• Devils Lair's vineyard
    Devils Lair's vineyard

Leading Australian wine industry bodies have called on all grape-growers and wine makers to join the country’s sustainability program, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA). 

Australia Grape & Wine, The Australian Wine Research Institute and Wine Australia said joining SWA will help those in the industry meet increasing consumer and retailer demand for transparent sustainability measures within products. 

Australian Grape & Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene said: “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. 

“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,” said Battaglene.

SWA helps its members annually measure, monitor and report their vineyard or winery’s environmental, economic, and social initiatives. It means members can display their sustainability credentials for customers to view as well give them markers to improve on and set goals again.

Mount Langi Girhan.

The SWA program has started to gain significant momentum, noting a 32 per cent membership increase in the past FY and 22 per cent growth to September. The program supports more than 700 members with the management and assessment of their sustainability, with major grape and wine producing members including Gemtree Wines; Devil’s Lair; See Saw Wines; Mount Langi Girhan and; Duxton Vineyards. 

Battaglene added that the program will exhibit individual and collective sustainability credentials to the globe. 

“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 benefits of being a member enable benchmarking production activities, therefore gaining insights into efficiencies and cost savings while creating greater business value over the longer term,” he said.

In 2020, Wine Australia had released its strategic plan 2020-25 identifying sustainable environments and a net-zero emissions target within the strategy. 

The listed benefits of becoming a SWA member includes: 

– delivering a better brand story; 

– short and long-term business efficiencies; 

– joining a group effort to maintain a thriving Australia wine community; 

– reviewing past operations and making improvements through benchmarks; 

– reducing environmental footprint; 

– staying one step ahead of the increasing sustainability demand from consumers and retailers and; 

– passing the land on to future grape-growers in better condition. 

SWA is also one of the 40 founding members across the globe in the newly formed Sustainable Wine Roundtable. Created to increase sustainability in the global wine sector, the roundtable is an independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder round table which will ensure the Australian program develops a standard for sustainable wine around the world.

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