Columbine Vineyards' New Cold Storage Facility and Sustainability Innovations Proving Substantial
DELANO, CA - Columbine Vineyards’ recent investments in new technologies and its latest cold-storage facility are proving to be a difference maker. The company is continuing to make a significant effort in reducing its carbon footprint and water usage to improve its environmentally responsible business practices and sustainability initiatives.
For example, Columbine has converted to a paperless way of doing business with vendors, contractors, and employees, as well as upgraded all interior and exterior lighting fixtures to save energy. The company’s new cold-storage facility now features three times the recommended insulation and uses the newest, most efficient battery recharging system for its forklifts. The LED lighting throughout the facility is also motion sensor activated, which lowers carbon dioxide emissions and ultimately uses less electricity overall.
“In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, we have decreased our water usage by 33 percent in the refrigeration system by reprogramming the refrigeration coil defrost cycles through the use of VFD (variable frequency drive) water pumps,” said John Carter, Facilities Director at Columbine Vineyards.
On its farms, Columbine uses minimum tillage practices. Rather than disking, chiseling and leveling, the company establishes a more “permanent” row middle which incorporates a vegetative and mulch layered strip. This reduces dust, soil compaction, and allows the tractors to move through the vineyard. Columbine has also developed a vine row with a large amount of organic matter that creates an environment that is optimal for root growth and uptake of water and nutrients. This growing of large healthy vines has a much higher “net CO2 gas exchange rate” which increases the output of oxygen.
All plastics, paper, or corrugated material on the farms are sorted, separated, and baled for recycling as well, which has greatly reduced the amount of material that was previously sent to the landfill. Columbine also saves fuel and reduces congestion by having consolidated truckloads move to and from the field to minimize miles traveled and by reusing bulk containers.
Irrigation systems have also been upgraded with newer, more efficient equipment to decrease water usage and to ensure water is distributed to the crop more evenly. The conversion of diesel powered wells to new electric motors also uses less power and reduces air pollution.
“This increase in distribution uniformity has reduced the amount of water needed in order to meet crop demand,” said Billy Wiswall, Agronomist at Columbine Vineyards.
Keep up the great work so far, Columbine Vineyards!