At Graham Beck we believe in giving nothing less than our very best. Our dedication to farming sustainably and producing environmentally and ethically responsible wines in harmony with nature is a long term commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of our planet.
Over the years we have strived to implement the most effective and efficient sustainable practices in every sphere of our business, whether it be in the production facilities or in our agricultural endeavors. It’s vital that we are held accountable for our every action and only tangible and lasting results will determine if our efforts have succeeded.
We’re immensely proud and extremely encouraged by the many positive strides our dedicated team has made in fostering a green culture, not only within the company as an entirety but also within our supply chain, stakeholder and partner networks, farming communities, neighbouring farms and even amongst our consumer base. Not only has Graham Beck been recognized as one of South Africa’s leading environmentally and socially ethical wine brands, we also continue to meet and exceed international standards and requirements for excellence in the industry.
Late last year saw the completion of an ambitious and pioneering project at the Graham Beck Robertson cellar – the installation of an extensive solar system to support our electrical usage. This project promises to deliver considerable long term benefits for the environment as well as contribute substantially to the overall cost effectiveness of operations.
“With all the sunshine hours in the Robertson area we have a high solar radiation factor. That factor, combined with the fact that all the roof areas on our structures are positioned at the perfect angle for optimizing the solar radiation, made it an easy decision to harvest sunlight for electricity,” explains Graham Beck Operations Manager Louis Jordaan.
During the project 1200 panels were installed on the roof of Madeba 3 cellar. The system will be able to generate a total of 312 kWp, while the lifespan of the panels is 25 years. According to Louis the payback period for this system is eight years – this means the monetary cost of installation is equal to eight years of electricity cost savings generated from the solar plant.
“We take from nature during the winemaking process and this is a nice way of giving back. To give something back to Mother Nature is a wonderful feeling. When we switched the solar plant on, the effect was immediate. It was like magic to see how solar radiation changes into electricity!” comments Louis.
“The electricity generated will be used inside the cellar and all surplus generated electricity will go back into our own grid on the farm,” he explains.
This remarkable installation will positively influence Graham Beck’s overall environmental footprint. The average electricity generated per day from our solar plant is equal to one ton of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) if it was generated by a coal plant. Thus, the direct, tangible environmental benefits are in the considerable CO2 savings. This installation is further proof of our commitment as a cellar with Biodiversity Champion status. Hopefully it will also serve to inspire other cellars and agricultural entities to follow suit. “This business is for our children’s children. If we want them to be able to produce wine I hope that all cellars will find a way to support Mother Nature,” says Louis.
“Additional long term “greening” projects will include the monitoring and measuring of all electricity usage. With that data being gathered and assessed we can make calculated decisions to perform optimally. Our challenge is with water. Electricity is something you can generate, whereas water is something you can’t. Devising and implementing water saving systems are absolutely essential in our business,” explains Louis. “All businesses should look after their environment – it is not a government or somebody else’s job,” he adds.
“We are looking forward to seeing the results reflected on our electricity bill in the very near future,” Louis says with a grin!