A family-owned winery in New South Wales has enhanced its carbon-neutral business status with the help of its new Toyota battery electric forklift.
Keith Tulloch Wines, based in the verdant Hunter Valley region, wanted to upgrade its existing fleet of two LPG gas forklifts in 2021, and saw an opportunity to further reduce its carbon footprint with the addition of an 8FBN 3 tonne electric forklift from Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA).
Keith Tulloch Wines operations manager Alisdair Tulloch said that government incentives and the chance to improve the business’ environmental credentials spurred the decision to purchase a new unit.
“At the time there were a lot of instant asset write-offs and tax concessions that spurred us on to make some decisions a couple of years earlier than we otherwise would have,” Mr Tulloch said.
“We used to run two forklifts, and being LPG you have the ongoing costs of the fuel, then also the reliability of the units was really starting to get to us, whether that’s through actual breakdowns or running out of gas at inopportune moments.
“Our business is also certified carbon neutral … so for us there was a really good financial and environmental motive to swap our two forklifts for just the one which is fully electric.”
As well as replacing two LPG forklifts with a single battery-electric unit, the energy that powers the forklift is even procured in an environmentally friendly way, through the use of solar power.
“We have a pretty huge solar array here, and the forklift is being charged with the solar so essentially it’s become an emissions-free vehicle for us,” Mr Tulloch said.
Along with the improved environmental impact and cost savings, the new Toyota forklift also offers improved functionality over the older LPG units with welcome new features and technologies.
“We compared several models, this one had everything we needed at the right price,” Mr Tulloch said.
“It has the appropriate features like a container mast to get out of tight spaces – previously we had a taller mast which made it difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
“And to have the capacity to lift quite heavy grape bins, barrel racks and barrels to quite tall heights but also having a compact unit, the actual forklift that we purchased has been perfect at doing that.”
Toyota’s 8FBN forklift range features Toyota’s exclusive System Of Active Stability safety system, designed to help prevent forklift rollover and helps contribute to accident prevention.
It also features a high water resistance rating of IPX4 meaning it can work as comfortably outside as it does inside making it one of the most versatile forklifts on the market.
Arguably the most important factor for Keith Tulloch Wines has been the lack of downtime experienced with the new forklift, thanks to the signature performance and reliability associated with TMHA.
Mr Tulloch said the reliability of the new unit has been a huge boon for the business.
“A unit like this, the lack of issues is the great thing,” he said. “Having moved on from having some older units that would be constantly breaking down or having downtime – you only notice those things when they’re having downtime and there hasn’t been any with the new machine apart from regular servicing which is perfect, because it’s a tool that’s ready to use all the time instead of something that is unreliable.
“Having to wait for a technician to come out on a busy vintage day and you’ve got food on the ground, the clock is going to be ticking, so the fact that we’ve had something really reliable is great.”
Local TMHA area sales manager Allan Peacock, who helped facilitate the sale, said it has been a pleasure to work with Keith Tulloch Wines and the team over the journey.
“Working with Keith over the years has been both a learning and enjoyable relationship,” he said.
“His standing as a leading wine maker has to be commended, always approachable and looking for new ways to approach the challenges of day-to-day life as a winemaker.”
The servicing experience has been simple and hassle-free for the wine-maker, with TMHA’s extensive service network and knowledgeable technicians providing excellent service and product reliability.
Mr Tulloch said servicing with TMHA has been particularly easy.
“There’s been absolutely no issues at all, everything’s been very straightforward,” he said.
“The sales and the aftersales service was really good, Allan came out and visited the site and walked us through everything that we wanted from the unit and made sure the specs were exactly what we were looking for and priced us up on it, so that part of the service was really good.
“He came and visited us afterwards to make sure the unit was running smoothly and we were happy with the outcome, and if there was anything he could follow up on for us.”
Mr Tulloch added that the performance of the new unit has led him to recommending TMHA to others in the wine-making industry.
“Other people have seen that we’ve taken a new forklift and have asked about it, and we really have only had positive things to say about it,” he said.
“There are things like the additional hydraulic control which helps to tip bins which people like, there’s an auto-leveller on one of the hydraulics to level out the tynes on the forklift which can be helpful when you’re moving bins of fruit or going in and out of racks.
“We would and have recommended Toyota to other people in the industry.”
Keith Tulloch Wines was first founded in 1997 by Mr Tulloch’s parents, Keith and Amanda, as a family owned and operated boutique winery in Pokolbin.
With an annual crush of between 110 and 150 tonnes, Keith Tulloch Wines is a grape-growing and wine-making business from vineyard through to bottling.
Specialising in semillon chardonnay and shiraz, the winery also offers sales and cellar door tastings on-site in Pokolbin.