Solar Today Summer 2016 : Page 22

wineries & breweries 7. Wine Tree Farm & Golden Creek Vineyards Wine Tree Farm and Gold Creek Vineyards share a unique off-grid solar powered winery in California’s beautiful Sierra foothills. While many California wineries use solar power to help reduce electrical consumption and its associated carbon footprint, Wine Tree Farm and Gold Creek Vineyards are the state’s first entirely solar powered off grid wineries. The wineries share a production facility that uses solar panels to produce all power needed for wine production, winery business operations, and a popular customer tasting room. To ensure power at nighttime, high efficiently lighting and a battery array allow 24 hour operation. The winery’s focus on solar power be-gan in 1998 when Wine Tree Farm founder Grape selection process --Wine Tree Farm Corinne Moore purchased the 105 acre ranch property which included remnants of Gold Rush era mining operations and an old 1902 farmhouse that had no public utilities. Since the house was originally used only as a weekend getaway, originally one solar panel and a couple of batteries provided all the power that was need-ed to illuminate a few DC lights and a small pump for the house’s water well. Almost immediately Corinne planted a small vineyard behind the house to experiment with different wine varietals to learn what would grow best. The vineyard, however, needed ad-ditional water for irrigation and that meant the winery needed more power in order to run irriga-CREDIT: WINE TREE FARMS tion pumps. Since no utility ran to the property, Corinne jumped into solar with both feet. In 1999, Corinne’s teenage son Nic met a lo-cal man who installed so l ar-powered systems. Nic was so interested that he decided to work with him in the solar business, ultimately earning his solar electrician accreditation. “We installed a small electrical solar system here at the house that generated AC, with the capability of run-ning lights, fans, computers – virtually everything needed for day-to-day living,” explains Corinne. In 2000, Corinne and her son moved into the Wine Tree Farm farmhouse full time. Over the years the solar sys-tem has been expanded and now provides all the comforts necessary for a full time residence and winery office. Two years later Corinne and her CREDIT: WINE TREE FARMS son planted a larger commercial vineyard on the far end of the ranch property. is why they invested heavily in using renewable en-ergy to power their winery. Solar power is a fabu-lous example of longer term sustainable thinking. The initial investment is large but makes enormous sense when looked at in connection with a ‘hundred year plan’. They predict that the panels will have Commitment to the environment runs deep at paid for themselves in eight years or less – and with Medlock Ames. Not only do they farm organically approx. thirty years of useful service the winery can but they strive be as sustainable as possible, which look forward to twenty years of massively re-duced (or eliminated!) electricity bills. Benefits that don’t show up on a balance sheet are just as important. They eliminate-many pounds of CO2 each year with their sys-tem as well as contribute power to their local power grid at peak times when it is needed most. They know that clean energy is good for everyone and in many respects they can now add ‘energy’ to the growing list of things their farm at Medlock Ames provides. In ad-dition, they welcome visitors to the ranch to take a walk over to one of their many hi-tech solar arrays that seem (strangely enough) to sit happily next to vines, geese, sheep, olive trees, vegetable gardens and all the various wildlife. Hawks and owls have been seen rest-ing on the solar panels! CREDIT: WINE TREE FARM 9.Patz & Hall Patz & Hall was founded in 1988 by four talented individuals: Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz. Together, they have turned Patz & Hall into one of Califor-nia’s most highly regarded wineries with a celebrated portfolio of single-vineyard wines. Though Patz & Hall was not the first California winery to make vineyard-designate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, it was one of the first to introduce these wines to a wider audience out-side of wine clubs and tasting rooms. In addition to having high quality wines Patz and Hall also strive to have exceptional sustanabil-ity practices. They have become the cornerstones of the winery’s success, allowing Patz & Hall to realize Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved. 8. Medlock Ames Winery 22 SUMMER 2016 SOLAR TODAY

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