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Also: Hall recognized for ‘excellence in sustainable winegrowing’

Three large North Coast wineries were recipients of the Save Energy Now Award this year from the U.S. Department of Energy.

[caption id="attachment_23759" align="alignright" width="216" caption="Clos Du Bois winery in Healdsburg received the Energy Champion Plant award."][/caption]

Constellation Brands’ Clos Du Bois winery in Geyserville received the Energy Champion Plant award, which is given to operations that cut energy usage by more than 250 billion BTUs or 15 percent of total usage.

“We have made a sizeable investment in these improvements, as the land and community are a key priority for both Clos du Bois and Constellation,” said Chase Cambron, winery general manager.

The company worked with San Francisco State University’s School of Engineering to audit energy usage at Clos Du Bois in Geyserville and Simi in Healdsburg.

“This is part of our ongoing sustainability efforts,” said Greg Fowler, senior vice president of operations for Constellation Wines U.S.

All the wineries in the business unit participated in the pilot of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and now are certified.

Clos Du Bois upgrades included insulating the cold wine stabilization tanks, adding mixers to decrease stabilization time from 10 days to three, retrofitting lighting, installing high-speed automatic doors to limit air-conditioning and upgrading the refrigeration system for seasonal usage cooling loads.

[caption id="attachment_23762" align="alignleft" width="288" caption="Simi Winery in Healdsburg won an Energy Savers award."][/caption]

Ascentia Wine Estates’ Geyser Peak Winery also in Geyserville and Constellation’s Simi Winery in Healdsburg won Energy Savers awards, given total usage savings of more than 75 billion BTUs or 7.5 percent.

A night-air cooling system is estimated to save Ascentia $24,500 a year. A higher-capacity cooling tower, variable-frequency drive pumps, installed strip curtains at entrances to chilled areas and an energy- and water-efficient barrel washing system will provide savings of 164,000 kilowatt-hours, 9,700 therms of natural gas and 1 million gallons of water.

Lighting upgrades at Geyser Peak are projected to cut electricity annual use by 30 percent, or 675,000 kilowatt-hours.

[caption id="attachment_23760" align="alignright" width="156" caption="Ondine Chattan"][/caption]

“It is critical to make smart choices that result in the lowest environmental impact as we craft our wines,” said winemaker Ondine Chattan.

Possible future upgrades include installing energy-efficient wastewater treatment pond aerators; improving glycol refrigeration systems with better insulation, variable-frequency drive pumps and controls; and putting in heat-recovery and circulation controls for the boiler.

Simi reduced its annual electricity usage by 228,800 kilowatts, or 19 percent, and natural gas for water heating by 29 percent.

“We tie the employees’ goals into reducing our electrical usage, and they become aware about turning off lights when not needed, turning off their computers at night, not leaving the doors open to refrigerated cellars, etc.,” said John Pritchard, operations director.

The winery repaired cracks and leaks in gas lines, replaced T-12 fluorescent and metal halide lamps with more-efficient and largely motion-controlled T-8 fixtures, interlocked water-circulation pumps with the boilers, replaced a 30-year-old boiler with three on-demand heaters and installed variable-frequency drives on all glycol coolant pumps and a floating head pressure controller on ammonia refrigeration compressors.

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The Botanical Research Institute of Texas is set to present its first International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing to St. Helena-based Hall Wines on Oct. 8 in Fort Worth.

The 19-year-old institute said it created the award to “recognize the viticulturists and viniculturists throughout the world who reflect BRIT’s core principles of conservation, sustainability and wise stewardship of the land.”

Craig and Kathryn Hall’s St. Helena winery earned Gold-level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, and the company’s fruit is certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers.

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