On the occasion of ‘World Environment Day’ one of the biggest vineyards from Nashik introduces a concept of ‘Sustainable Sula’.
As Nashik has become wine capital of Maharashtra, many Nashik-based brands have started to compete with international wines. Sula is definitely one of the successful names in such brands. Sula is not just focused on making great wine but making the same in good environment.
Sula’s sustainable agricultural practices and efficient winery operations are environment friendly, economically sound, socially responsible, and mindful of the earth’s limited resources. It is continuously working to improve its own sustainability and that of its growers, through experimentation and experience sharing. Therefore, Sula has drafted a plan called ‘Sustainable Sula’ which is a three tier programme. It includes :-
Sula encourages growers to bring their fruit early thus keeping the grapes fresher so as to reduce power consumption while chilling the tanks (and thus cut the cost of chilling) by giving a monetary incentive. The juice is then stored, after fermentation, in double-insulated chilling tanks that Sula has designed especially for this purpose, minimising the amount of energy needed to keep the wine cool day and night. Once the grapes are crushed, wines need to be stored in cool conditions. Keeping anything at cool temperatures in the Indian climate requires a lot of energy, but Sula has taken efforts to minimise the amount of energy needed through a number of insulation measures. All freshly crushed grape juice is cooled to 10°C using a heat exchanger, or ‘tube in tube’, as it enters the winery.
Optimised drip irrigation Drip irrigation ensures a steady supply of water directly to vine root zones. Sula aims to optimally irrigate the soil at any specific time of the year, saving further water in the process. In addition to this grass mulching is another practice Sula follows rigorously in all its estate vineyards. This helps in a big way to retain the moisture in the soil and avoid evaporation from the soil surface thus reducing the water requirement by another 10 per cent and grasses once decomposed add organic matter in the soil helps in improving the soil structure and increase in microbial activity. A 3-phase watershed management project that aims at harvesting rainwater and excess irrigation runoff is currently underway at Sula’s Samant and Dindori reserves.
Sula has also engaged their employees in the process of sustainable development. Ideas about environment friendly activities are always welcomed by the employees. Each month, they set water and energy use targets for their employees to meet, both at the Winery and in the Vineyard.