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This enables them to produce maps which optimise the vineyard’s performance and ultimately helps produces better quality wine.
The winery now constantly monitors energy usage, including finding the “coefficient of performance” (COP) of their plant and has clear benchmarks in place across a number of measures.
The Mission Estate were one of the five wineries who initially set up an Environmental Management System and in 1998 they obtained their ISO Certification which recognised their ongoing commitment to sustainable viticulture and wine-making practices — two elements that are now common practice.
Rather, he feels that The Mission Estate’s approach is to quietly work away on sustainability and take seriously their commitment to ensuring their footprint, resources, energy use, water use and operations are authentically delivered on as they produce their fine wines.
It is not a marketing or PR strategy, but a genuine commitment to their beliefs.
Winemaker Paul Mooney is extremely passionate about sustainability and connects this to The Mission Estate’s core values in being true to its roots and maintaining a commitment to being authentic and artisan wine producers.
Paul states that, when it comes to sustainability, he is “wired that way… And this obsession has paid off — The Mission Estate can now boast that they use a third of the energy of the average winery of their size.A key step in this process has been in moving systems to operating overnight to make best use of off-peak electricity and only cooling once a week in summer (metrics showed that it takes a full week for the temperature to return to the maximum rate).Other steps included installing new lighting, removing the use of any diesel machinery (not an easy task when machinery is a key component of your operation); installing an inverter on the condensing heat exchanger; a separate glycol system; combined use of compressors and running these as close to capacity as possible for high energy efficiency; using self-generated nitrogen (instead of CO₂) which does not contribute to climate change; and, finally, operating on-site bottling and warehousing has seen a reduction in transport.“We are doing it because it’s the right thing to do” says Paul.The Mission Estate’s focus is one that is very much in line with Pope Francis’ commitment to sustainability.While these metrics are now common practice in the industry, they weren’t 17 years ago.They did this without the use of technology – equipment and software has made this process much easier.Paul has been with The Mission Estate for over 30 years, but he didn’t start life as a winemaker.Instead, Paul studied physics and, upon graduating, he took a role on Campbell Island as a Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Technician and then went into a Trainee Field Engineer role for a French American Oil exploration company before joining The Mission Estate as a trainee winemaker. At that time, The Mission Estate was under-resourced and he had his role cut out for him.Instrumental in this was the use of thermal mass construction.The vast majority of energy used in the winery is consumed by refrigeration, and automation has allowed for energy reduction.