The wine-making family that’s put sustainability into every bottle
Set in one of Australia’s oldest wine growing regions, wine producer, Taylors, is blending three generations of tradition with farm practices that cut down its environmental impact.
Clinton Taylor, a third generation director and the company’s operations manager, said the family believed that taking care of the land would produce better fruit and ensure future generations could operate the vineyard.
A key part of the property’s sustainability is the management and use of water across the entire operation. To cut down on water use, a system was introduced to recycle wastewater for vine irrigation.
The system takes wastewater from the wine making process, removes the organic material and then pumps it through to the vines.
“The water that comes out of production contains organic matter like yeast and sugar that could be harmful to the vines. By using oxygen to agitate the naturally occurring bacteria we are able to remove these contaminates and use the water on the vines,” Clinton said.
Alongside the water recycling, straw is placed at the base of the vines to cut down on evaporation and maintain soil moisture.
“We’ve found that the use of straw has increased our moisture content by 30 per cent,” Clinton said.
Part of their water resource management plan included the rehabilitation the land surrounding of the Wakefield River, which runs through the vineyard. The river plays a vital role in wine operation.
The rehabilitation task included the replanting native trees and shrubs. The Taylors decided to use this as an opportunity to engage with the community and invited people to visit the property and plant trees and shrubs.
“As a family business, it’s important we give people a sense of belonging and to be a part of the community we operate in. Holding community days was a great way to get the locals involved and to show our commitment to improving the environment,” Clinton said.
The Taylors have even opened the gate to the sheep that surround the vineyard in order to control weeds around the vines and mow the grass.
The operation rotates 200 head of Merinos eight months of the year, which they say are less abrasive than mowing around the vines and don’t compact the soil as tractors do. The benefit is they’ve cut down on the use of tractors and have found the rain is able to soak into the soil easier.
“We’ve been able to source the sheep from local farmers so we can give them a hand, providing them with feed, and there’s been an improvement on our soil quality and water efficiency,” he said.
A shift to a sustainable business model has set the Taylors apart from other winemakers as they’ve been able to produce the first Australian carbon neutral wine under their 80 Acres label and reduced carbon emissions by 15 per cent per bottle as part of their Lean+Green bottle initiative.
Taylors Wines sustainable agricultural practices
For learn more about Taylors’ sustainable agricultural practices