England's largest winery aims for sparkling sustainability
The construction of the largest and, what is claimed to be, the most environmentally friendly winery in England has begun.
The multi-million pound winery, at the 600 acre Rathfinny Estate on the South Downs, will feature sustainable design techniques and use low carbon technologies.
The design of the building, which will produce around 1 million bottles of sparkling wine a year, will include 50kW of photovoltaic generation capacity.
The company claims that with an array of other energy saving techniques, which will enable the carbon neutral production of wine, it can save 16 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Among these energy saving measures are the design of a 'gravity grape' pressing solution whereby the site's natural slope is utilized. Grapes are loaded at a high level and the juices are collected below, avoiding the need to use energy to pump juice into settling tanks.
In addition, the company hopes to reduce the winery's impact on the environment and surrounding eco-system by implementing a waste-water treatment plan. Groundwater will be sourced from the estate's bore hole and purified; the wastewater from the wine-making process will be treated on site and released safely back into the land.
Top soil excavated during the building process will be reused while flint, harvested from the estate's fields, will also be used in the construction.
Project manager Rupert Seldon said: "The Rathfinny Winery is a unique project and aims set a new global standard for sustainable wine production."