Leading winemaker turns to wind power

Scheid Family Wines makes more than just wine on its estate winery in Greenfield, California. Thanks to a 1.85 megawatt turbine system, the winery uses wind to generate the electricity that powers its winery and bottling operation. BEI Construction helped to install the turbine and the infrastructure that supports it.

The new turbine’s blades reach 396 feet above the surrounding vineyards. Grape varietals that thrive in the Greenfield area include chardonnay, pinot noir, gewürztraminer, and others. These varietals all do well in the area’s foggy mornings and windy afternoons. It’s those windy conditions that make the area ideal for the new turbine.

Digging in and rising high
It takes more than just a turbine to deliver wind power. BEI provided the underground construction and horizontal boring needed to support the project. The team also performed the electrical, switch gear, and civil work.

Pointing to potential construction challenges with wind turbines, BEI President Mike Rantz notes: “From a construction standpoint, the foundation is essential. Just as the winery’s vines need strong roots, the turbine needs a strong foundation. Combined with our electrical knowhow, our experience with underground construction and boring made a critical contribution to the success of the project.”

A windy future
When Californians think of wind power, many think of large wind farms, such as the ones in the Altamont and Tehachapi passes. Those types of large-scale projects do make an impact, with the California Energy Commission estimating that wind energy provides about 39% of the renewable energy delivered by electric utilities. But private companies, such as Scheid Family Wines, are making wind part of their sustainability initiatives.

What makes wind so appealing? According to Rantz: “Power from wind can offer a favorable cost profile, but you do need to install wind turbines in an open area with consistent wind.”

“As someone who feels passionately about renewable energy, I think the turbine makes a beautiful addition to an already gorgeous vineyard setting,” adds Rantz. “It’s anticipated that the turbine will produce 4,100 MWh each year. That should be more than enough to power the winery and bottling facility.”

Thirsty for wind-powered wine? Learn more about Scheid and plan a visit to one of their tasting rooms.