Bellwether goes off-grid

Bellwether winery (Photo: Bellwether Wines)

Sue Bell, the charismatic South East SA winemaker and founder of Coonawarra-based Bellwether Wines, has successfully crowd-funded her winery’s move to off-grid electrical power. She has raised $25,000 of the $45,000 needed to buy the solar panels and batteries.

On December 1 last year Sue launched a Pozible campaign to raise the money by January 20.

“The campaign wasn’t seeking straight charity,” she says, “Instead in many cases the rewards for donating were experiences at the winery, from a $50 ferment tasting, a $300 climate change dozen, a $350 glamping weekend in the new Bell tents at Bellwether, to a $1,300 personalized dinner party for 10 people or a week of working vintage in the boutique winery for $1,200.”

“The support, sharing, love and money generated was $28,390, which was an incredible feat given the time of the year.”

A few years ago Sue purchased the Glen Roy shearing shed, just off Riddoch Highway in Coonawarra, restored it and converted it into a working winery. She says the shearing shed is a very positive environment, as it has a long history of hard work, from the Chinese miners who built it from stone in 1868 to its 150 years of sheep-shearing history, to the present-day manual work of vintage.

“Somehow the sharing of food, stories and culture comes naturally here, so it is thrilling to get affirmation that people like what we are doing,” she says.

Bellwether produces excellent Coonawarra cabernet, Tasmanian chardonnay, Heathcote vermentino, Wrattonbully shiraz malbec and other wines (tastings).

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