Want to turn waste water into something wonderful?
Create a wetland. Or three.
Imagine you’re building a sustainable winery. You get the big, obvious stuff checked off first: solar power, insulation, environmental control, LED lighting and offset emissions.
Check, check, check.
The water problem
Then you realise – as we did – that you need to do something about the waste water. You see, it takes a lot of water to produce wine, especially if you’re running a vineyard too, and our commitment to sustainability meant the potential waste was something we had to meet head on.
We set out to find a solution that went beyond just addressing the issue – we wanted something that would actively improve the water, give back to the land and play a part in building local biodiversity.
So we built a wetland.
Well, actually, we built three of them. Designed and managed by the brilliant folk at Living Water Ecosystems Limited, our wetlands start at the top of a field on site and use gravity to feed downwards at a natural pace. The water is filtered before it even reaches the wetlands – a biofilter made out of straw bales takes care of the big stuff in it. Each wetland then filters and purifies the water more and more as it moves through the system.
Building in biodiversity
The wetlands are bursting with carefully chosen and cultivated native life. There are over 50 species of plants, which purify and oxygenate the water. As well as the plants, there are microorganisms, invertebrates and fungi which create a complex food web that provides nutrients right up the chain to larger creatures such as birds and mammals. This ecosystem minimises sludge (and who wants sludge?) while maximising efficiency and positive benefit.
The result? By the time the water leaves the last wetland, it’s clean enough to be discharged into our beautiful willow coppice – ready to nourish and hydrate the next season’s harvest, turning water into wine. Again, and again and again.