OFF the Grid Winery
To our knowledge we are the only winery operating completely OFF the Grid. What this means is that we operate without being connected to any of the main utilities (electricity, water, etc.) Instead we rely on our own power and water supply. There are a number of wineries that state they are OFF the Grid. But due to local regulations they have to be inter-tied to the grid, even if they produce all their needed power. Or they use the grid as backup.
When the “Sun don’t Shine”, we revert to flashlights, headlamps and a generator to meet the minimal needs of Wine Tree Farm.
For a high level overview, we convert the DC power that comes from our solar panels to charge our batteries. Or feed directly into an Outback Inverter to produce traditional AC . So we can use standard appliances for winemaking, lighting and refrigeration.
Because of our limited power availability, our wine-making style is energy efficient. We never pump or filter our wines. Our wines are always treated gently – no pushing it through a pump impeller or bladder. We use a forklift to raise our tanks, and let gravity feed wine to all of our racking and bottling activities.
We cool the winery with 2 DC evaporative coolers that operate directly from the battery backup and use only 120 watts each, to run!
Our lighting uses LED lights for energy efficiency.
Operating, OFF the Grid, is a challenge. But once you’ve become accustomed to it, it becomes second nature. We watch our energy usage constantly, and have developed habits that help us balance what we make, with what we use. Our lights are only on when we need them, and we have flash lights and battery powered headlamps on hand for when needed.
We operate our energy hogs – like the crusher/destemmer or pressure washer in the middle of the day to take full advantage of the sun.
On dreary days, our small generator helps recharge the batteries, if needed.
Oh… did we mention we use an energy efficient TV so we and our customer can stay up to date with major weekend sporting events.
Although operating a winery OFF the Grid has its challenges, it is absolutely worth it.
The big advantages, is that we are never affected by the Power Shut Off ‘s when the utility decides to do so for wind or fire events.
The disadvantage is that when we have continuous dreary days, we have to run our small generator and watch less TV.