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Wine News

Carbon neutral is aim for more grape growers

More wineries are setting their sights on becoming carbon neutral in order to avoid contributing to climate change.

Last week Wairau River Wines in Marlborough became the third winery in New Zealand to be accredited with carboNZero certification, the country’s programme for organisations that reduce and offset their emissions.

Lindsay Parkinson, general manager of Wairau River, told ThirtyFifty, ‘CarboNZero provides a certified and verifiable “stamp” that we are doing the right thing from an environmental perspective. It is no good just talking about it – we believe consumers and suppliers want and need proof! Phil and Chris Rose, the owners of Wairau River Wines, have just completed their 30th vintage. With five children involved in the business and with five grandchildren, they have good reason to be looking towards a sustainable future.’

Phil said, ‘Working on the land all my life, I have always been aware of the environment and am conscious of our impact on it. Respect for the environment is paramount in all decisions concerning the winery and vineyards. It is important to our family company to have the least impact possible on our surroundings, ensuring that the wonderful environment we live in is here for future generations to enjoy, allowing us to continue creating world-class wines.’

Assessing emissions at Wairau River is made easier because the company controls all parts of the winemaking process from vine to bottle. From that, Wairau has been able to develop a plan to reduce emissions, through such things as eliminating the use of helicopters for frost protection by using wind machines, reducing the weight of bottles and using smaller and lighter cartons for packaging. Remaining carbon emissions will then be offset through the New Zealand government’s windpower projects.

New Zealand led the world in carbon-neutrality for wineries, with Grove Mill, another Marlborough-based company, becoming the first-ever. This was followed by South Australia’s Elderton Wines and then Backsberg Estate in South Africa. Since then a few more have popped up in the New World.

However, now even one of the Old World’s most traditional regions – Bordeaux – isn’t shying away from the earth-friendly agenda and a couple of wineries there are working towards carbon-neutral status.