The Wine GB Environmental Sustainability Workgroup’s mission is to encourage and enable the English and Welsh wine industry to become more environmentally sustainable. Chaired by Chris Foss, former Manager of Plumpton College Wine Division, this group consists of wine professionals from Agrii, Albury Vineyard, Blackbook Winery, Bolney Wine Estate, Chapel Down, Cloud Agro, Marks and Spencer, Plumpton College, Rathfinny Estate, Ridgeview Vineyards, Vinescapes, Vine-Works and Waitrose.

The Wine GB Environmental Sustainability Workgroup (ESWG) publishes six e-bulletins a year, with information on sustainability issues such as vineyard soil management, water use in wineries, and crop management. These bulletins are sent directly to Wine GB members, and form the basis of the sustainability information area on the Wine GB members’ website.
ESWG is also developing an accredited sustainability scheme for the UK wine industry.

Wine GB recognises that our industry has a shared responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment and maximise our contribution to environmental conservation and biodiversity.
Our members work with nature to maintain the highest level of grape and wine quality, and undertake to:

  • Protect their vineyard soil, conserve our environment and promote biodiversity
  • Manage their vineyards sustainably, with minimal pesticide and fertiliser inputs
  • Minimise their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, both in the vineyard and the winery.

Our association is fully aware of the increasingly severe impact of human activity on the World’s climate and natural resources, and committed to working towards a sustainable future.
Yet another good reason to enjoy our wines!

With the vital support of our corporate sponsors (Cloud Agro, Multi-Color Corporation, Parker, Simonit & Sirch, Vinescapes, Waitrose, FERA, Vitisynth and Marks and Spencer), ESWG is establishing the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain scheme, which will encourage and enable Wine GB members to achieve the following objectives:

Vinegrowing

  • Maintain and improve soil health
  • Manage vineyard canopies and yields optimally
  • Reduce (and optimise) pesticide inputs
  • Conserve the vineyard (and surrounding) environment and promote biodiversity
  • Reduce vineyard energy inputs, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint per hectare

Winemaking

  • Improve winery design to reduce environmental impact
  • Increase energy efficiency to reduce the energy footprint per bottle of wine
  • Reduce the volume of water used per bottle of wine
  • Deploy an environmentally responsible wastewater management system
  • Reduce the environmental impact of wine packaging
  • Reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint per bottle of wine

Once the scheme is launched, Founder Members will need to follow the scheme guidelines. In particular, they must observe, measure and record data relating to our sustainability objectives, which will then be benchmarked with that of other members. Over the first three years of the scheme, Founder Members will then be tasked with developing new guidelines, so that all scheme members can work together to achieve the core objectives. The scheme will be validated by an independent auditor, and wines produced in scheme-approved wineries, using grapes produced in approved vineyards, will bear the following logo:

This marque will identify wines produced by Wine GB scheme members who are striving to have a reduced impact on the increasingly scarce world resources and become better custodian of the environment.

For further information, please see this slide presentation.

If you would like to support the Sustainable Wine GB initiative, please contact Janine Kennedy (ESWG Administrator).