Both the DeLoach Vineyards and Raymond Vineyards, part of the Boisset Family Estates wineries, is fortifying its wines with photovoltaics. With the new arrays the multinational company, with wineries in both California and France, will source all its power from the sun at the vineyards. It’s the latest move towards more sustainable wines for the company, which has been using other sustainability methods since it started biodynamic farming in France in 1994.
Given that wine grapes grow best in sun-drenched regions it’s no surprise that wineries are increasingly looking to solar to provide their energy needs. “The evolution of our California wineries to 100 percent renewable energy extends a long-held family commitment to stewardship of our lands and our irreplaceable terroir,” said Jean-Charles Boisset, president of Boisset Family Estates. “We farm not for this generation, but for the generations to follow. We listen to the rhythms of nature in pursuit of authentic wines that respect the living life of the vineyards, now and for the future.” As such the company encourages sustainable use of its resources and among other things has certified DeLoach as an organic vineyard and Raymond will achieve that title this year.
The PV installations began in the winter, according to Boisset, and will reach completion this summer. “By this summer, both wineries will receive 100 percent of their power from the solar panels,” the company said.
When complete Raymond Vineyards system will provide more than 1 million kilowatt hours annually, providing all the winery’s power needs and making it the largest winery to source 100 percent of its power from the sun in Napa, said project developer Blue Sky Utility, which is working with Bright Power Inc. on the projects. The installation will cover 50,000 square feet of its roofs—and a 17,000 square foot solar canopy. The DeLoach array will produce over 300,000 kilowatt hours annually. Both wineries, as well as Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, will also have electric vehicle charging stations for guests arriving to the winery in their electric cars.
The vineyards join a growing number of vineyards and wineries in California and the U.S. west, from Arizona to Oregon, going solar. For instance, last year Napa Valley’s oldest winery, the Charles Krug Winery, installed a 1.2 megawatt PV array that’s now providing more than half of its electricity. And Treasury Wine Estates has a 1.3 megawatt PV array at its Beringer winery that can produce 1.7 million kilowatt hours annually. It’s said to be the largest at a winery in the U.S. and was also developed by Blue Sky Utility and Bright Power.