The first British vineyards and wineries to formally achieve recognition for their sustainable credentials under the industry’s environmental sustainability scheme are now announced.
Twelve producers have now received Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification. They range from boutique vineyards to major wine producers, plus a contract winery operation:
Albury Organic Vineyard, Surrey
Camel Valley Vineyard & Winery, Cornwall
Chilworth Manor Vineyard, Surrey
Defined Wine Ltd, Kent
Easing Hill Vineyard, Worcestershire
Grange Estate Vineyard, Hampshire
High Clandon Estate Vineyard, Surrey
Hush Heath Estate Vineyard, Kent
Nyetimber Vineyard, Sussex
Three Choirs Vineyard & Winery, Gloucestershire
Venn Valley Vineyard, Devon
Yotes Court Vineyard, Kent
Other producers are currently undergoing the auditing process and will receive their certification in the near future.
The Scheme’s sustainability objectives are promoted through guidelines, which encourage best practice and establish standards in both the vineyard and winery. These include 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.
The accreditation process entails an annual self-evaluation to monitor progress against guidelines set out to fulfil the SWGB objectives. Upon joining, then every three years, each self-evaluation score is then checked and verified by independent auditors.
The original 30 Founder Members of the Scheme between them account for some 40% of the total hectarage under vine in the UK, with a production capability of around 6.8m bottles.
Bob Lindo of Camel Valley Vineyards, one of the first producers to receive accreditation for both their vineyards and winery, commented: “We have been following sustainable practices for many years now and to have gained SWGB accreditation reinforces all that 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.”
Nick Wenman, owner of Albury Biodynamic Vineyard in Surrey adds: “We believe wholeheartedly in the value of SWGB credentials. More and more of our consumers care very much that we as producers are looking after our environment and reassured by our commitment to sustainability in the vineyard.”
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. Leading retailers Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, representatives of whom 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.
Chris Foss chairs the industry working group behind SWGB and commented: “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.”