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New Zealand trumpets sustainable credentials for Earth Day

Published:  22 April, 2022

New Zealand Wine Growers (NZWG) has released its 2022 industry-wide Sustainability Report, charting its strong progress down a more sustainable path, reconfirming its aim to be an eco-leader among global wine-producing territories.

Winegrowers in Aotearoa – the aptly-named Land of the Long White Cloud – were early in collectively embracing sweeping sustainability goals, coalescing in the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) programme, launched as far back as 1995.

With an annual progress report covering almost the entire industry, SWNZ now folds in 96% of New Zealand’s vineyards to its accredited sustainable programme, equating to 1,840 vineyards and 310 wineries.

The headline goal set out by SWNZ is for the industry to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and become “a world leader” inefficient water usage, zero waste to landfills, and “protecting and enhancing” the health of the soils.

Meanwhile, 55% of wineries have moved to lightweight bottles, recognising that even the closest export-driven New Zealand’s markets require shipping goods a long way.

In addition, some 10% of New Zealand wineries also hold organic certification, a sector according to NZWG that is showing “impressive growth”.

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One important aspect of the SWNZ programme compared with other sustainability schemes around the winemaking world is the joined-up, industry-wide reach it has, delivering a recognisable, trade-wide seal for bottles that consumers can easily understand.

Backed by organisations such as the national Brigato Research Institute and the grower-led Organic Winegrowers New Zealand, SWNZ also produces personalised greenhouse gas reports for 100% of its wineries.

“The New Zealand wine industry has rightfully earned its place as one of the most progressive wine-producing nations globally,” said Dr Edwin Massey, general manager of sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers.

“With the data we have available from SWNZ; we have a unique opportunity to tell our wine sustainability story at a time when caring for people and place is so aligned to our customer’s values.”

Data for the report was collated from 310 wineries and 1.840 vineyards in the SWNZ programme from the 2020-2021 season. The full 2022 Sustainability Report can be found here.

(Pictured: Solar panels at Yealands Estate, courtesy of NZWG)