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Wine GB unveils first British producers to receive sustainable certification

Published:  17 August, 2020

Wine GB has announced the first British vineyards and wineries to formally achieve recognition for their sustainable credentials. 

The industry body, which first reported on its environmental sustainability scheme last month, said 12 producers had now received Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification. 

They range from boutique vineyards to major wine producers, plus a contract winery operation. 

They comprise Albury Vineyard, Surrey, Camel Valley Vineyard & Winery, Cornwall, Chilworth Manor Vineyard, Surrey, Defined Wine, Kent, Easing Hill Vineyard, Worcestershire, Grange Estate Vineyard, Hampshire, High Clandon Estate Vineyard, Surrey, Hush Heath Estate Vineyard, Sussex, Nyetimber Vineyard, Sussex, Three Choirs Vineyard & Winery, Gloucestershire, Venn Valley Vineyard, Devon and Yotes Court Vineyard, Kent.

Other producers are undergoing the auditing process and will receive their certification in the near future, said Wine GB

Chris Foss, who chairs the industry working group behind SWGB, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first fully accredited producers, and there are many others not far behind. Sustainability credentials bring real value not only to individual producers but underpin the overall industry values.”

Bob Lindo, CEO of Camel Valley Vineyards, added: “We have been following sustainable practices for many years now and to have gained SWGB accreditation reinforces all that what we have done. It sends out a powerful message to all our customers that we are proud custodians of our land and how we produce our wines.” 

The first wines to bear the full status will come from the 2020 harvest, when accredited producers will be permitted include the certification mark on their labels. 

Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, who sit on the SWGB working group alongside grape growers and winemakers, are backing this initiative, and will be helping to support the wines when they are released.

The accreditation process entails an annual self-evaluation to monitor progress against guidelines set out to fulfil the SWGB objectives. Upon joining, every three years each self-evaluation score is checked and verified by independent auditors. The appointed independent auditors of the Scheme are Ricardo PLC, an environmental consultancy.

The original 30 founder members of the scheme account for some 40% of the total hectarage under vine in the UK, with a production capability of around 6.8 million bottles. 

The scheme’s sustainability objectives are promoted through guidelines, which encourage best practice and establish standards in both the vineyard and winery, including areas such as the conservation of the environment, and minimising the use of sprays, water and energy, all ultimately to achieve production of outstanding grapes and wines.