Supporting the sustainability of grape and wine businesses and Australia’s sustainability credentials
Entwine Australia is the Australian wine industry’s sustainability program – set up to support growers and winemakers in demonstrating and improving the sustainability of their businesses. Entwine is endorsed by the industry peak bodies Australian Grape and Wine (AGW) and Wine Australia (WA) as the principal vehicle to convey the Australian wine industry’s sustainability credentials. Entwine operates as an ‘umbrella’ sustainability program. Under the Entwine umbrella there are two components for members – the reporting of sustainability metrics to the AWRI and participation in an approved certification program. Entwine provides credentials which cover the fundamental components of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and delivers benchmarking tools and resources to enable planning, evaluation, control and communication in vineyards and wineries. The structure, content and strategic direction of Entwine are guided by industry reference groups to ensure that it continues to meet the demands of Australian grapegrowers and wine producers and the key markets for Australian wine.
Implementation of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia
In 2018, the recommendations from the global sustainability review were synthesised in an implementation plan for the delivery of a single, united national sustainability program. The plan was agreed by the AWRI, Australian Grape & Wine and Wine Australia and activities commenced at the end of 2018. In February 2019, Wine Australia facilitated a workshop with representatives from all states and different business types and sizes to define the value proposition of the united program and to consider potential names. The consensus within the workshop group was that the name needed to be descriptive of what the program is and does – hence Sustainable Winegrowing Australia. Sustainable Winegrowing Australia will be overseen by a steering committee with representatives of Australian Grape & Wine, Wine Australia and the AWRI, with support from a Sustainability Advisory Committee made up of program users, regional representatives and other key stakeholders. The program will continue to be administered and supported with technical resources by the AWRI.
In the lead-up to the official opening of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia on 1 July 2019, the content and memberships of the Entwine and Sustainable Australia Winegrowing programs were merged and the certification materials were reviewed and updated to develop the draft ‘Australian Wine Industry Standard of Sustainable Practice’. The AWRI invested in a new online database to manage the membership, data and reporting for Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.
Industry engagement with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia has been strong and feedback from industry meetings and regional presentations has been positive. A trust mark and clearer direction on the marketing of sustainability are key elements for some segments of the Australian grape and wine industry. These areas will be considered by the steering committee in tandem with program uptake.
Sustainability and business resilience
As a follow-up from a 2017 pilot study which investigated the unique features of sustainable Australian wine-grape vineyard businesses, in 2018 the AWRI partnered with the Queensland University of Technology and National Australia Bank through the Food Agility CRC in a project that aims to quantify the relationship between environmental and economic performance. A literature review was performed to identify the most appropriate financial metrics to be included in the annual data collected through Sustainable Winegrowing Australia in 2019. Once the financial data is collected, further modelling will be undertaken and members who submit economic data will be able to benchmark their performance against aggregated data provided by other members.