Organic, biodynamic, natural, Demeter, Bio, Lo-Fi, fair trade…the list seems endless. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the wine industry would adhere to a couple of global standards when it comes to these certifications?
With anything wine related it’s not that straight forward of course and navigating the clean/green wine aisle can add another level of complexity and confusion.
For many wineries the switch to a more sustainable operation is simply the right thing to do – accredited or not. It’s a way of future-proofing their operation commercially as well as ethically, responding to consumer demands and setting-up their business for generations to come.
They understandably choose the accreditation that suits their business and ethical goals the most, which can get a bit messy and fragmented.
Others jump on the bandwagon in light of changing consumer preferences and simply create some fairly new interesting green claims themselves.
But if you’re on the same wave length as some of these genuine forward-thinking makers and are looking for a more “eco-friendly” wine, keep an eye out for the following accreditations:
Organic wines are usually made with grapes grown on vineyards that have been managed without the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides.
Those growers solely rely on ecological processes and naturally derived products focusing on soil and vine health by nurturing a diverse, rich community of plants, soil, insects and microorganisms.
Currently over 10% of New Zealand wineries hold the internationally recognised organic certification which BioGro and AsureQuality provide locally. So keep an eye out for the BioGro sticker or the word “organic” on the front label.
Based on concepts of the Austrian philosopher, Rudolph Steiner, biodynamic viticulture and winemaking is a form of organic agriculture with the addition of astronomical configurations while treating the vineyard as a living and receptive organism.
In the vineyard synthetic chemicals are commonly replaced by specific holistic methods. These include the use of special plant, animal and mineral preparations, while taking the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon and planets into account to maximise the natural potency of the vineyard.
In the winery, biodynamic wines are made with natural wild yeasts and lower levels of sulphur than in conventional wines.
Wines made with biodynamically practices are commonly Demeter certified, a worldwide accreditation named after the Greek goddess of grain and fertility which is pictured on their label.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ)
Sustainable winegrowing refers to a range of practices that not only focus on the environmental impact but also economic and social factors of grape growing and winemaking.
Responsible resource management to ensure optimal soil health, water and energy efficiency in the vineyard and winery and fair working conditions are key areas of sustainable frameworks around the globe.
New Zealand is at the forefront in this area with the majority of wineries being members of Sustainable Winegrowing NZ (SWNZ), a framework to help wineries future-proof their operations.
Keep an eye out for leightweight bottles, recyclable labels and cartons. And stay clear of foil-wrapped bottles and elaborate gift boxes.
carboNZero & CEMARS
Both, the carboNZero and CEMARS certification programmes recognise the actions of organisations and products that measure their greenhouse gas emissions, understand their carbon liabilities, and put in place management plans to reduce emissions in their organisation and more widely through their supply chain.
The carboNZero programme then takes organisations, products, services and events a step further by offering them credible and verified carbon credits to offset their remaining unavoidable emissions.
Organic Wine Week
It’s way off but the Organic Wine Week is happening in the third week of September this year to help raise the profile of homegrown organic wines and offer consumers new ways to experience them. Mark your calendars!
Popular green Q&A’s
Here are some popular and inspiring Q&As with makers flying the green flag:
Happy Earth month, week and day everyone! Keep calm and sip on!