Cape Mentelle treats itself to first place

Name: Cape Mentelle viticulturist Jim White

Cape Mentelle is turning water into wine and woodland. The founding Margaret River winery has established itself as a leader in sustainability in the feted WA wine region.

In April last year it became the first WA winery to receive certification for the Winemakers' Federation of Australia's EntWine program. Then, in November, it won the inaugural Best Sustainable Practices Award at the WA Wine Industry Awards.

Cape Mentelle viticulturist Jim White said the recognition was a justification for the winery's commitment to sustainable wine production.

'It felt pretty good winning the award and receiving the EntWine certification has been a key driver.'
White said environmental management had always been a commitment of Cape Mentelle.

'What really helped us qualify for EntWine was our involvement in the Freshcare program,' White said. 'We had gone through the process of an audit, doing mock audits with staff training, so we were fairly prepared for the EntWine process.

'It was encouraging to be acknowledged for the effort we have put in as a business. We believe we've been a good performer in the area of sustainability, and getting a third party view of how we are going was important for us.'

White said Cape Mentelle's water management was the key to its sustainability practices.

'Cape Mentelle is fully sustainable; we collect rainwater and use dam water. Twenty-five to 40 per cent of our total winery requirement is rainwater and the rest comes from the dam.'

White said the winery's waste water treatment plant had help put Cape Mentelle on the map in terms of sustainability.

'With the water treatment plant we screen out the solids and the water is pH neutralised,' he said. 'The water gets aerobic treatment in a second pond system that has aerators.'

White said waste water was the most difficult waste product to deal with 'because of the sheer volume of it'.

'We have a million litres of tank capacity,' he said. 'It's about treating waste water to a level that it doesn't put anything bad into the groundwater, and it has zero impact outside our property.'

White said Cape Mentelle began with a smaller treatment plant based on a similar system.

'But, as the wine capacity grew, so too did the need to expand our capacity to treat waste water,' he said. 'The current plant will allow foreseeable growth for the next 20 years.'

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