Balgownie has many initiatives in place to ensure we are doing our bit for the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. A healthy environment will enable us to grow the best fruit and make the best wine possible.
Bendigo was established as a gold rush town and as a result is one of the only major Australian cities not situated on a river system or coastline, so our Bendigo vineyards are completely dependent on having their own water supply for irrigation. The 200-hectare property is designed to catch rainwater and channel it into three dams on the property which are then used to irrigate the vines and gardens. Rainwater runoff is also collected from roofs on the property and channelled into the dams.
Balgownie Yarra Valley vineyards are also dependent upon rainwater collected in two dams for irrigation and to maintain the extensive gardens. Rainwater tanks installed across the resort collect rainwater runoff, while AAA rated toilet suites, tap ware and low flow water devices have helped the resort dramatically reduce water usage.
With these initiatives in place, our reliance on external water supply is extremely low.
Both Yarra Valley and Bendigo have solar power contributing to energy usage. With over 200kw of solar power in the Yarra Valley (the largest solar system of any property in the Yarra Valley) including an indoor pool heated by its own solar system, and 90kw in Bendigo this has a considerable impact on our energy usage. Installation of power saving devices to all rooms which automatically deactivate all air-conditioning and lighting when the room is unattended also saves considerable power.
With these initiatives in place, our goal is to be as self-sufficient for power as possible.
Balgownie save over 7 million litres of water per year capturing and treating wastewater onsite and repurposing this water to irrigate vines and gardens.
In Bendigo, the installation of new, efficient insulated tanks in the winery allow faster and more efficient cooling, and decreased energy requirements.
Cooling tanks of wine during the fermentation process is an integral part of making wine. Maintaining a cool temperature during a white wine fermentation allows the fresh fruit flavours to develop in the finished wine. In red wine a cooler temperature reduces the rate of fermentation while aiding the extract of phenolic compounds from the grapes.
We use the marc (dry grape skins, seeds and stalks left over after the grapes are pressed) to make our own compost, which is spread under the vines where it acts like a protective mulch that reduces water usage in the vineyard by up to 30%. The marc also provides valuable nutrients to the soil as it biodegrades. Over a four year cycle the entire vineyard receives a boost from repurposing this material, which would otherwise be discarded.
Cover crops are sown between the vine rows over the winter season when the vines are dormant. Crops such as peas and beans return nutrients to the soil and reduce the need for fertilizer throughout the vine growing season. The cover crops also help to improve the soil structure and help prevent weeds from emerging.
Each Balgownie property is committed to recycling, disposing thoughtfully of materials such as paper and cardboard, plastics, aluminium, glass, green waste, and cooking oil.