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.
Launch of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia
Sustainable Winegrowing Australia opened for membership on 1 July 2019. The total number of members increased with the combined memberships of earlier programs, Entwine Australia and Sustainable Australia Winegrowing; however, the proportion of Australia’s vineyard area covered by the program decreased by approximately 5% compared to the previous year. These figures are expected to recover in 2020 as the industry gains familiarity with the program.
Trust mark, certification and marketing
The AWRI and Australian Grape & Wine co-invested in the development and protection of a trust mark in consultation with Wine Australia, the Sustainability Advisory Committee and other key industry stakeholders. The trust mark became available for use by certified members on wine labels and marketing materials in June 2020 and is a public endorsement of certified members’ commitment to sustainable practices. Updates to the certification standards (the Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice – Viticulture and Winery) were finalised in June 2020, supporting the launch of the trust mark.
The AWRI worked with Wine Australia to develop sustainability stories from certified members for incorporation into targeted international trade and promotional activities to build awareness of Australia’s sustainable approach from vine to wine. As part of the ‘Australian Wine Made Our Way’ program, stories will be featured on the strategic topics of water, energy, waste, vineyard practices, pest and disease, people and social responsibility. These stories will also be integrated into Wine Australia’s education program and used with key influencers and wine tourism initiatives.
Two research projects that support Sustainable Winegrowing Australia were completed. ‘Valuing nature in viticulture’, a collaborative project with the Food Agility CRC, supported the incorporation of economic metrics into Sustainable Winegrowing Australia in 2019. Modelling of the data collected was used to investigate a sustainability index and to apply artificial intelligence to assess the value of models to predict ‘sustainable’ vineyards. Three grower case studies were also developed through the project. A project which mapped the data collected by Sustainable Winegrowing Australia against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals also concluded. This project has enabled international benchmarking of the program and identification of both strengths and opportunities for future improvement.