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Good Practice

Wine and climate protection

Raupentraktor

© Felix Küchler

Electric viticultural machines are being used on 100 hectares of vineyards in the Valais. The electricity is generated by small hydroelectric power plants and photovoltaic installations. Twenty vintners are tending their vineyards in near-natural conditions and dispense with the use of helicopters. Climate-friendly agriculture is enabled by the use of existing electrical equipment (motor-powered scythe, hedge cutters) and new equipment developed thanks to the project (backpack sprayers, crawler transporters, crawler tractor). Carbon emissions are reduced by 0.4 kg per bottle of wine as a result.

Aims

1. 70% of the machine time for 100 hectares of vineyards is electrically powered. The 20 vintners participating in the project use mainly electric precutters, backpack sprayers, crawler transporters and crawler tractors. They dispense with the use of helicopters.
2. 90% of the electrical energy comes from regional renewable sources. The electricity is generated by mini-hydropower plants (e.g. turbining of irrigation water) and photovoltaic installations.
3. In other areas (fruit growing, mountain farming, forestry, community work, etc.) the electrical equipment developed is used.
Publicising the project results acts as an incentive for the public sector and private individuals to switch to these new developments in electrical equipment.
4. Wine consumers have an opportunity to make a tangible contribution to climate change mitigation.

Realization

A feasibility study has shown that thanks to the latest (lithium) battery technology many machines used in viticulture can be electrified. The project commissions acknowledged companies to convert key viticultural equipment (backpack sprayers, crawler tractors, crawler transporters) to electric power. The equipment is to be tested in everyday use and then made available to vintners. Thanks to the project vintners are also able to purchase existing the electrical machinery (precutters, motor-powered scythes) at discounted prices. Small hydroelectric power plants and photovoltaic installations are to be set up. The project provides the monitoring and evaluation. Other environmental and climate change mitigation aspects are addressed, e.g. laying the vineyards to grass or measures to help save on spraying agents. A great deal of importance is attached to publicising the project in other areas of agriculture and forestry as well as the public at large, including tourists.

Impact

Twenty vintners tend approx. 100 hectares of vineyards using essentially electrically powered equipment. Already by the second year annual savings total 71,000 kg of diesel and 2,000 kg of petrol, cutting CO2 emissions by 280 tonnes. There are also health benefits for the vintners themselves, with no exhaust gases and a lot less noise. The soil and water are no longer at risk from fuels and mineral oil. As a tourist destination the Valais is further enhanced, and the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park is made even more appealing as an attractive recreation area. Approx. 700,000 bottles of "climate protection wine" are produced each year. This corresponds to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per bottle of wine of 0.4 kg CO2.

Location

Salgesch

Involved

The Pfyn-Finges Nature Park in the Valais (www.pfyn-finges.ch) supports the project as the Park itself is also involved in wine-growing. The ValNature Cooperative (www.valnature.ch) has already acquired three electric vehicles (a light truck, a car and an electric scooter). The electricity is generated by the cooperative's own small hydroelectric power plant. A prototype of a solar drying plant is used to dry fruit and wine grapes. Other participants include the Association of Valais IP Viticulturists, VitiVal; the Delinat Institute for Ecology, Arbaz.

Financing

dynAlp-climate: 20.000€, other financing partners: Bundesamt für Landwirtschaft, Kanton Wallis, BioSuisse, Municipalities Salgesch, Varen, Leuk.

Contact person

Genossenschaft ValNature
Felix Küchler
Waldstrasse 26
3952 Susten / CH
Phone number: +41 (0)27 473 34 40
Fax: +41 (0)27 473 34 41
E-mail: [email protected]