There’s been some talk about solar powered wineries lately. But what about wind power? There are typically two ways a winery could use wind for its energy needs. It’s now possible for any size winery (in a suitably windy location) to use small wind turbines to convert wind energy into electricity. Due to the increased availability and affordability of small wind turbines—thanks in large part to the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit—the market is projected to grow 300% within as little as five years. Anaba, August Cellars and McCall are leading the way with turbines of their own.
Alternately, for wineries that don’t want to or can’t purchase their own turbines they can choose to buy part or all of their wind energy directly from their existing utility company (called ‘green pricing’).
Regardless of which method they employ, there are a growing number of wineries that use wind power to provide energy for their operations. Here are six:
Parducci Wine Cellars is well-known for its use of solar power. But, in 2008, Parducci transferred 100% of its energy needs to fully renewable sources by supplementing its on-site solar power with purchased Green-e® certified wind energy. Wine Enthusiast summed it up in reviewing the 2007 Parducci Cabernet Sauvignon: “Parducci continues to impress, making good wine at fair prices out of its sustainably farmed, carbon-neutral Mendocino outpost.”
Anaba, in Sonoma, CA was the first winery in Northern California to use their own wind turbines for the production of wine when they installed a 45-foot 2.4kw wind turbine on their vineyard and tasting room property in December 2009. A beloved indie winery, Anaba’s chardonnay has received 90+ point ratings from Wine Spectator for the last three years and as has their ’10 rose.
August Cellars, located in Newberg, OR is a family owned winery that produces Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztaminer and Maréchal Foch that received two bronze medals from the Oregon State Fair last year for their 2005 Maréchal Foch and the 2006 Pinot Noir. They have a 50kw turbine that has been on line for two months and in May it produced 41% of their electrical needs. Tom Schaad, owner, says they chose wind over solar because it has a smaller footprint on the farm.
Linganore Winecellars in Mt. Airy, MD, founded in 1971 by Jack and Lucille Aellen, is Maryland’s largest winery. Situated on 230 acres in eastern Frederick County, Linganore produces over 600,000 bottles of wine per year. The winery went 100% wind power in February 2011, committing to buy all of their electricity from “wind generated sources.”
Shaw Vineyard in Himrod, NY makes several varietals of red and white wines from the Finger Lake region in New York state. They don’t own their own wind generation equipment, but instead purchase the electricity from their power company, NYSEG. Steve Shaw, the owner, who has been using 100% wind power electricity for over a year now says: “It does cost more than other electric utility supplies but we believe that it is something we can do that helps us all in the long run.”
McCall Wines on Long Island, NY makes Pinot Noir and Merlot following a “french influenced model of high quality, low yield wines.” Their wines must be good because they can be found in blue chip restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Craft in NYC. Last year they became the first Long Island winery to install wind power when they installed a 10kW wind turbine.
These six wineries are leading the way. But if all goes well with the increased availability of smaller turbines, including rooftop models, I’m hoping to see wind power become a viable option for more wineries in the future.