Sustainability and environmentalism are two hot topics right now, and for good reason. We need to be more conscientious about the way we’re impacting our planet, and businesses have a responsibility to lead the charge on this issue. At RayLen Vineyards, we take our responsibility seriously. We’re committed to sustainable practices in every aspect of our winery, from how we power our winery to the wildlife that surrounds it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the initiatives we’ve put in place at RayLen Vineyards to make us one of the most environmentally friendly wineries in the country!
Reducing RayLen Vineyard’s Carbon Footprint
One of the most important things we can do to reduce our impact on the environment is to reduce our carbon footprint. And that’s something we’re very focused on at RayLen Vineyards. We’ve implemented a number of initiatives to help us achieve this:
Powered By the Sun
Did you know that RayLen Vineyards was North Carolina’s first winery to use solar power? Many west coast wineries had been reaping the benefits of solar power for years, but solar-powered wineries on the east coast have been fewer and farther between.
In 2009, RayLen Vineyards worked with Duke Energy to install solar panels on land that was not suitable for growing grapes. The solar panels were made by Sencera International Corp., a manufacturer of thin-film solar panels in nearby Charlotte, N.C. In August 2009, Southern Energy Management began to install the 104 100-watt thin-film panels on open ground near the vineyard. SEM surveyed the site to determine the proper positioning of the panels to maximize exposure to the sun unimpeded by shadows from either buildings or the vineyard.
While there is no direct impact on the actual taste of the wine, there are still many benefits to harvesting solar power at our winery:
Wineries are some of the heaviest users of electricity in the agricultural industry. This is because of all the pumps, refrigeration, and lighting required to keep a winery running smoothly. Through the use of solar panels on our vineyard, we are able to offset about half of our energy costs.
All that electricity can add up to a hefty carbon footprint, so we’re doing our part to offset our power consumption by generating our own solar power. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, solar power also helps us save on energy costs!
Source of Clean, Infinitately Renewable Energy
Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that doesn’t produce any emissions. This is important not only for the environment but also for the health of our employees and visitors.
We’re proud to be a part of the growing trend of solar-powered wineries, and we hope to inspire other businesses in North Carolina to go green!
Excess power produced by the solar panels on our property is sold back to Duke Energy. By lowering our energy bills, we are able to reduce costs and reinvest those savings into other sustainability initiatives at our winery!
Today, more and more vineyards around the country are turning to solar power to reduce their carbon footprints and save money. We hope that our commitment to sustainability will inspire other businesses to do the same!
Certified Wildlife Habitat
In 2021, the National Wildlife Federation designated RayLen as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. In order to achieve this designation, RayLen Vineyards had to have the following on our property:
Food – Native plants provide food eaten by a variety of wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural food sources.
Water – All animals need water to survive, and some need it for bathing or breeding as well.
Cover – Wildlife need places to take shelter from bad weather and places to hide from predators or hunt for prey.
Places to Raise Young – Wildlife need resources to reproduce, and to protect and nourish their young.
Sustainable Practices – Maintain your yard or garden in natural ways to ensure soil, air, and water stay healthy and clean.
RayLen Vineyards is proud to be home to a variety of wildlife including deer, wild turkeys, ducks, a migrating egret, wild foxes, rabbits, squirrels, and various birds. If you are lucky, you might even spot some of the wildlife on your next trip!
New for 2022: Electric Vehicle Charging Station
In February of this year, we installed an electric vehicle (EV) charging station in our parking lot. As gas prices soar, we wanted to provide our visitors with a sustainable and affordable alternative for transportation. The EV charging station is currently free for anyone to use, and we hope this charging station will encourage our visitors to explore North Carolina by electric car and help reduce emissions from transportation.
At RayLen Vineyards, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to lead the charge on sustainability. We’re proud of the initiatives we’ve put in place to reduce our carbon footprint and operate more sustainably. We’re always looking for ways to improve our environmental impact. Soon we will be introducing pollinators to encourage the reproduction of wildflowers recently planted on the grounds. We hope that by sharing our story, we can inspire other businesses to do the same!