Happy National Wine Day! And don’t worry, my Canadian friends, you can hoist a glass too. Heck, if you’re anything like me, every day is wine day thanks to my toddler. And when he demands a snack, it reminds me that every raisin is a tragic tale of a grape that could have been wine.

Did you know there are more than 9,600 wineries in the US? There’s a good chance you have at least one in your utility’s service territory, so let’s take a moment to think about how much energy wineries use to keep our glasses full. Because what’s better than a glass of red? Two glasses of red from an energy-efficient winery! Or should we call that a glass of green?

Wineries use the most energy on refrigeration, process equipment, and lighting, so how can you help these customers uncork energy savings in these areas and more?

According to engineering consulting firm Berkeley Applied Science and Engineering Inc., whose data we highlight in our Wineries snapshot (available with certain E Source memberships), wineries use the most energy on refrigeration (39%), followed by process equipment (24%) and lighting (14%) (Figure 1). How can you help your winemaking customers uncork energy savings in these areas and more? Offer to perform an energy audit. This sets a baseline for savings and highlights areas that are ripe for improvement. Some utilities even offer this service free of charge.

Figure 1: How US wineries are consuming electricity

Refrigeration is the biggest electricity end use in wineries—it takes a lot of energy to keep all that delicious wine comfortable.
Pie chart showing electricity end uses in US wineries, 39% refrigeration, 24% process equipment, 14% lighting, 8% compressed air, 7% HVAC, 5% other, 3% wastewater

Next, you can recommend some simple energy-saving tips and watch the savings flow. It might sound obvious, but remind your winery customers to turn things off and turn things down. Encourage your customers to shut off lights when they’re not in use or to install occupancy sensors. Conveyer belts on bottling lines often run even when they’re not fully loaded. Tell your customers to run their conveyers only when necessary to crush energy waste. Wineries can adjust their HVAC settings during off-hours to save energy, especially in stockrooms, offices, and other peripheral areas. A smart thermostat can help automate this process.

An easy and effective way to reduce energy consumption is making sure that the storage tanks used for fermenting and aging wine are well insulated. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) says that adding insulation to tanks should reduce refrigeration energy use by about 25%, though exact savings will vary depending on the tank and insulation used.

Bringing in low-temperature outside air during the night to provide cooling can reduce electricity consumption and lower peak power use during the day.

Encourage wineries to take advantage of nighttime air cooling, especially in warehouses and cold-stabilization areas. Bringing in low-temperature outside air during the night to provide cooling can reduce electricity consumption and lower peak power use during the day. According to LBNL, your customers can harvest savings of up to 20% of overall cooling energy.

Thirsty for more energy-efficiency advice? I gleaned these juicy tips from the E Source Business Energy Advisor (BEA) report Managing Energy Costs in Wineries, (available to BEA subscribers) and there are plenty more where those came from.

Celebrate National Wine Day by contacting us to get your own instance of BEA and watch the energy savings pour in. Did I mention BEA covers breweries, too? You’ll be ready when National Beer Day rolls around again on April 7. Cheers!

Contributing Authors

E Source
Director - Content Group

Erin Johnson is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the E Source Content Group. Her duties include developing and supporting the...