Sustainability

Here at Tyrrell’s, we recognise that we have a responsibility to make our operations as sustainable as possible and are committed to doing everything we can to reduce our environmental impact, whether it’s in the vineyard, in the winery or in our broader operations.

With this in mind, in April 2009, we established an Environmental Management System (EMS) that was designed to operate in accordance with the requirements of the International Standard for Environmental Management, ISO 14,001. We also established a dedicated EMS team at the winery to monitor and record our energy usage. This allows us to review our environmental performance each year and measure our progress towards achieving our environmental objectives and targets.

The four main areas on which we’ve focused are:

  1. Sustainable vineyard management
  2. Reducing energy consumption
  3. Reducing water consumption
  4. Reducing waste
Vineyard management

We’re a proud member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, the national program that helps grape-growers and winemakers demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainability in the vineyard and winery by focusing on the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses.

  • We use under-vine cut-off ploughing, which has several benefits, including the removal of weeds and their seeds from under the vines, which means that we reduce the use of weedkillers and fertilisers, and better aeration of the soil, leading to better rain penetration during the growing season.
  • During autumn, we plant nitrogen-fixing cover crops in the vineyards. These clever plants work like natural fertilisers, drawing nitrogen from the air and converting it to a form that other plants – including our vines – can use, while also improving the retention of soil moisture.
  • We collect and recycle the grape marc – the solid waste left over after we press the grapes – mixing it with chicken manure and finely ground basalt, and leaving it to compost for a year before spreading it out under the vines in spring.
  • We have also retained a high proportion of natural woodland on our land holdings, with about a quarter still covered in native trees.

The fact that Tyrrell’s has so many old vines that have been producing quality wine grapes continuously for so long now (36 percent of our vines are more than 50 years old and 11 percent are more than 100 years old) is a good indicator of the sustainability of our vineyard management practices.

Energy

A central pillar of our environmental management program has been efforts to minimize our energy usage by improving efficiency, particularly when it comes to refrigeration, which is by far the largest consumer of energy in most Australian wineries.

  • We run a very economical refrigeration system that maintains cooling-water temperatures of between 6°C and 8°C; many wineries run a refrigerated-brine system that recirculates the cooling liquid at temperatures a few degrees below zero.
  • The cooling water is recirculated by four variable-speed-drive pumps, which are far more efficient than normal pumps, providing a 60 percent energy saving.
  • We’ve upgraded the air conditioners and air-cooling units in our warehouses and barrel sheds so that they are more efficient, only running when absolutely necessary.
  • We’ve spray-coated the main winery roof with heat-reflective paint, which greatly reduces the temperature within the building, thereby significantly reducing the load on our refrigeration plant.
  • In mid-2015, we installed a 350kW solar power system to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity. The system now generates about a third of our total electricity consumption, resulting in an average saving of 475 tonnes of CO2 Emissions per year.
  • In 2018, we installed low-energy LED lights throughout the winery and other buildings, which reduced the amount of energy we consumed for lighting by 72 percent and total electricity usage by ten percent.
  • In order to reduce the energy cost associated with transport of our wine, in September 2009, we switched all of our high-volume lines, which account for about three quarters of our total production, to innovative super-lightweight bottles that consume less glass, produce fewer carbon emissions during production, and are about 30–­40 percent lighter than normal, so require less fuel during shipping around Australia and beyond.
  • We’ve stopped using cardboard carton dividers in our more commercial wine ranges to minimize the amount of packaging used and reduce weight that little bit more.

And all of this work is paying off. Since we launched our EMS program in 2009, we’ve achieved a 63 percent reduction in our fuel usage and a 67 percent reduction in our consumption of coal-fired electricity, which adds up to a 66 percent reduction in our total greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of more than 2,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This translates to a 21 percent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions per litre of wine produced.

Water

Water is an increasingly precious resource and at Tyrrell’s we treat it as such. Throughout its history, Tyrrell’s has maintained a culture of using dry-grown vineyards wherever possible – about 90 percent of our vines are unirrigated – so our water usage is low and we don’t have to worry about salinisation of the land, which is often a consequence of irrigation.

  • We’ve upgraded our wastewater system so that it runs far more efficiently and with significantly less odour produced.
  • We collect all of our winery waste water and then recycle it for re-use to irrigate the paddocks around the property.
  • We regularly analyse the wastewater as well as the soils onto which its sprayed.
  • We monitor and record our fresh water usage.
Waste

At the winery, we operate a highly effective program for recycling all of our general waste in order to avoid disposal as landfill. We also re-use as much of the organic waste generated by the winemaking process as possible.

  • We collect and segregate all of our packaging waste, waste metal from construction and maintenance, and waste oils from vineyard vehicles and plant machinery, and send it off-site for recycling.
  • All wooden pallets are collected and returned to the manufacturer for re-use.
  • Waste paper throughout the company is collected in separate bins for recycling.
  • All our plastic packaging waste is compressed into large bales on site for easy transportation to the recycler.
  • And as mentioned earlier, we compost and re-use the organic waste produced during the crushing process as mulch in the vineyards.
  • Liquid winemaking waste is used to irrigate our surrounding paddocks, resulting in healthy growth of the native vegetation.

Over the past three years, our recycling program has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the amount of solid waste we send to landfill.

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