Treasury unveil largest winery solar system in Australia

Ashton Hurn MP, Member for Schubert; Scott Hazeldine, Barossa Australia; Kerrin Petty, Treasury Wine Estates. Photo courtesy Treasury Wine Estates.

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) today announced that the largest winery solar installation in Australia, commissioned 12 months ago, is now operational. Unveiled in front of a carpark solar panel structure at the wine producer’s Barossa Winery and Production Centre in South Australia, the switch-on means iconic Australian wines including Penfolds, Wynns, Squealing Pig and Pepperjack are on track to meet the company’s target of being produced using 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2024.

Featuring almost 6,000 solar panels at the Barossa site alone, the Australian systems are expected to generate more than 5,500 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, the equivalent of powering 900 homes. The system has been designed to maximise the capacity of Barossa’s regional renewable electricity infrastructure, with the landmark investment in Australia’s wine industry another demonstration of TWE’s leadership in sustainability.

It complements other systems already online across TWE’s Australian sites, including Coldstream Hills in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, Penfolds in South Australia’s Magill, and Wynns in Coonawarra, South Australia – as well as a number of others across its global operations.

Chief Supply & Sustainability Officer for TWE, Kerrin Petty, said the investment in transitioning to 100% renewable electricity was prompted by the urgency to decarbonise TWE’s global operations. Speaking at the official launch alongside Member for Schubert Ashton Hurn MP, Mr. Petty said “Installing solar panels is the most significant contribution we can make to move closer to our ambition of net zero direct emissions. Unveiling the solar system here in the Barossa complements the other systems that are already operational, or scheduled to be completed in the coming year, at our sites in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, and the US. Our Napa Valley, California installation of 13,000 solar panels will make it the largest winery solar system in the US, generating half the electricity needs for each of our US wineries. It’s all part of TWE’s broader goal to make wine sustainably.”

Solar Panels at Treasury Wine Estate’s Barossa Winery and Production Centre in South Australia

The installation of solar panels is a foundational investment that allows the company to better manage its electricity requirements across its global operations. Batteries and electric vehicle chargers for fleet, employees, and visitor cars are next in line: all contributing to supporting regional economies, improving energy efficiency, and reducing environmental impact.

The solar system is part of TWE’s broader investment in Australia’s wine industry, including a $10 million commitment to research and development in no and low alcohol wine. Construction of a state-of-the-art no and low alcohol production facility at the Barossa site has commenced, with the large-scale machine utilising proprietary processing technology expected to be operational in early 2024.

The 3-stage continuous wine de-alcoholisation system will operate under a vacuum, gently removing the alcohol content to less than 0.05% alcohol by volume. The separation and collection of the wine’s delicate flavour compounds allows winemakers to re-introduce them to the de-alcoholised wine at the end of the process, so the final product resembles the quality and characteristics of the original varietal as closely as possible.

The company’s investment in the growing category follows the successful launch of its Wolf Blass Zero, Squealing Pig no/low alcohol and Pepperjack mid-strength wines, which respond to strong consumer demand for products offering more choice and flexibility to moderate alcohol consumption.

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