Carolina Heritage Winery expands solar support system

Carolina Heritage Winery expands solar support system

An Elkin winery already known as the first certified organic vineyard and winery in North Carolina is now becoming more environmentally friendly.

Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery on N.C. 268 east of the Mitchell River already had about 85 percent of its winery electricity being supported through solar sources, and this year owners Clyde and Pat Colwell employed Sugar Hollow Solar out of Asheville to expand that source.

In March of 2011, the Colwells invested funding to install a 5.9 kilowatt-hours solar photovoltaic system on the winery roof. That system has been providing about 85 percent of the winery’s electricity since then.

Following the success of the solar system installation, the couple began researching and exploring other ideas to become more sustainable and cost efficient, explained Pat Colwell. “We quickly realized that, due to the high volume of hot water used in the winery itself, a solar hot-water and heating system just might be the right answer,” she said.

The couple approached Sugar Hollow Solar with the idea, and in March of this year, installation of a complex solar hot-water and heating system for both the winery and their nearby home began. A wood-burning stove is set up as a back up.

Since June, the new system has been providing all of the hot water for the home and winery, and this week, as temperatures began to lower teasing the coming fall season, Sugar Hollow Solar employees were back at the winery to complete the final steps of installation.

Carolina Heritage also has another event to look forward to in the coming weeks.

The Yadkin Riverkeeper’s final paddle of the 2017 summer season will take place Sept. 24, World Rivers Day, sponsored by Indera Mills. The paddle will leave Crater Park in Elkin at 1 p.m. with take-out at Burch Station where the Mitchell River flows into the Yadkin.

The take-out spot is adjacent to Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery, 170 Heritage Vines Way, where a celebration of food, wine and beer will follow the paddle.

The annual Yadkin Riverkeeper Tour raises money for the organization, which in turn allows it to provide education programs, conduct research and champion legislation to protect the waterways. In addition to paddlers, volunteers help on land with registration and driving shuttles and on water with boat safety.

For more information on the Sept. 24 Indera Mills World Rivers Day Paddle visit and go to the Events page.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

A crew with Sugar Hollow Solar installs solar hot water panels for Carolina Heritage Winery. crew with Sugar Hollow Solar installs solar hot water panels for Carolina Heritage Winery. Photo courtesy of Pat Colwell

By Wendy Byerly Wood

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