only revert to 100% mains water when supplies of rainwater are low.
INNOVATIVE PRODUCT DESIGN
Although our wine bottles and packaging are recyclable, we are proud to be one of the first wineries in Australia to produce a range of wines in PET plastic bottles. They look like glass, but generate far less CO2 during manufacture and use less energy to recycle than glass. They are also lighter than glass, therefore saving on transport weight and reducing energy in transportation.
The winery is powered by 800 Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels spanning two buildings, generating 200 kW of solar power, enough to run 50 households and reduces our annual carbon footprint by more than 400 tonnes. The system includes a total of 11 inverters and are adjustable to control power supply. Sirromet also utilises a co-generation system in the winery fridge plant, circulating approximately 30,000 litres of 55oC hot water back into the feed of the gas water boilers. Furthermore, we have adopted temperature saving designs with double concrete thickness flooring to prevent warmth increase from the earth through the floor, as well as air tunnels on the storage building allowing any heat to be sucked out of the roof space before entering into the storage facility.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION
Much of our beautiful property is maintained as natural bushland and is home to a myriad of local wildlife including native birds, wallabies, possums and reptiles. Many native plants are also used in the formal landscaping around the developed areas and we are committed to maintaining the tree cover on-site into the future. Approximately 900 new native plants were planted in the surrounds of our newly opened on-site accommodation Sanctuary by Sirromet. The species of plants were selected specifically to adapt to our local environment, providing water saving benefits and vital habitat for birds and many other species of wildlife.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OF WINE PRODUCTION…
…we are beginning to adopt Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which is popular in the United Kingdom and is gaining awareness in Australia. By developing Carbon Labelling, we will be able to show consumers what Sirromet is doing, not only to help save the environment, but to show the full life cycle of a bottle of wine’s production and also express in grams per litre the carbon dioxide equivalents.