Have you ever considered the ecological footprint of the wine in your glass during happy hour? Many large-scale wineries strain the environment through their use of chemical pesticides and high water consumption. As the awareness spreads, however, organic farming methods and solar power are starting to reduce the carbon footprint of many wines.
The solar winery trend is becoming more popular in the States, making eco-friendly wines readily available to U.S.’s wine enthusiasts. That’s great news if you’re wondering how (or if) your drinking habits are affecting the world around you.
Energy and water costs in states like California have gone up big time, and with 500 million gallons of wine produced there annually, those fuel costs can snowball. How does solar power help wineries go green? With climate instability increasing and the spike in fuel costs, well, spiking, a solar-powered winery makes perfect sense. Solar technology has looked darn good in the last decade and there are more tax breaks available, meaning solar power is choice for cost-effective sustainability.
Here’s the economic thinking: It’s great for the environment, and from a marketing standpoint, it’s a huge draw for the growing population of eco-conscious consumers. The very nature of a winery depends on wide open and sunny geography. This is the ideal location for solar panels to use that sunshine to create a less expensive harvest with a lower carbon footprint.
With its sunny skies and ideal climate, California has become a hot spot for solar wineries. If you’re looking for one to support, whether it’s for your next vacation or your next grocery store purchase, here are three to consider:
While California may be one of the most popular places for solar-powered wineries, other states are also jumping on board. Oregon encouraged wine lovers to visit a few of its solar wineries by joining in on their recent solar winery tour. In May, Solar Oregon offered tours of three local solar-powered wineries, which included glimpses into the solar arrays and vineyards as well as wine tastings and lunch. This tour is just one way Solar Oregon is working to promote solar energy in the state and raise awareness of the role it plays to the Oregon wine industry.
The West Coast is definitely the center of solar wineries, but the trend is gaining in popularity throughout the U.S. From Michigan to New York, more and more wineries are looking to the sun to power their vineyards. Although no list of these champions currently exists, Lisa Mattson from Jordan Vineyard & Winery started a Solar-Powered Wineries group on Facebook and is trying to create the first comprehensive listing of solar wineries in the country. The list currently includes 114 wineries as of July 2012, and only wineries that use at least 50 percent solar energy can be included.
From a reduction in their environmental footprint to massive financial savings, many wineries are beginning to see the appeal of solar energy. Want to support this growing trend? Vote with your dollar on your next shopping trip. Raise a glass at happy hour, filled with solar-generated wine, and toast to a more sustainable future.