See also my tasting notes on 50 bright stars from NZ just published.
New Zealand’s generic wine body is understandably keen to present a clean bill of health re the climate effects of growing wine in NZ and shipping it around the world. New Zealand Winegrowers have accordingly just announced the launch of an initiative to give wineries and vineyards the ability to calculate their carbon footprint and to encourage sustainable winegrowing.
NZ Winegrowers are directing their members – or, I suppose, any wine producer – to their downloadable protocol and calculation tool at http://www.nzwine.com/swnz/publications.html. I’ve had a brief look at the protocol and it certainly couldn’t be faulted for lack of detail. Quite how many of New Zealand’s relatively small wine producers will be willing and able in the short term to spare the time and personnel to deal with this monster is unclear, but the idea is that they had better get used to it.
The system was apparently developed through a partnership between what NZ Winegrowers call “key international wine industry organisations in Australia, California, South Africa and New Zealand” so presumably this calculation will become increasingly de rigueur throughout the wine producing world. The protocol includes an internationally-agreed standard of inclusions by participating countries and gives wineries and vineyards the ability to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions.
New Zealand Winegrowers’ CEO, Philip Gregan, said this is one of several initiatives by the New Zealand wine industry to understand and responsibly manage greenhouse gas emissions. “We’re excited to launch this initiative in New Zealand. There are not yet any regulatory requirements around carbon emission levels but there is a strong demand in the market for an internationally credible system such as this.
“New Zealand Winegrowers has more than a decade’s in-depth experience with sustainability. The industry aims to have all New Zealand grapes and wine produced under Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand or an alternative independent scheme by 2012. This is another step in arming members with the tools they need to help them meet sustainability standards.
“Managing greenhouse gas emissions will become an integral part within New Zealand Winegrowers’ initiative, Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Reporting on emissions and minimisation will eventually become a requirement of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme,” said Philip Gregan.
Wineries and vineyards can use the Excel-based tool in order to identify the carbon footprint of their operations, based on their current data. The protocol document also lists data sources and standards used in developing the tool, and provides sufficient detail to enable the methodology to be independently peer reviewed by groups such as the World Resources Institute, which administers the International Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The protocol and calculator, version 1.1, which has been launched today, is the first step in the ongoing development of this initiative which will apparently continue to evolve “to meet the needs of the New Zealand wine industry.”