Wineries scoop $5.4 million in Federal Government grants

08 June, 2012 by

By James Atkinson

De Bortoli and three Western Australian wineries have won a total of $5.4 million in energy reduction grants from the Federal Government.

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The four wineries took the majority value of the first 13 grants from the Gillard Government's $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Program, which aims to help manufacturers reduce their energy bills.

The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said the initial grants, worth $8.1 million, will help businesses install over $23 million of energy efficient equipment.

De Bortoli Wines was awarded $4,829,405 to implement energy reduction projects at five sites in NSW and Victoria across its winemaking, packaging, warehousing and site services areas.

The initiatives include the more efficient use of grid power, replacement of old equipment and use of solar technology.

Ferngrove Vineyards of Frankland River, WA, was the industry's other big winner, taking $446,390 to install a solar power system at its winery.

Two other winemakers based in Denmark, WA, were also awarded funding for solar power projects: Rickety Gate Trust won $67,887 and Matilda's Winery $40,643.

De Bortoli said in a statement that the $4.8 million grant supports an investment of $11 million by the De Bortoli family in a project called 'Re-engineering Our Future for a Carbon Economy'.

De Bortoli’s health, safety and environment manager, Lindsay Gullifer told TheShout that with the carbon tax arriving, the grant will have important financial benefits for the winemaker.

"By using less energy you can better control your costs, so by preserving our resources, we're achieving better efficiency and also helping the company's bottom line," he said.

Where the company has previously focused on sustainability "on the farm and in the vineyard", this project places greater emphasis on De Bortoli's production and warehousing sites, according to operations manager, Rob Glastonbury.

"Receiving the grant allows the company to implement a broad range of initiatives, some of which we've been planning for the past five years," he said.

"It's about using non-renewable power more effectively, lowering power use across our sites and wherever possible, off-setting power from both the grid and gas through the use of solar power."