Water is one of our most precious resources, and irrigation is vital to much vineyard growth around the world, but how are growers reducing its use?
The necessary mantra that sustainability is a journey not a destination is becoming manifest. And to prove that enterprises are taking continuous steps of improvement along this journey requires measurement, reporting, traceability and improvement action plans, often accompanied by independent certification.
As the need to take better care of the planet increases, sustainability issues have moved onto the agenda. This is a “cut out and keep” guide to the various initiatives in the wine industry.
Ladybird taint is thought to be on the rise and cool climate regions are particularly vulnerable as climate warming allows these species to migrate into previously unpalatable regions.
Recycling cork stoppers for use in the manufacture of non-stopper products, or for re-use in other programmes is beginning to get off the ground in a potentially meaningful way.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has been certifying Mediterranean cork forests since 2005. Certification means cork oak growers can supply to cork stopper manufacturers traceable cork planks from forests certified to adopt landscape-sustainable practices.
With pioneering icons such as Domaine Leflaive and Domaine Pierre Morey who live and breathe biodynamics, Burgundy has long been at the forefront of green viticulture. But in a perfect marketing storm where almost everyone says they’re doing sustainable viticulture, even if they don’t really, how do you separate marketing myth from substantive sustainability?
A decade ago, the Douro vineyards were a brown, bare-earthed environment, where patches of dry, Mediterranean climate-adapted scrubland juxtaposed with bare earth beneath vines. As a result of a growing use of cover crop, the Douro vineyards are greening over, literally and environmentally.
As it becomes more recognised that water is the new gold, stewardship programmes for water management are being created to develop systems of sustainable river basin management, considering issues such as water risk, availability, quantity, quality, and fair-share usage.
The key initiatives, in terms of moving a little further along the path of sustainability in South Africa, are the IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) and BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative), and a new one, SWSA (Sustainable Wine South Africa).