Children running through sprinklers. BBQs blazing. Fireworks popping. These iconic moments let us know summer has finally arrived. There’s nothing quite like sitting on your patio watching the sun set and enjoying a glass of beer or wine as the dog days of summer pass by.
Did you know that a number of the country’s top wineries and breweries are doing their part to produce a greener product (and of course save some money in the process)? It’s true. Solar panels are the best thing since grapes and yeast, respectively. Innovators are learning that by adding solar panels to their vineyards and breweries they can save money for expansions and upgrades to their facilities. We thought we’d highlight some of the solar suds making a difference in the world and to our favorite fermented grape juice and hop water.
Far Niente Winery- One of Napa’s oldest wineries, (it was founded in 1885), is also one of its trailblazers into the future. Far Niente was the first winery in the world to float a large number of solar panels on its pond. This net-zero energy winery was able to save a large portion of their Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in 2011 through its innovative solar panel placement.
Sierra Nevada- With a name like Sierra Nevada, you almost expect this brewing company to be a little on the green side. Well, they are far from just a little green. This brewery is dedicated to sustainability and houses one of the largest privately owned solar arrays in the country. Along with solar energy production they also use hydrogel fuel cells to produce 40% of their energy needs.
Shafer Vineyards- In 2004, this Napa Valley vineyard added enough solar panels to produce 100% of their energy requirements. Thanks to their investment, the amount of greenhouse gases their system will save over its lifetime is equivalent to planting 17,000 trees.
Stone Brewery Co.- Stone Brewery, based in Southern California, is a craft beer behemoth. Not only are they bringing great beer to the masses, they are also doing their part to help the environment. A few years ago the owners of Stone invested in a $2.6 million dollar solar system that can produce 30% of the energy they need to create that hoppiness beer connoisseurs love.
Long Meadow Ranch- “Excellence through Responsible Farming” isn’t just a motto for Long Meadow Ranch, its’ a way of life. This sustain, organic farm and winery has invested in solar energy by adding a 60kw solar power system that will provide 100% of their energy needs.
Barrington Brewery and Restaurant- This Massachusetts based brewery uses solar water systems to heat the 1,000 gallons of water they use every day to make their beer. Barrington was among the first brewery on the east coast to use a system like this.
Breweries and wineries make their living off the land. They must be tuned into their harvest of grapes, hops, barley and other products. It’s not surprising that hundreds of breweries and wineries around the country have stepped up their commitment to environmental sustainability through the addition of solar energy. A non-profit solar information company in Oregon even hosts specialized Solar Wine tours.
So, the next time you sit down to enjoy the summer night with a tall glass of beer or wine choose a brand that has invested in the future by going solar.
Do you have a favorite vineyard or brewery that uses solar to produce your favorite libation? Tell us about them in the comments.