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Solar Energy, Sustainable Packaging Create Buzz At Wineries

almaden1.jpgFar Niente, a winery in California’s Napa Valley region, has installed a first-of-its-kind solar power array and the latest example of how Northern California’s wine industry is using solar power, SFGate.com reports.

The $4.2 million solar venture, designed and installed by SPG Solar of Novato, Calif., includes nearly 1,000 photovoltaic panels mounted on 130 pontoons floating in an irrigation pond, and another 306 panels mounted on a nearby acre of land. It can produce up to 477 kilowatts per hour at peak output and can provide more than 100 percent of the winery’s electrical needs.

Other Californian wineries utilizing solar energy include Grgich Hills and Foster’s Wine Estates.

In other sustainability news related to wineries: Almaden and Inglenook brands will no longer be packaged in large, 3L and 4L glass jugs. The company has begun using Bag-in-Box (BIB) packages.

The BIB packages weigh significantly less than glass and require less carbon-based energy to produce and transport, the company says. Switching from wines that come in traditional glass bottles to those that come in BIB packaging can result in a 55 percent smaller carbon footprint and 85 percent less landfill waste, according to the website www.betterwinesbetterworld.com.

According to recent research, bottling wine in lightweight bottles can also significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

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