No agriculturally-sourced product whispers its reliance on the soil and environment quite like wine. Wine owes its soul to the ‘terroir’ and we know you have to repay the favour and respect the environment in return.
When a decision was taken to achieve the ISO 14001 standards, it wasn’t so much a case of needing to, but wanting to, not only to gain a further competitive advantage but to ensure we are doing all we can from an environmental management perspective. Much is spoken about the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ (SWNZ) accreditation, but ISO 14001 gets less of a mention largely because relatively few wine businesses have actually achieved it.
Sion Barnsley, our General Manager and a Director of Lawson’s Dry Hills, reflected on the decision to undertake the audit and meet the standard. “Environmental management touches every aspect of the business.” From the back blocks to the front office, it requires a shared attitude on the part of every individual to manage resources wisely, reduce waste and give back to the environment”.
He also believes we have a distinct advantage, we’ve even been told we’re one of New Zealand’s best performing wineries environmentally. “The size of our operation makes it easier, as everyone in our relatively small team shares a mindset of sustainability. Yet we’re large enough to have a lot of our own equipment including a grape harvester, a complete bottling operation and warehousing. That means you can better control these assets and use them in the smartest ways possible.”
Our vineyard team carefully monitors machinery usage in the vineyard, helping reduce diesel consumption, carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. “We’re reducing our use of herbicides, that also helps,” Sion added. “We’re looking at leasing a solar power system and at ways to store harvested electricity because the sun isn’t always shining at the times you need it most.” While we’re already recycling water, moves are in place to capture and filter rainwater for use in the winery. It’s not simply a one-off attitude change. Regular review meetings unearth further initiatives as new ideas present themselves, ensuring continual improvement.
As Sion also reflects, it also had to make sound business sense. “Environmental Management gives back in so many ways – not just to the environment – it also benefits your productivity and bottom line.”