A total of 20 important wine companies have now committed themselves to the Race to Zero carbon emissions and many more are encouraged to apply. (See also some news about the ongoing Bordeaux 2021 harvest.)
We are delighted by the news that International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), the working group attempting to decarbonise the global wine industry, has signed up 12 significant new applicant members, some of them substantial in size.
IWCA was founded in 2019 by Familia Torres in Spain and California-based Jackson Family Wineries. They were soon joined by Spottswoode of Napa Valley, Symington Family Estates of Portugal, the VSPT group in Chile (San Pedro, Tarapaca, etc), Yealands in New Zealand, Alma Carraovejas of Spain, Silver Oak of California, Matarromera of Ribera del Duero and Cullen of Margaret River in Western Australia.
IWCA members have to commit themselves to constant reduction of their carbon emissions to meet the UN’s intermediate Race to Zero targets by 2030 with the aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We first drew your attention to the organisation in December 2019 in Richard Smart's article Carbon footprints, wine and the consumer.
The new applicant members are Constellation Brands (their Fine Wine Portfolio, which includes the likes of Robert Mondavi, The Prisoner, To Kalon Wine Company and Schrader); the Crimson Wine Group (including Pine Ridge, Seghesio, Chamisal and Malene in California, Archery Summit in Oregon and Seven Hills and Double Canyon in Washington); Ch Troplong Mondot of Bordeaux; Herència Altés in Spain; Yalumba in South Australia; Sula in India; Hunt Country Vineyards in New York State; A to Z Wineworks in Oregon; and four other California wine producers: the iconic Ridge Vineyards, Cakebread Cellars, Gloria Ferrer and Medlock Ames.
Aymeric de Gironde, who now runs Ch Troplong Mondot in St-Émilion under its new ownership, the only French member of IWCA, explained, ‘We have decided to join the IWCA, to be part of a long-term project with precise, ambitious and measurable goals (audited by outside agencies) to reduce drastically our impact on the climate. This is in the continuity of what we’ve started in sustainability a few years ago, and is a big step for us as now we are committed to reduce our carbon emissions to zero by 2050. I do hope other French wineries will join, as I believe this organisation can have a big impact on the future of our wine heritage. We hope to open a path for more wineries in France and therefore have a stronger impact. We know that within this group we will benefit from shared best practices. We hope to have a higher share of voice and convey more efficiently our vision to the public. We know we have a long and challenging journey ahead of us but we are ready and committed to it, and we will have the satisfaction to have done our share to protect efficiently the planet and prepare the path for the future generations.’
I wondered what the reaction to this move had been within the tight-knit Bordeaux wine community and was told, ‘So far the comments we’ve had from the industry are all very positive and encouraging!’
Let us hope more wine producers in France, and everywhere else, will follow in Troplong Mondot’s footsteps. Applicant members have to follow certain protocols to achieve full Silver or Gold membership.
I couldn't help also asking about the progress of the 2021 vintage in St-Émilion and was told last Friday, 'Harvests are still on, and we have a full week to come. We are thrilled because we get to use our new cellar and it is a lot of fun. We can do a lot of trials and experimentation!
'Given the bizarre weather conditions this year there are a lot of discrepancies by appellation and by properties – those who were impacted by the frost or the mildew. When you have not been affected by either, the harvests are happy ones… I think the wine we will make this year will be very interesting: low alcohol, great freshness, and ripe. It is a matrix we have not had for years (never actually).'
A non-profit consultancy specialising in similar collaborations, Meridian Institute, has been brought on board to run the IWCA.