If we take care of the earth,
and take care of the people,
we will take care of the future.
While we may be here for a short time, our impact can last longer than a lifetime. To the New Zealand wine industry, sustainability means growing grapes and producing our world-famous wines in such a way that we can do so for generations to come. It means consumers can trust that their bottle of New Zealand wine has been made with respect for our natural world and for our people.
New Zealand adopted sustainable winegrowing practices more than 40 years ago and now has one of the best certification systems in the world. 96% of New Zealand wineries voluntarily belong to Sustainable Winegrowing NZ™ (SWNZ), which makes sense since there is a lot to protect. SWNZ is widely recognised as a world-leading sustainability programme, and was one of the first to be established in the international wine industry in 1995.
Worth $2+ billion in exports, New Zealand’s wine industry is the sixth largest contributor to the country’s economy, and New Zealand’s commitment to producing award-winning wines that reflect its stunning landscapes and conducive climate has driven the country’s wine industry to become a world leader.
But there’s a lot more to the story than a well-established reputation for quality wines with unique aromas and flavours.
Today consumers want proof that the wine and food they choose has an authentic and sustainable life story. Luckily many passionate, forward-thinking New Zealand winegrowers have put just as much effort into reducing environmental impact as they have into the quest for success of a quality product.
At the end of 2020, SWNZ aligned its goals with the United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development. There are six sustainability focus areas that cover what is most important to our industry, environment and people; Climate Change, Water, Waste, Plant Protection, Soil and People. Under each focus area, the goal is clear, and data from the New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability Report 2022 both supports, and illustrates, rooms for improvement.
Climate Change - we are changing the way we grow to reduce our climate impact, and 100% of SWNZ vineyards are provided with personalised greenhouse gas reports. The New Zealand wine industry has committed to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Water - we use only what we need, protect water quality and restore our waterways. Currently, 98% of vineyards and wineries measure and record the total water they use.
Waste - putting the circular economy into action, with 98% of vineyards and wineries having waste reduction and recovery/recycling programmes.
Plant Protection - we protect the vineyards that make our world-famous wines, and 99% of vineyards use non-chemical methods for managing pests and diseases.
Soil - we nurture our soil and love our land, with 81% of vineyards undertaking specific activities to promote soil health last season (2020-2021).
People - our most valuable resource is our people, and the can-do attitude of our pioneering winemakers is present in our people today, as we innovate and adapt to protect our environment. As one of the youngest wine industries in the world, we're great at rolling up our sleeves and giving things a go.
The focus on sustainability has always been an integral part of the New Zealand wine industry which works on the philosophy that nature’s resources belong to the earth.