AT SINCLAIR’S GULLY WE REALLY DO CARE ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT
Sustainable environment practices are the foundation of Sinclair’s Gully’s business operations, from the conservation of its fragile bush land in the 20 acre sanctuary on the property, sustainable biodynamic vineyard management practices to its zero waste 100% recycling program, the onsite collection of all water and reuse of waste water on the surrounding garden, its energy program and solar power project, through to measuring and implementing strategies to minimise its carbon and ecological footprint.
Sue and Sean’s commitment to sustainable practices and the environment made it a natural progression for Sinclair’s Gully to complete the advanced eco certification accreditation program (one of only two cellar doors to achieve this nationally) with Ecotourism Australia. Sinclair’s Gully completed the Climate Action Program, achieving climate action innovator certification in June 2010. These programs crystallise the sustainable values and practices in operation at Sinclair’s Gully and demonstrate our commitment to triple bottom line sustainability in all aspects of our business; economic, environmental and social sustainability, in achieving best practice environmentally sustainable operations and reducing our carbon footprint.
Our sustainable biodynamic vineyard was planted in 1998, with our first vintage in 2003. We do not spray synthetic pesticides or herbicides on our vineyard and have reintroduced native grasses across the entire vineyard floor. In May 2007 we opened our environmentally responsible eco-cellar door under the towering candlebark gums, sharing our passion for wine, nature and the environment with visitors. We have built a number of sustainable eco-wine experiences which elevate a traditional wine offering to a more educational and emotional plane.
We have had a year of significant achievements with all of our planned sustainability goals being achieved. The highlights for the year include;
· Becoming a signatory to the Wine Industry Sector Agreement, on Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction
· Winning the 2009 State Landcare Primary Producer Award and finalist in the Individual Landcare Award
· Winning the 2010 National Landcare Peoples Choice Award and finalist in the Primary Producer Award
· Gold – 2009 South Australian Qantas Tourism Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism
· Achieving the milestone of Climate Action Innovator Certification with Ecotourism Australia
· Working with a Flinders University Masters Science student, conducting research on Bats in vineyards and native vegetation, adding to the body of knowledge on this subject
· Developing a children’s environmental trail with a Flinders University Cultural Tourism student as part of their final year research project. Our ‘Junior Ranger Adventure Trail’ won the Finders University prize for the best research project
· Designing environmental signage and plant plaques which are displayed on the property
· Founding members of the local landcare group, Friends of Moores Road, (FOMR). Sean is the Chairman and Sue is the Public Officer. This landcare group’s charter is to achieve sustainable conservation outcomes by working with community on a landscape scale. Sue was instrumental in the group successfully applying for a grant to establish the Morialta to Coralinga Biolink, covering 260 hectares on 19 adjoining properties between these two parks.
At Sinclair’s Gully, we have developed and implemented strategies to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We prepare a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for our scope one and two emissions each year and measured the savings and improvements made.
Our major sustainability strategies for 2009/10 include new initiatives such as;
Hand disgorging sparkling wine on site, resulting in no purchase of cardboard wine boxes and dividers or the champagne hoods for sparkling wine. This is a 24% reduction in cardboard boxes and dividers used,
The introduction of clear glass wine bottles for the white wine range (3500 bottles), as clear glass has lower embodied energy and more recycling options. This represents 32% of total bottles,
Savings from the installation of the first stage of our solar electricity project, resulting in 72% of our business’s electricity consumption now being generated on site,
Savings from our energy efficiency program of 25% on last year’s electricity consumption and an 8% reduction in the kms travelled, resulting in an 8% reduction in GHG emissions on the previous year.
These strategies contributed to 29% reduction in gross emissions in 2009/10.
In addition to the above, one of our key business goals is to implement sustainable land management practices and to conserve the native vegetation on our property. With less that 10% of native vegetation remaining in the Adelaide Hills and a majority of this occurring on private landholdings, our major strategy is to restore and protect the endangered candlebark ecosystem occurring on our property. It should be noted that this candlebark woodland has the highest conservation rating in the Mt Lofty Ranges. We have successfully achieved this strategy by;
Gazetting 20 acres of bushland on our property as a Sanctuary on 11 February 2010 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, demonstrating our long term commitment to conservation in South Australia.
Continuing with the implementation of our vegetation management plan in our Sanctuary, achieving following outcomes;
Ø Feral animal control. 159 fox baits lost last year
Ø Weed control actioned in accordance with the vegetation management plan – weed control completed on 9 acres of native vegetation
Ø Bat monitoring surveys, with 8 of the 12 hills species recorded onsite & over 300 recordings on some nights
Ø Quarterly bird surveys. 66 species recorded, with 22 on the declining list occurring on property
Ø Plant survey updated for new species identified on the property. Over 150 species on the property, many with conservation ratings
Recognition of the work we have done over the past 13 years on our property include;
2010 National Landcare Peoples Choice Award and Primary Producer Finalist
2009 South Australian Landcare Primary Producer Award
2009 South Australian Individual Landcare Award – Finalist
2008 Telstra State Environment Award – April 2008
2007 Adelaide and Mt Lofty NRM Rural Landholder Award – For the Protection of a Threatened Ecosystem
2007/08 SA Landcare Awards – 3rd Place for Nature Conservation
2007 Australian Civic Trust Award for the conservation of our endangered bushland for the conservation of our endangered bushland for the conservation of our endangered bushland
2007 Australian Civic Trust Peoples Choice Award for the conservation of our endangered bushland