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UK releases first certified sustainable wines

The UK has released it’s first certified sustainable wines, following the establishment of the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB) scheme last year.

Ten wines from four certified producers have now been certified under the scheme, the first wines from the 23 vineyards and wineries who have been through the formal accreditation as members of the SWGB scheme.

The scheme was launched to recognise the industry responsibility to minimise its impact on the environment and maximise its contribution to conservation and biodiversity. Key objectives include key  protect soils, conserve the environment, and promoting biodiversity in the vineyards, managing vineyards sustainably, with minimal pesticide and fertiliser, using water wisely, and protecting watercourses from contamination, and minimising energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint in the vineyard and the winery.

It was developed by a working group chaired by Chris Foss, former manager of Plumpton College Wine Division,  growers and winemakers, together with key suppliers to the industry and retailers Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. Thirty wineries and vineyards signed up to the scheme initially, but this has now doubled to 61 members. This accounts for around third of the area under vine in the UK.

The ten wines which will be able to bear the SWGB mark include  three wines from Gusbourne (Guinevere Chardonnay 2019, Pinot Noir 2019 and Pinot Noir Rosé 2020), Henners Vineyard Gardner Street Rosé 2020, Three Choirs canned wine range: Sparkling, White, Rosé and Red and two from Yotes Court, On the Nod Bacchus 2020 and Best Turned-Out Pinot Meunier Rosé 2020.

Currently all of the wines listed are still wines due to the longer ageing requirements for the majority of sparkling wines produced in Great Britain – the first sparkling wines to receive accreditation are not likely to be due until xxxx.

WinesGB said the release of the first generation of wines bearing the SWGB Trade Mark was a major achievement for the wine industry of Great Britain and demonstrated both the progress and success of the SWGB Scheme.

Chris Foss, chair of SWGB, said he was thrilled to see the first wines bearing the SWGB logo hit the shelves. “This is a highly significant event for the British wine industry, as it demonstrates that we now have a fully functioning national scheme that enables our wine producers to clearly demonstrate their commitment to the environment, biodiversity and climate change mitigation. The SWGB Trade Mark on a bottle of wine is a clear indication that producers are striving for environmental sustainability by implementing the SWGB Scheme guidelines.”

CEO of WineGB Simon Thorpe MW, added that the  sustainability to the British wine industry was one of WineGB’s five strategic pillars and he looked forward to seeing more wines with the mark in future. “Through SWGB, we aspire to ensure environmental sustainability is at the heart of the English and Welsh wine industry,” he said.

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