Sense and Sustainability with Dan Redman
Sustainable business practices are more important than ever for our team at Redman. From energy saving in the vineyard and cellar door, to reducing our environmental impact at home - every bit matters.
Working with ‘Mother Nature’ everyday helps us to keep our priorities top of mind. Wine is, after all, an agricultural pursuit, and as we live off the land, we must make every effort possible to ensure its longevity. Whilst ‘sustainable’ seems to be a bit of a buzz word of late, it’s something that has long been in our DNA – initiatives that continue to evolve over time which we’ve proudly undertaken for many years.
Dan Redman shares his thoughts about the ins and outs of our business sustainability practices, to give you an insight into what we’ve been up to.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you and the Redman family?
A: Sustainability is really our way of future proofing, both environmentally and economically, for the next generation. We are a family-owned business, so making sure there are healthy vines to make wine from is as crucial to us today as it will be in 50 years time. There is also the small matter of the world being liveable enough to enjoy those wines!
We think about many of the components going into our wines and our vineyards – making an effort to think specifically about how we can improve or optimise. As a fourth generation vignerons, it’s important that we’re preserving the footprint for generations to come.
Q: Was there a catalyst for wanting to increase your sustainability efforts?
A: Not really – it’s always something we have done to a certain degree, and something we’re always evolving. The most sustainable way to do something is often the most efficient, and efficiency has been the guiding factor in way we approach what we do. For example, we would opt for drip irrigation to save water, as a result we don’t have as many weeds or grass, resulting in less tractor runs to cut or remove them.
We have also found that economic efficiencies often go hand in hand with sustainable ones. This is the case come vintage when we opt to crush grapes in the vineyard. By doing so, we reduce the number of trucks and tractors we use on one end, and forklifts on another which simply saves on the volume of this equipment we need, along with fuel costs.
You may have read about how we do things slightly differently in the vineyard, there’s some more information on that on other parts of our website.
Q: Can you share some examples of sustainable practices in place at the winery?
A: Let’s start in the vineyard, as this is where so much can be done. As mentioned, we use drip irrigation in the vineyards, the water used is from underground bore water and we will only water on demand, not consistently – we’ve never gone over our allocation. Although we have not gone down the organic certification path, our use of sprays to control disease is minimal, in fact there are some seasons when we may only spray once. In this instance, we will opt for copper sulphates when possible.
Moving to the winery, we’ve really done a lot of work here as it can be one of the more energy intensive parts of the business. The solar panels on the roof of the winery powers the building, along with the air-conditioning, plus we’ve installed tanks to capture rainwater run-off from the roof. The grape marc, or the solids left after pressing, is wonderful organic matter. We send it off to cattle farmers so they can use it as stock feed when mixed with other fodder.
Once we are finished with barrels, we generally sell these to garden nurseries or carpenters who give them another life as flowerpots, or designed into chairs, bars, cheeseboards etc.
We also capture wastewater in a pond, where it settles and is then pumped out to the vineyards when needed in an effort to reduce water usage. I believe water is the most sacred resource (although this doesn’t seem the case currently) so that’s where much of our effort is focus now and into the future.
Q: Always looking forward, what else is on the sustainability agenda at Redman?
A: We are currently in the process of becoming members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, a national program that is supporting and promoting sustainability in the vineyards and wineries. It’s a way for us to formalise our efforts, with documentation of what we are doing, plus assistance in areas we put our hands up for. Aside from this, our main priority in the short term will be to install additional tanks to capture more water to use in the vineyards.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of the wine industry and the part sustainability will have in it?
A: Without doubt supply chains will become a big issue – everything will need to be considered from heavy bottles and their impact on shipping weight, through to offsetting transportation and using more naturally source energy to fuel this. Wine buyers are already asking more of their supplying wineries from a sustainability perspective, and rightly so.
Q: Finally, what are your top tips for Redman fans to help reduce their environmental impact?
Two really obvious and simple actions that don’t cost a thing- recycling those empty bottles you’ve just enjoyed, and turn light switches off when not needed! Both of these things are straightforward and might even save you money.
Here’s some of the top tips:
- Recycle your bottles and caps from screw caps
- Invest in some re-usable wine glasses
- Reduce the use of single use plastics
Watch this space for more updates on our sustainability journey, or better yet, visit us at our Coonawarra Cellar Door to see our practices in action.