Around the world wine regions are putting sustainability first. Many regions are even spending money and time to design ‘Certified Sustainable or Sustainability’ symbols that are showcased to consumers directly on their wine labels for easy education and awareness. Being Certified Sustainable puts focus on actions that avoid the depletion of natural resources and protect the natural environment. It also means that these wineries add people, culture, tradition, landscapes and community into economic decision-making.
Overall, sustainability is an ecosystem of thought and actions focusing on and considering both the natural and human capital of its environment. True sustainability is the integration of environmental health and preservation, with social equity, and the balance of cultural and economic vitality all contributing to a positive community impact. The goal is to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for the current generation and also many generations to come.
Here are 7 regions that have designed ‘Certified Sustainable or Sustainability’ symbols for you to understand and look for.
Wines of Chile Certified Sustainable
In 2011 The Sustainability Code in Chile was created. Currently, there are 84 Certified Sustainable wineries in Chile and 80% of the wines exported may bear the ‘Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile’ symbol on bottles. The Sustainability Code is a voluntary certification, focused on incorporating sustainable practices in winemaking, based on requirements in four complementary areas: in vineyards, wineries and bottling plants, with social fairness and tourism components. This includes water efficiency, soil and pest management, energy saving, protection of biodiversity, and applying a code of ethics for happier and safer work environments.
Wine: Tierra Rica 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon & Tierra Rica 2021 Sauvignon Blanc
About: Tierra Rica is more than just organic. With a focus on bio-diversity they have a conservation area of over 2,000 hectares of native forest, a planting of biological corridors and over 11,000 native and endemic plants. They have a Biogas Plant that creates electricity and thermal energy using organic waste from harvest and uses 100% renewable energy, 60% of which are self-generated from solar and mini run-of-the-river Hydroelectric Power Plant. committed to reducing, reusing and recycling 100% of its industrial waste as well as using precision agriculture techniques to optimize our irrigation water and use compostable cork and lightweight glass. Organic & Vegan made “Tierra” means earth, land, soil while “Rica” means rich, prosperous.
California Certified Sustainable WineGrowing
Launched in 2010, Certified California sustainable winegrowing (ccsw-certified) grew out of the Sustainable Winegrowing Program. California is home to one of the world’s most widely adopted sustainable winegrowing programs in terms of both winegrape acreage and case production. In 2017 the ‘Certified Sustainable’ logo started to appear on wine bottles. Today 60% of California’s 246,881 hectares of winegrapes are Certified Sustainable and 82% of California wine is made in a Certified Sustainable winery and there are 250 certified wineries that produce 258 million cases. Additional vineyards are certified organic, biodynamic, and/or regenerative with some vineyards certified to more than one program. All certified wineries and vineyards must meet defined prerequisite practices that ensure key sustainability areas such as soil health, waste management, water and energy efficiency, pest management, wildlife habitat, supply chain, neighbour and community relations, financial contributions and employee standards.
Wine:Kendall Jackson Reserve Chardonnay
About: Kendall Jackson was awarded the 2020 Green Company of the Year award presented by The Drinks Business, a top-tier trade publication based in the U.K., as part of its annual Green Awards recognizing global sustainability leadership in the beverage industry. 100% of their estate vineyards and wineries are certified sustainable. While 60% of the original acreage has been left in its natural state, the team has also managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 17.5% since 2015. Additionally, Kendall-Jackson has set various goals in continuing their sustainable practices, from aiming to farm 100% of estate vineyards with regenerative practices by 2030 and striving to become climate positive by 2050.
Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ)
Sustainable Winegrowing NZ™ was one of the very first sustainability programs to be established in 1995. It is widely and internationally recognized as a world-leading program. Today, 96% of New Zealand’s vineyard-producing area is SWNZ certified. Over 90% of the wine produced in New Zealand is processed in SWNZ-certified facilities. This level of commitment to sustainability from the producers in New Zealand is truly a massive point of difference for wine produced in New Zealand. SWNZ certifies all parts of the production chain including vineyards, wineries, bottling facilities, and brands. The Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certification program (SWNZ) is an industry-wide certification program and is led by New Zealand Winegrowers. The program was elected by grape growers across the country, followed by wineries with the establishment of sustainable winery certification standards in 2002. Wine made from grapes grown in 100% SWNZ-certified vineyards and produced in 100% SWNZ-certified winemaking facilities can display the SWNZ logo on the bottle. To learn more on May 8th California Wines is hosting a walk-around wine tasting called ‘Eureaka – A California Wine Discovery’ see ticket information here
Wine: Yealands Sauvignon Blanc
About: With Vineyards close enough to be misted by the ocean Yealands was created to be one of the most sustainable wineries in the world. Yealands received the Green Company of the Year Award from The Drinks Business in 2016. The Yealands Wines Marlborough Sustainability Initiative will make available $50,000 every year for the local environmental project and the winery. The winery also has a roof in the Awatere Valley and is home to over 1,300 solar panels, one of the largest solar panel installations in New Zealand, from biodiversity to energy efficiency Yealands is a true leader in sustainability.
Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA)
Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) is the alliance between the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB), the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and Wines of South Africa (WoSA). As of 2021, 94.3% of certified wines were qualified to carry the new ‘Sustainability Seal’. To use this seal on bottles, 100% of the fruit must be IPW accredited. This includes each link in the production chain, from the cellar to the bottling plant. A certification seal appears on each bottle of wine or estate brandy which has been certified by the Wine and Spirit Board. This seal is a guarantee of origin, vintage and variety as stated on the wine label. To verify information, enter the two unique numbers on the seal. These two numbers track the wine all the way to the vineyard(s) from which it originated. Go to www.sawis.co.za/sealsearch.php and enter the numbers on your seal to learn more.
Wine: Ken Forrestor Old Vine Chenin Blanc
About: With a strong vision of Sustainability Ken Forrestor Vineyards does all of its vineyard work by hand. With sustainability at the forefront, Ken has been a leader in the South African Wine industry and continues to make wine built on integrity and sustainability.
Sustainable Washington State
In 2021, the Washington Winegrowers built a winegrape certification program, rooted in the industry’s existing Vine Wise®\Winery Wise™ program. A program that was already built and meant to scale Vinewise® was developed by the industry over 20 years ago and was intentionally crafted to be scalable for certification. The Vineyard Sustainable WA Winegrape Standard is adapted from Vinewise® and consists of 9 chapters and 83 requirements: Sustainable WA was launched in early 2022 and signifies a commitment to quality fruit, environmental stewardship, and healthy communities.
Currently, the program offers a certification option for vineyards with plans to add certification for wineries in the future. The Sustainable WA Certified Grapes logo can only be used by growers with vineyards that have been certified, or by wineries with a valid chain-of-custody certification. The logo can be used on wine labels when wine contains at least 75% certified sustainable grapes. The Sustainable WA Winegrape Standard is a rigorously vetted set of sustainability best practices in Washington’s viticulture industry. The Sustainable WA Winegrape Standard includes requirements for vineyards and chain of custody and is aligned with cutting-edge research and sustainability best practices.
Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario (SWO)
In 2007, the Ontario Craft Wineries (OCW) and Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) worked in partnership to create the Sustainable Winemaking Ontario: An Environmental Charter for the Wine Industry and the Ontario Viticulture Sustainability Certification Program. In 2017, SWO Certified standards became an accredited certification program providing further validity to the sustainability efforts of the industry. In 2021, the OCW and GGO merged the two programs to create one unified program – Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario (SWO) Certified. The Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario (SWO) Certified logo assures consumers that the complete grape-to-glass cycle is sustainable – that the grapes are grown and the Ontario VQA wine is crafted with sustainability at the forefront of each winery and vineyard’s business philosophy. Evolving SWO Certified to include both the winery and vineyard certification ensures that the complete grape-to-glass cycle is sustainable This program is built around the three core pillars of sustainability – Environment, Economy and Community. Practices within these pillars reflect how SWO Certified wineries and growers are invested in respecting our natural resources, building sustainable businesses and committed to social responsibility. Currently, there are 53 vineyards, 24 wineries and 3500+ acres of grapes in Ontario that are certified Sustainable. Look for the Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified logo on your favourite Ontario VQA wine bottle starting with the 2021 vintage.
Wine: Vineland Estates Unoaked Chardonnay & Vineland Estates St. Urban Riesling
About: Nestled on the slope of the Niagara Escarpment, talented and devoted winemaker Brian Schmidt has been making wine at Vineland for over 30 years. There are 180 acres of world-renowned Cabernet Franc, expressive Riesling, rare Pinot Meunier and memorable Chardonnay. As one of Niagara’s first winery restaurants and a forerunner of Niagara’s flourishing wine and culinary scene and is a wondrous winery to visit and explore.
Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia
The 2020 Sustainability Certification process for wineries and vineyards launched on October 9, 2020. The Program offers two different certification standards: the SWBC Vineyard Standard, applicable for grape growing operations; and the SWBC Winery Standard, applicable for wine-making operations.SWBC is an ongoing project of the BC Wine Grape Council, managing sustainability certification, as well as providing educational resources and training to help vineyards and wineries establish sustainable practices. Grapegrowers and wineries from across the province pioneered this process, creating voluntary positivity around sustainability. With ongoing strong support from the industry in 2019, the Sustainable Winegrowing BC standards were updated to outcomes and improvement-based format, allowing individual businesses and the community to quantify and qualify changes that move them in a sustainable direction. The current standards incorporate UN Sustainable Development Goals, linking us to a global movement for positive change. Currently, there are 24 vineyards and 6 wineries part of the certification program.
Wine: Quails’ Gate Winery Riesling & Quails’s Gate Pinot Noir
About: The Stewart family has been farming in the Okanagan for more than 100 years. With this history comes a sense of responsibility for stewarding the land and protecting its future. Recently certified by Sustainable Winegrowing B.C. (SWBC) in 2022 Quails’ Gate has been farming with a sustainability mindset since 1956. With more than 400 acres under vine and is a proud member of Sustainable Winegrowing B.C.