We are delighted to announce that two prominent figures in the sustainability field have agreed to help us to find a winner in our 2020 wine writing competition with its focus on sustainable wine producers.
The deadline for this year's wine writing competition was a week last Saturday (15 August), when profiles of wine producers who go the extra mile towards true sustainability poured in from all over the world.
In total we have received more than 80 entries, with very few duplications of subject, which is heartening for those of us keen to see increasing awareness of sustainability in the world of wine. What was also notable was the very high standard of entries. We thank all those who took the trouble to participate. This was definitely the most challenging of our wine writing competitions so far but a significant proportion of entrants had understood and responded to the brief. We will be publishing many more of the best entries over the next few weeks – two a day in order to keep our promise of announcing a winner next month. You can keep up to date with the latest entries to be published via this guide to sustainability heroes, with the most recently published articles at the top.
We will be helped to find a winner of all those books plus two years' membership of our Purple Pages by two specialists in the field of sustainability, one based in South Australia, with intimate knowledge of wine production, and one based in the UK, a campaigner for sustainability throughout wine's passage from grape to glass.
Dr Irina Santiago-Brown developed and published the peer-reviewed Sustainable Australia Winegrowing (SAW) system (now the foundation of the national system, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia) as part of her PhD in Sustainability in Viticulture at the University of Adelaide. (See Tam's 2019 article Finding clarity in cloudiness.) Her thesis, three peer-reviewed and published papers plus SAW, was accepted with no revisions and was awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Excellence.
As a woman, immigrant and person of colour, Irina managed to develop this national sustainability system while working part-time for a regional wine association, and to complete her PhD in just three years. This constitutes one of the great success stories of diversity in the Australian wine industry.
Irina came to Australia as a mature Master's of Science of Viticulture student in 2009 from Brazil where she was previously employed in numerous senior policy positions for the state government of Bahia. She also has a BA in Business Administration and an MA in International Relations.
In addition to consulting work, Irina is co-owner, viticulturist and winemaker at Inkwell Wines with her husband Dudley Brown in McLaren Vale, South Australia. She has continued to pursue sustainability in wine by building an off-grid tasting room and luxury micro-hotel at Inkwell constructed from used shipping containers. It was awarded The Great Capitals of Wine award for the Best Vineyard Accommodation in Australia in 2018 and Australian Gourmet Wine Traveller’s award for Best Small Cellar Door and Accommodation in 2020.
Tobias Webb is co-founder of Sustainable Wine Ltd, with Agatha Pereira. www.sustainablewine.co.uk hosts a free website on sustainability in wine and an annual conference on the subject. SW interviews winemakers and others to discuss how to make sustainability happen, and provides podcasts and media roundups of what is happening in sustainable wine. Tobias is also founder and CEO of Innovation Forum, which focuses since 2014, on sustainability in agricultural commodities and on issues such as sustainable palm oil, soy, cotton, beef, human rights, and plastics pollution and business innovation on climate change. He has taught/lectured on sustainable business since 2009 to both MSc and BSc students at Birkbeck, University of London and Kings College London respectively. From 2001 to 2014 he founded, edited and published Ethical Corporation magazine, an independent business publication on sustainable business, now owned by Reuters. He has also advised publishers such as Palgrave Macmillan, on which sustainable business books they might publish. He blogs on sustainable business at www.sustainablesmartbusiness.com