Australian viticulture is leading the way in sustainability

As the summer season brings with it harsher weather conditions and more water scarcity, vignerons are looking for various ways to irrigate responsibly and harness the abundant sunlight.

“It’s just good business sense – how can we be more efficient, and how can we get the highest value from our resources?” President of the Padthaway Grape Growers Association John Summers said.

“Water is a perfect example – we can’t waste a drop. It’s just ecology, we only have so much. We take great care to protect our water resources. When we can produce more with the water that’s available, it delivers economic, ecological, and social benefits.

“And when you have a good business, it makes a good story underlying the product –  and it makes it much more marketable.”

Indeed, many consumers are now seeking out wines which are produced responsibly, whether it’s utilising solar power, conserving water, or even going organic.

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia created ‘Entwine’, which encourages winemakers and vignerons to use sustainable practices in their viticulture. Since its inception in 2009, membership has risen steadily, in response to consumer demand as well as other factors.

In a University of South Australia study, Are Australian wine consumers becoming more environmentally conscious? Robustness of latent preference segments over time (2010) found that just 10 years ago a wine region’s environmental credentials would sway only 20% of consumers to buy a mid-to-high priced wine.

Sustainability in the wine industry: key questions and research trends (2013), a paper published only five years ago, found that demand for eco-friendly (or organic) wines had increased sharply among younger generations, who were drinking less, but taking more care about what they had in their glass.

And Australia, along with Chile, New Zealand, the United States and Argentina, was considered to be leading the way in finding links between wine, sustainability, and steering the market in a strategic direction.

Cheers to that!