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WineGB announces first certified sustainable wineries

Industry body WineGB has unveiled the first 12 wine producers to be certified sustainable as part of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) certification process.

The scheme, which was unveiled last month, is based on a set of guidelines, determined by SWGB, which detail best practices, set minimum standards and list prohibited practices.

The accreditation process centres around an annual self-evaluation, which is checked and verified every three years by independent auditor and environmental consultancy Ricardo.

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.

The first 12 producers to achieve certification are: Albury Vineyard (Surrey), Camel Valley (Cornwall), Chilworth Manor Vineyard (Surrey), Defined Wine  (Kent), Easing Hill Vineyard (Worcestershire), Grange Estate Vineyard (Hampshire), High Clandon Estate (Surrey), Hush Heath Estate (Kent), Nyetimber Vineyard (Sussex), Three Choirs Vineyard & Winery (Gloucestershire), Venn Valley Vineyard (Devon) and Yotes Court Vineyard (Kent).

According to a statement, other producers are also undergoing the auditing process and are due to shortly receive their certification.

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.

Chris Foss, who chairs the industry working group behind SWGB, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the first fully accredited producers, and there are many others not far behind. Sustainability credentials bring real value not only to individual producers but underpin the overall industry values.”

The first wines permitted to include the certification mark on their labels will hail from the 2020 harvest.

The news follows the launch of a new podcast at the beginning of this month, featuring interviews with UK vine growers and winemakers that champion sustainability. Called Sustainability Uncorked and hosted by Victoria Rose of PR agency Vine Media Relations, the series currently features interviews with Chris Foss and Alex Valsecchi of Albury Vineyard, one of the 12 producers to receive certification.

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