14 August 2020
The first British vineyards and wineries to formally achieve recognition for their sustainable credentials have been announced. The industry body, Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) reported on their environmental sustainability scheme last month, with the formal accreditation process then underway.
Twelve producers have now received Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification. These, the first standard bearers of the industry’s environmental sustainability scheme, range from boutique vineyards to major wine producers, plus a contract winery operation. They are:
Albury 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 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 appointed independent auditors of the Scheme are the environmental consultancy Ricardo PLC.
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. All Founder Members are listed on the SWGB section of the WineGB website, with those who have achieved their certification highlighted accordingly.
Bob Lindo of Camel Valley Vineyards, one of the first accredited producers, 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
Notes to editors:
The key objectives of Sustainable Wines of Great Britain are:
• Protect our soils, conserve our environment, and promote biodiversity in our vineyards
• Manage our vineyards sustainably, with minimal pesticide and fertiliser inputs
• Use water wisely, and protect our watercourses from contamination
• Minimise our energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, both in the vineyard and the winery
• Be economically viable in the long term
• Grow outstanding grapes and produce excellent wine for our customers
Further details about the scheme are on the WineGB website: https://www.winegb.co.uk/home-visitors/sustainable-winegb/
Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) is the national association for the English and Welsh wine industry. WineGB’s mission is to advance the multiple interests of all its members to establish Great Britain as one of the world’s great quality wine regions. As the national body for the UK wine industry, WineGB’s aim is to look after the needs of all its members with advice, training, support and a range of benefits and services to enhance each and every business.