November 1, 2021– As the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) convenes in Scotland today, we thought you’d like to know how Silver Thread is helping to slow global warming. In 2015, we installed a 28kW solar energy generation system to supply all of our energy needs for wine production, wine storage and hospitality. Over the past 6 years, we’ve generated between 14 and 40% more electricity than we use every year. Think of us as a mini Finger Lakes power plant.
In addition to using renewable energy to power our business, we also use lightweight glass bottles (30% lighter than industry average) to package our wine. Eco-glass requires less energy to produce and less energy to transport. We use natural cork, which is a renewable resource. Cork tree forests (which re-grow their bark) offset most if not all of the carbon used to produce glass bottles.
The overwhelming majority of our wine is purchased and consumed within the Northeastern US, which greatly reduces its carbon footprint compared to wines from far-away places. To learn more about wineries and carbon footprint, here is a great article by Dr. Richard Smart.
We have more to do. Our two vineyard tractors and our farm truck run on fossil fuels. Although we use diesel that is partially bio-fuel, we plan to replace them with electric vehicles that can plug into our solar panels in the near future.
Climate change is already a harsh reality for us. We received an astonishing 10 inches of rain during October 2021, a critical month in which we harvest most of our grapes. The increasing frequency of torrential rain storms during the growing season is well documented. All types of extreme weather are on the rise: in the past five years, we’ve experienced the warmest year, wettest year, driest year, latest frost, earliest budbreak and latest budbreak.
We are adapting our growing practices to maintain wine quality, but the best outcome for our vineyard and the world is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius per the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. We hope our progress and contributions at Silver Thread will inspire you to make changes in your life to help limit climate change.