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The Drinks Business Green Awards 2016: the winners

We reveal the winners of 2016’s Drinks Business Green Awards, which were announced last night at The Ivy in London.

Countries that performed particularly well included Chile, with its VSPT Wine Group picking up the coveted title of Green Company of the Year along with The Renewable Energy Implementation Award, and California – Alexander Valley’s Jordan Vineyard & Winery was given and the The Amorim Sustainability Award for Wine, while the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) was handed out a further Amorim Sustainability Award, this time for a Generic Organisation.

Speaking at the awards presentation last night, Patrick Schmitt, editor-in-chief at the drinks business, said, “Once more, the winners highlighted that it’s no longer enough to focus on greening just one area of a business, and those companies that did well had considered the sustainable nature of all aspects of their operations – whether that’s energy use and generation, water use, waste treatment, recycling rates, transport types, packaging weights and, importantly, how they actually benefit their surroundings, socially and environmentally.”

Continuing, he remarked, “Promoting the winners in these awards is a pleasure for us, but also important for the industry – we need green leaders to encourage others to follow in their sustainable footsteps, and improve the overall image of wines, beers and spirits.”

Concluding, he commented, “Producing drinks sustainably has become a must for any business that plans to succeed in the long term. I’ve noticed fellow writers, as well as drinks buyers, looking much more critically at how products are made and shipped. Such people are quick to lambaste the wasteful and socially irresponsible; and consumers aren’t exactly forgiving either…”

The winners of awards were announced at an event on Monday 14 November between 3pm and 5.30pm at The Ivy Club in London.

Amorim sponsors the sustainability awards in The Drinks Business Green Awards, and provides cork frames for the certificates for all categories

db would like to thank Amorim for its continued support of The Green Awards, as well as the suppliers of drinks for the awards ceremony, who were:

Ty Nant for the water (UK, Wales)
Case Paolin for the Asolo organic Prosecco (Italy)
Viñedos Emiliana for the organic sparkling (Chile)
Angove for the organic Chardonnay and Shiraz (Australia)
Yealands Estate for the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (New Zealand)

Over the following pages is a full report on the winners from the db Green Awards 2016.

Logistics and Supply Chain Green Initiative of the Year

Winner: Lightweight Containers

Lightweight Containers, the Netherlands-based company behind KegKegs, won Logistics and Supply Chain Green Initiative of the Year

Lightweight Containers, the Netherlands-based company behind KegKegs, is a passionate advocate of the circular economy. In particular, its hard work to ensure its high-tech plastic kegs close the loop by maximizing resources won over the judges.

When the first kegs were first launched as a greener alternative to traditional glass bottles and metal beer kegs in 2006, they saved 60% of CO2 transport emissions, but its second generation kegs have slashed its carbon footprint even further. Meanwhile the company has introduced 100% renewable energy in its production plant, a way to recycle its own kegs that it is developing into a recycling service further with external partners, and it is trialing kegs with double the amount of recycled material – around 60% – which it claims helps stimulates plastic recycling.

Commendation: Encirc & Australian Vintage

Encirc and Australian Vintage picked up a commendation

The judges also recognised Encirc for its partnership with Australian Vintage which has seen it develop supply chain efficiencies, lower its road mileage, and slash its energy usage across the plant.


  • Encirc & Australian Vintage
  • Free Flow Wines
  • Lightweight Containers

Green Launch of the Year

Winner: Dig This! by Stellar Organic Winery and Greenpop

In a close fought contest, one product won through thanks to its really impressive results. First unveiled to the trade in 2015, this organic wine brand has already funded the upgrading of several pre-primary schools in South Africa and the planting of almost 3,000 trees.

The Dig This! organic wine brand was conceived by Stellar Winery as a way to sustainably fund two social development initiatives in Southern Africa. Introduced to the Swedish and South African markets last year, the brand has recently been launched in the UK and Finland. The range consists of two wines – a Chenin-Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon. The RRP is £7.99 and a percentage of every bottle sold goes directly back to Greenpop and The Stellar Foundation.

Commendation: Vinedos Emiliana for Organic Sparkling

The judges also decided to award a commendation to Chile’s first certified organic sparkling wine. With a production of just over 1,000 cases, it is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley.


  • Dig This! by Stellar Organic Winery and Greenpop
  • Vinedos Emiliana Organic Sparkling

Organic Initiative of the Year

Winner: Vintage Roots for ‘Organic Rouge’ and ‘Organic Blanc’

A pioneer of organic wines, Vintage Roots was founded in 1986 with co-founders Neil Palmer and Lance Pigott still at the helm today.

Over the past 30 years, the team has earned a reputation as one of the most dynamic and committed retailers of organic and biodynamic wines, providing a service to the on- and off-trade as well as direct to consumer. Its list currently numbers some four hundred organic wines, dozens of beers, numerous organic ciders, spirits and liqueurs. The retailers added 50 new organic wines, beers and spirits to its already vast range this year, however its own-label “Organic” brand is at the heart of its offer. The own-label brand was first launched in 1998 with the aim of offering a clear and identifiable organic wine offer to consumers, at a time when knowledge of organic winemaking and interest in its cause was far less than today. Recognising how far the organic movement has come in the past 20 years, this year Vintage Roots chose to re-brand and re-launch its own-label ‘Organic’ brand, releasing an ‘Organic Rouge’ and ‘Organic Blanc’ from the Languedoc-Roussillon. Refreshed and re-packaged by design agency BD Creative, the range brings the organic ethos bang up to date, effectively communicating its message for today’s consumers. The team is already planning to add a second pair of Italian own-label wines in early 2017 – ‘Organic Root’s Bianco and ‘Organic Roots’ Rosso.

Judges were impressed not only by Vintage Root’s diverse and quality-driven range, but its commitment to promoting the organic movement and communication of the organic credentials of its own-label wines through a novel design. Vintage Roots is proof that the organic movement is not only alive and well but thriving, with the business reporting a 7% increase in turnover in the past year to June 2016.

Commendation: Origin Wine for ‘Craft’ Organic Wines

South Africa’s Origin Wine was highly commended for its range of organic wines, which will launch in Aldi stores across the UK this month. Taking cues from craft beer, its new Craft & Origin organic range comes in 50cl brown bottles and makes a play for the millennial market. The company’s “highly original” approach to organic wine branding was praised by judges, who felt Origin deserved a commendation for its efforts to appeal to new wine drinkers.


  • Araex
  • Distillery Farthofer
  • Origin Wine
  • Vintage Roots

Renewable Energy Implementation Award

Winner: VSPT Wine Group

VSPT Wine Group’s longstanding commitment to sustainability has come to fruition this year with the inauguration of two pioneering renewable energy projects which have positioned the company as a global leader in the renewable energy category.

These cutting-edge projects comprise the creation of the world’s first biogas plant to use waste from grape harvests as its only source of fuel, and the first mini-hydroelectric power plant ever to be constructed at a Chilean winery.

The biogas plant is the first in the world to supply electric and thermal energy to a winery, generated with its own organic waste from harvest. The plant is able to harness 1MWh power, providing the equivalent of 60% of the energy consumption of Viña San Pedro’s winery in Molina, in the Maule valley.
As well as enabling the winery to operate with a completely closed-loop production cycle, the plant also allows the reuse of the biodigested harvest material as a nutrient-rich biofertiliser for the vineyards that supply grapes for its GatoNegro’s brand.The second project, a mini-hydroelectric power plant, takes advantage of an existing irrigation channel on VSPT’s property to generate 250kWh electric energy for the operation of its Viña Tarapacá winery located in Isla de Maipo. This represents as much as 60% of the electrical consumption of the winery.

Judges praised Viña San Pedro for its comprehensive approach to renewable energy sourcing “on a massive scale”, declaring the company “a clear winner” in this category.

Runner-up: Yealands Estate

With a goal of becoming energy self-sufficient and carbon negative by 2025, Yealands Family Wines’ notable renewable energy initiatives include being the first winery from inception to be certified carboNZeroCertTM, engineering New Zealand’s only vine pruning burners as a major energy source and, since 2013, the largest solar panel array in New Zealand.


  • Lanchester Wines
  • VSPT Wine Group
  • Yealands Estate Wines



Water Management Award

Winner: Aston Manor Cider

Aston Manor Cider by the River Severn

In the last year, Aston Manor Cider has dramatically reduced water consumption at its apple pressing and processing facility in Stourport-on-Severn with the development of a new water recycling process which sensibly takes advantage of the facility’s riverside location.

Using innovative technology the cider maker diverts river water flowing past the site to condense vapours from the juice concentration process ­– a job usually done by large, noisy and inefficient cooling towers. No water is lost before it is returned to the river Severn and is only fractionally warmer than when it was taken – hence there is no impact on the local wildlife or environment.

Introduced in time for the 2016 harvest, the water recycling initiative has now been expanded to include the cleaning and movement of apples through the mill. As apples float they can be transported from storage to sorting table in large water flumes, whilst being cleaned at the same time.

Previously the water used in these flumes would have been wholly sourced from fresh mains water and dumped each day to effluent. Now the natural water vapour created from the juice evaporation process is recycled to the flumes instead – offering a completely naturally-sourced utility.

Judges remarked that Aston Manor Cider stood out as a clear winner in the water management category, whose “sensible” and “inventive” method of using its riverside location to avoid wasting water had reduced its fresh water consumption by 33%.

Commendation: Montes

Montes has reduced its water footprint by 50%

To date, Chilean winery Montes has reduced its water footprint by 50% – 1,000,000 m3 of water/year – equivalent to the average annual consumption of 27,300 people. Its initiatives include having 100% drip-irrigated vineyards to using a biological worm-filtered system to convert liquid waste into water for irrigation. Montes has also preserved 44 hectares of native forest on the Divisadero Hill at its Apalta vineyard. The natural water cycle feeds (approximately 1,584,000m3 of) water into the ecosystem for agricultural use and human consumption.


  • Aston Manor Cider
  • Destilerias Unidas (DUSA)
  • Montes
  • Wakefield Wines

The Amorim Sustainability Award for Spirits

Winner: Destillerie Farthofer

Destillerie Farthofer: “A family business that is in touch with the soil”

Scooping our Spirits award this year was Austrian company Destillerie Farthofer, described by our judges as: “A family business that is in touch with the soil, that is community centric, and has real personality.” While operating on a small scale, the firm has left no stone unturned when it comes to sustainability and only uses organic raw materials for the production of its spirits. The distillery has achieved energy self-sufficiency through its cultivation of miscanthus – elephant grass – and the exhaust given off by the distillation process is routed into the community energy net, providing warmth for schools, the fire brigade and the kindergarten.

The distillery also boasts a bird life project with the WWF that protects birds like the Wachtelkönig in their own forest where spring water is sourced for the distillery that has no need for filtration. The distillery also grows its own organic grain from old varieties of corn like emmer, naked oat and “Schlägler” rye. Last year 60 new trees were planted on the estate in a meadow scattered with fruit trees. Owner Josef Farthofer drives an electric car to lower emissions and works with a local bakery to make a spirit out of leftover bread.

Commendation: Glengoyne Distillery

Scotch distillery Glengoyne was awarded a special commendation this year for its sustainable efforts. “From the introduction of bees to the use of 100% renewably-sourced electricity and reed beds for waste water, Glengoyne deserves a commendation for its environmental awareness,” said one judge. It was the first distillery in Scotland to trial a wetlands facility; a £170,000 project that opened in 2011 and contains around 14,000 plants of 20 different varieties.

Some 35 species have colonised at the facility recently, including plants like Skullcap and Water Figwort. The wetlands increase biodiversity and attract an array of species to the site; including moorhens, songbirds and dragonflies. Its pair of bee hives is contributing to the recovery of the local honeybee population.


  • Arbikie Distillery
  • Destillerie Farthofer
  • Glengoyne Distillery
  • Ogilvy Spirits

The Amorim Sustainability Award for Wine

Winner: Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Jordan has installed wetlands among its vineyards in California’s Alexander Valley

Having notched up four decades in the wine industry, Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg, California, has adapted and evolved its commitment to sustainability and the environment over the years. With three-quarters of its land dedicated to natural habitat, sustainability is the foundation of its green business practices. The company makes the most of the latest technology to effectively reduce, reuse and recycle via energy-efficient “cool roof” warehouse doors, LED lighting, solar panels and waste water reclamation systems.

These collective measures helped decrease Jordan’s carbon footprint by 24% from 2007 to 2011, the equivalent to planting 74 acres of pine trees. By 2014, Jordan’s electrical use was fully carbon neutral. Each year, the energy generated from its solar panels is equivalent to saving nearly 62,000 gallons of gasoline or planting nearly 14,000 trees. Meanwhile, a pair of lakes provide habitat for beneficial insects and an array of bird species, including raptors that prey on harmful vineyard pests. Judges praised Jordan as: “A really good example of how innovation is being used to dramatically reduce a winery’s impact on the environment – it was effective, measurable and appealed to our geeky side.”

Unfortunately Jordan’s team could not attend the ceremony but sent the drinks business an acceptance speech, which can be watched below:


Runner up: Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Our runner up was drinks giant Pernod Ricard, which was praised for its efforts to reduce its environmental impact at its wineries in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, California, Argentina and China including renowned brands like Campo Viejo and Jacob’s Creek. While it has an action plan for 2020, the company is on-track to achieving its objectives. The plan incorporates all aspects of wine production from vine to bottle and beyond and broader aspects like internal governance, ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing and well as leveraging its leadership position to educate consumers and peers. At the heart of the plan is a desire to reduce the company’s environmental foot print. Today, its landfill emissions are down by 70% and CO2 emissions by 20%.

The Amorim Sustainability Award for a Generic Organisation

Winner: California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA)

Since the California Wine Community Sustainability Report launched in 2002, over 2,000 California vineyard and winery organisations have participated in the self assessment programme

Building on nearly 15 years of accomplishments, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) continues to make great strides in promoting sustainable winegrape growing and winemaking practices throughout California. Its recent achievements include the release of the 2015 California Wine Community Sustainability Report; a dramatic increase in participation in Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing; and the launch of the California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.

Since the California Wine Community Sustainability Report launched in 2002, over 2,000 California vineyard and winery organisations have participated in the self assessment programme. The 2015 report shows a vast majority of the state’s vintners and growers are taking action to protect wildlife, contributing to their communities, encouraging employees to engage in enhancing sustainability, and adopting sustainable practices for water and energy efficiency, soil health, and waste management. To date, the number of Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing entities has grown to 665 vineyards, representing 45,566 certified winegrape hectares and 106 wineries responsible for 64% of the total cases of wine produced in California.


  • California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA)
  • Jordan Vineyard & Winery
  • La Motte
  • Pernod Ricard Winemakers
  • Vilarnau Cava
  • Yalumba

Ethical Company of the Year

Winner: Bosman Family Vineyards

Children from Bosman’s Bovlei pre-school

Based in Wellington, South Africa, Bosman Family Vineyards is an 8th generation family-owned estate that has gone above and beyond to ensure its workers are respected and rewarded for their work.

In 2008, a landmark joint venture between Bosman Family Vineyards and the Adama Workers Trust saw the formation of the biggest Black Economic Empowerment deal in the wine industry to date. In 2009 a total of 260 permanent workers received a share of 430 hectares of vineyards.

Bosman continues to work closely with The Adama Foundation Trust, which was established to enact social and economic development and empowerment of all workers, their families and the community. In 2009, Bosman received Fairtrade certification under its De Bos label, with the premium raised most recently helping to fund a new health clinic in Bovlei and a transport bus for school children, just two initiatives that have helped to improve the lives of more than 1,000 people in the community. Over the last 18 months social investments spent by the Adama Foundation Trust have equated to 6.5% of Bosman’s total sales, demonstrating the producer’s ability and appetite for maintaining ethical business practices. Bosman is a shining example of the ethical standards that can be achieved within the wine industry, if all parties work together.

As one judge commented: “Ethics are utterly embedded in this business which has done an enormous amount to help its local community.”

Runner up: Jackson Family Wines

Described as a “business that really cares for its employees, community and environment”, US-based Jackson Family Wines came in a close second impressing impressed judges with its commitment to ethical initiatives. In late 2015, at the height of California’s drought, it released more than two million gallons of water from a vineyard reservoir into Green Valley Creek to increase stream flows to help protect the endangered Coho salmon. Throughout 2016, Jackson Family Wines, together with its employees, provided over 4,300 hours of support through its Rooted for Good program, which saw more than 800 employees take part in 26 volunteer events ranging from river cleanups to planting trees and preparing meals for the needy.

Commendation: Toast Ale

A special commendation was awarded to the UK’s Toast Ale, a striking business founded on the principle of recycling, while drawing attention to the highly topical issue of food waste in the UK. Launched in January 2016, Toast Ale reduces waste by partnering with brewers and replacing barley with surplus bread. So far it has, worked with Hackney Brewery, Hambleton Brewery, Wiper & True and St Austell, with plans to launch in Iceland and the USA early next year.


  • Bosman Family Vineyards
  • Jackson Family Wines
  • Napa Valley Vintners
  • Spier Wines
  • Toast Ale

Green Company of the Year

Winner: VSPT Wine Group

Sustainability is woven into the ethos of Chilean giant VSPT and the company’s comprehensive approach to reducing its impact on the environment made it a clear winner. The opening of a Biogas Plant this year was an industry first, with the winery now generating electricity and natural fertilizer from its own vineyard’s waste material, but it has ticked a lot of other boxes – from lightweight packaging, to solar energy, biodiversity programmes to helping its suppliers with sustainability. As the judges pointed out, its significant reduction of water use in the vineyard is importantly for Chile, and there is evidence of large savings in the last 12 months.

Commendation: Glengoyne Distillery

Scotch distillery Glengoyne deserves a special mention for its partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which has seen it establish wetland areas that boost ecological diversity and help it filter its spent lees in an environmentally friendly way.

Runner- up: Angove Family Winemakers’ focus on practical actions and investment has seen it convert all of its vineyards to drip irrigation, slashing water consumption per hectare by 25%, instal solar power to supply 50% of the winery’s power, and is halfway through converting its vineyards to organic production.

Runner- up: Jackson Family Wines has made great strides in reducing its carbon footprint, cutting its water usage and water intensity and setting itself aggressive five year goals to further reduce its impact.


  • Angove Family Winemakers
  • Concha y Toro
  • Glengoyne Distillery
  • Jackson Family Wines
  • La Motte
  • Vinedos Emiliana
  • VSPT Wine Group

Green Retailer of the Year

Winner: Borough Wines

Borough Wines’ commitment to environmentally friendly ways of working was established from its inception in 2002 through its ‘From the Barrel’ wine refill system. Inspired by the ‘Cleanskin’ wines popular in Australia, this system involves buying wine in bulk from existing suppliers and selling it to customers from tap in reusable bottles. Representing around 10% of all wine bought in Borough Wines shops, this equates to around 13,000 fewer bottles having to go to the bottle bank each year. Transport is also more efficient, with 36% fewer pallets needed compared with the bottled equivalent.

A development over the last 12 months is that through significant investment the company has been converting from BiB to recyclable keg format for its refill wine, which enables it to preserve quality in larger quantities of wine, minimising waste yet further.

When it comes to bottled wines, judges praised Borough Wines for its consistent commitment to seeking out and promoting wines made in a sustainable way, as evidenced by its growing range of organic, biodynamic and low-intervention wines.

Borough Wines’ commitment to importing directly (around 70% of its range) and collaborating with other independents also helps to minimise transport needs, reducing environmental impact.

Other recent developments include the introduction of a delivery service which uses electric bikes to courier bottles to our customers, while next month the company will be introducing new ‘not’ plastic bags in all of its stores made from GM-free, bio-degradeable corn starch – all of which made Borough Wines the standout nominee in this category.

Green Personality of the Year

This year’s personality has been selected for his single-minded drive to ensure one business lives and breathes sustainability.
Working within a glass filling and logistics company for the past 18 years, our recipient has worked to establish this UK-based operation as one of the most environmentally-friendly in the industry, and played a leading role in creating its sustainability strategy, called Our Sustainable Futures.

Known to some of you in the wine industry, and many of DB’s Green Awards judges, our personality plays an active role in promoting sustainability in the wider glass and drinks industries. He currently holds board level positions with the British Soft Drinks Association and British Glass, and is also a member of the European Container Glass Federation.

He has also helped set up the Collaborative Network, a waste management committee comprised of his own company, along with paper and plastic producers and five local councils in Northern Ireland.

In the spirit of continual improvement, our recipient is currently investigating new initiatives to ensure his company, Encirc, continues to lead the drinks industry in reducing its environmental footprint well into the future.

The Green Personality of the Year for 2016 is…

Fiacre O’Donnell
Head of strategic development, Encirc

Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to a person at his happiest when he is working the land, but also, a character with a proven track record of making ambitious, pioneering and innovative plans come to fruition.

An experienced viticulturist, our recipient has developed seven of his own vineyard sites in Marlborough, in addition to those under contract for other companies.

On the 8th day, of the 8th month, 2008, he opened a landmark winery, which was guided throughout by the New Zealand Green Building Code – and the first in the world to be certified carbon zero.

Since then, among the many innovative green measures advanced by this person, he has pioneered the use of miniature Babydoll sheep to ‘mow’ his vineyards, the burning of baled vine prunings to create energy, and the spreading of a special compost mix from grape marc to fertilise his vineyards.

Then, last month, inspired by his goals of not only being self-sufficient, but also ‘carbon negative’, he oversaw the construction of New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation at his winery.

Such approaches were all created with one idea in mind – to be the world’s most sustainable wine producer, or, to put it in his own words, to ‘tread lightly, think boldly’.

In short, this year’s award goes to someone with a long and distinguished career as a sustainable Marlborough grape grower and carbon negative wine producer.

So, if you haven’t guessed already, that person is…

Peter Yealands
Founder, Yealands Estate

Peter, who is dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake in New Zealand on Monday, wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony, but did send the drinks business an acceptance speech, which can watched below.

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