Australia’s coalition for sustainability in winemaking

October 14, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Australian wineries and grape growers are being urged to become members of Australia’s national sustainability program, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.

The organisation is a coalition of Australian Grape & Wine (AGW), The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) and Wine Australia and it currently has close to 800 members but AGW’s Chief Executive Tony Battaglene says he will not be happy “until every grape grower and every winery is in the program”.

He said, “People want to do this because it is the right thing to do. We want as many producers certified as possible on the pathway to sustainability.”

Members of the organisation include grape and wine producers, such as Gemtree Wines, Devil’s Lair, See Saw Wines, Mount Langi Ghiran and Duxton Vineyards.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia helps them with their sustainability management and assessment and the organisation says that its membership has grown by 32 per cent this past financial year.

“There has been an acceleration around the world of consumer sentiment towards sustainability and it is taking the global wine sector with it. Consumers, retailers and governments are all paying attention – there has never been a more important time we paid attention too,” Mr Battaglene said.

“At the moment, consumers’ purchase considerations are driving this action, with retail trends and supply chain requirements quickly catching up. Soon we’ll have no choice but to demonstrate sustainability and it is better to be prepared for it.”

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia helps its members to measure, monitor and report their vineyard or winery’s environmental, economic and social initiatives each year. This not only allows them to demonstrate their sustainability credentials but benchmarks them against each other and puts them on the path to continually improving their practices.

Growers and producers certified by Sustainable Winegrowing Australia will be able to use the trust mark of the Sustainable Winegrowing Roundtable  – a brand that will be understood according to a globally recognised and trusted standards.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is one of 40 founding members from around the world of the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, the independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder roundtable that will see the Australian program actively contribute to help define and set a global sustainability standard for wine.

 “Sustainability needs to be led at the local level, but the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program allows us to demonstrate both our individual and collective credentials to the world,” Mr Battaglene said.

AWRI will gather the data and run the program giving businesses the opportunity to benchmark organisations against each other and encourage further activity, explained Mr Battaglene.

He says that the program’s quick and easy assessments and reporting provide a full picture of a producer’s environmental, economic and social practices in the vineyard or winery.

The aim is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 but Mr Battaglene believes it is possible that this target might be able to be achieved as early as 2030.

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