Towards 100% sustainability

In 2007, after wide consultation, New Zealand Winegrowers launched an ambitious Sustainability Policy. Its goal: by 2012, all New Zealand wines would be produced under independently audited environmental programmes.

The Policy was aimed at encouraging the uptake of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, while also recognising other environmental-based certification programmes, including ISO 14001, organic and biodynamic production.

Joining any of these programmes is voluntary. However, to be included in New Zealand Winegrowers’ national and international marketing, promotional and awards events, wines from vintage 2010 on must have been produced under one of the recognized, independently audited, sustainability programmes.

Participation in SWNZ rose to almost 100% between the launch of the policy and the target date of 2012 — an estimated 94% or more of New Zealand’s producing vineyard area (accounting for approximately 90% of the wine produced) is now SWNZ certified. A further 7% of vineyard area operates under other certified organic programmes.

Organic production is expected to increase to approximately 20% of producing vineyard area by 2020. A number of producers have both SWNZ and organic certifications; the decision about which certification programme to subscribe to is up to wine producers according to their business and philosophical principles.