WineGB to announce first ‘sustainable’ wineries next month
WineGB’s Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification scheme is now underway, with the first accredited vineyards and wineries due to be announced in August.
Once they have been accredited, vineyards and wineries will be given permission to use the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain certification mark.
SWGB has a total of 30 founding members, who signed up when the group was set up last year. Together, these wineries account for around 40% of total hectarage in the UK and produce around 6.8 million bottles per year.
The group is chaired by Chris Foss, the former head of Plumpton College’s wine division. Foss said he hopes “most, if not all” UK vineyards will sign up to the accreditation scheme so that “the industry as a whole will be perceived to be more sustainable by government, trade and consumers”.
The group is also formed of UK grape growers and winemakers and is supported by supermarkets Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. Both retailers have committed to stock and support the accredited wines, and are sponsors of the scheme.
SWGB has created a set of guidelines, which detail best practice, set minimum standards and list prohibited practices. These will be reviewed annually and will be subject to “continuous improvement”.
The group has also developed a carbon calculating tool, which is said to be unique to the UK wine industry, and will assist producers in reducing their carbon emissions.
Goals include soil protection, environment conservation, promotion of biodiversity, minimal usage of pesticides and fertilisers, sustainable water use, protection from waterway contamination, and the reduction in energy use and carbon footprints.
Once accredited, wineries are reviewed every three years by independent environmental consultancy Ricardo.
Simon Robinson, chairman of WineGB, added: “Great Britain is a wine producing region that is growing exponentially, and we recognise that the industry has a responsibility to our environment, from vineyard to the end product. Our vision is that sustainability lies at the very heart of the wine industry of Great Britain.”
Those already signed up to the scheme include: a’Beckett’s Vineyard, Albury Vineyard, Bee Tree Vineyard, Blackbook Winery, Bolney Wine Estate, Camel Valley, Chapel Down, Chilworth Manor Vineyard, Clayton Hills Vineyards, Defined Wine, Denbies Wine Estate, Easing Hill Vineyard, Exton Park vineyard, Grange Estate Wines, Greyfriars Vineyard, Gusbourne Estate, Hattingley Valley Wines, Henners Vineyard, High Clandon Estate, Hush Heath Estate, Nyetimber, Preston Wine Partnership, Ridgeview Wine Estate, Roebuck Estates, Three Choirs Vineyards, Venn Valley Vineyard, Vineyard Farms, West Fisher Winery and Yotes Court Vineyard.