Winery shines light on efficiency

YEAR ENDS ON HIGH: Coonawarra's Jack Estate accounts manager Melissa Ploenges (left) and cellar manager Justin Robbie (right) celebrate the funding windfall with Member for Barker Tony Pasin.

ONE of Coonawarra’s largest wineries will combat the impacts of energy costs by replacing 1000 light fittings around its Riddoch Highway estate with LED bulbs.

Jack Estate has received a $20,000 boost from the Federal Government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program to complete the work, improving on-site efficiencies while also boosting safety due to the brighter LED fittings.

While the project will improve energy costs for the business, it builds on its sustainability focus as well, having installed solar panels two years ago.

Winery accounts manager Melissa Ploenges said lights would be replaced throughout the cellars and in external work areas in early 2021.

Ms Ploenges said some lights had already been switched over to LED, which drew the praise of staff who work under light due to the increased brightness.

“Our energy costs are a decent whack of money,” Ms Ploenges said.

“We have replaced lights in the vintage area and you can see so much better out there,” she said.

The winery is also exploring upgrades to Elesol Plate Filters (electric current filter) and Refrigeration variable speed drives to boost energy efficiency.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said local small businesses had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the grants would be a welcome boost.

“As we recover from the impacts of COVID-19, small businesses like Coonawarra Jack Winery will play a key role in our plan for a stronger economy,” Mr Pasin said.

It has been a positive boost to end 2020 for the winery, which will produce in excess of 7000 tonnes of wine this vintage.

“We have boosted our online sales quite a bit,” Ms Ploenges explained, adding there had been challenges in combating the impacts of COVID-19.

Ms Ploenges said the winery remained hopeful it could resume several industry traditions in 2021, including wine shows.

“We are looking to attend shows in Melbourne or Sydney and hopefully that all goes well,” she said.

“It (COVID-19) is always going to be in the back of your mind as it is a constantly evolving situation.

“You have to just stay positive.”

Jack Estate was established in 2011 and has 15 employees, fluctuating to around 20 during vintage.