California programme helps wine industry improve its energy efficiency

September comes around and we start thinking about the grape harvest and the wines that will soon be produced. We seldom think of the energy the industry uses. Emily Holbrook writes about a new programme in California on the energy manager today website.

 

Wineries ‘Crush’ It, Save More than Half a Million with PG&E Program

Wineries throughout the nation are saving energy and money thanks to Wine Industry Efficiency Solutions (WIES).

The program, created by Pacific Gas & Energy (PG&E), helps wineries save during “crush,” the time of year when grapes are processed and fermented into wine — and also the time of year when wine-makers use the most energy.

Over the last three years, on average, WIES saved its customers more than 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 150,000 therms of natural gas. The average annual energy cost savings totaled $559,000 per year.

“Crush is an important time of year for us when we work around the clock to start the wine-making process, and this year the number of tons that we’re crushing went up considerably – more than 80%,” said Bruce Lundquist, owner of Rack & Riddle, an Alexander Valley Winery. “Because of the increase in product demand, we look to PG&E as a business partner to analyze whether we’re being as energy efficient as possible while looking ahead to determine if current cooling equipment needs to be replaced to meet future facility expansion,” added Lundquist.

Jackson Family Wines in Sonoma, California, has also leveraged WIES to its benefit. Estimated savings on these energy efficiency programs have totaled more than $8 million for the family-owned and operated wine company since 2008. A recent lighting retrofit at its flagship winery, Kendall-Jackson, located in Fulton, involved converting hundreds of lights to LEDs. PG&E rebates helped offset about 20% of the project costs.

Jackson Family Wines was a 2016 Environmental Leader award winner for its sustainability initiatives. The winery has had a strategy for energy efficiency since 2008, when the company began baselining energy usage. Through energy efficiency initiatives alone, the company has documented savings greater than $15 million. They also reduced the energy and water required to produce a gallon of wine. Once these energy efficiency savings were realized and each winery was as efficient as possible, JFW committed to reinvesting the savings in onsite renewable energy.

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