The SW Summary: On Brexit burdens, out of this world wines, vineyard sheep, wine labelling, SW June event series and more

By Hanna Halmari
The burdens of Brexit for the wine industry

Writing for the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson discusses the effects of Brexit on the wine trade, notably the increased administrative and financial burdens imposed on wine merchants. Whilst the extensive paperwork requirements and high transport costs are already complicating matters, the challenges don’t end there for organic wine importers. From July 1 onwards, UK importers will be required to pay a yearly fee of around £750 “to belong to the UK’s Soil Association or a similar body,” and adhere to regular inspections. Read more here.

Wines out of this world

In Decanter, Chris Mercer reports on the initial tasting of the ‘space wine,’ or the twelve bottles of Château Petrus 2000 that returned to earth in January this year. The bottles, along with 320 vine canes, had been sent up to the International Space Station for 14 months as part of a research project by ISVV (Science Institute of Vine and Wine) and Space Cargo Limited. The initial tasting results reveal that the ‘space wine’ looked, smelled and tasted different compared to the control wines that were kept on earth. In Euronews, Jez Fielder explains what these preliminary findings can teach us about winemaking on earth. 

“Wooly weeders” in the vineyard

In Food & Wine, Sarah Kuta discusses how numerous Californian wineries are returning to “old-school” farming practices by welcoming sheep into the vineyard. Not only do the wooly animals provide sustainable means of “landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection,” but they “also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers,” notes Kuta.

Transparency and wine labelling 

In The Buyer, Ines Salpico highlights how the wine industry has entered a new era of transparency, urging the industry to perceive this as an opportunity rather than a threat. She stresses that wineries must respond to the increasing demands for detailed ingredient labelling to avoid “alienating a new generation of consumers” that are crucial for the industry’s survival.

The women winemakers of Tokaj

The Tokaj region in Hungary enjoys a “much higher percentage” of both female winemakers as well as winery owners compared to the rest of the country. In her article for The Buyer, Caroline Gilby MW explores the factors that have made it possible for women to take the lead in Tokaj.

Towards a more inclusive industry: Diversity scholarships 

In Club Oenologique, Adam Lechmere highlights the Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships program created by wine research company Liquid Icons. Funded by charity auctions and events, the scholarships aim to increase BAME (black and minority ethnic) and BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of colour) representation in the wine industry. Lechmere duly notes that whilst it will “take more than an auction or two to dismantle a system that has endured for generations,” the scholarships are certainly a start. 

Sustainable Wine’s event series: June, 2021

The Future of Wine Americas (1-3 June)

Sustainable Wine has a series of exciting virtual events taking place this June, starting with The Future of Wine Americas (1-3 June). Over three days, we’ll be joined by industry leaders from across Chile, Argentina and Brazil to the USA and Canada, to discuss and debate how the wine industry can build resilience and turn sustainability into opportunity. You’ll have the chance to hear from and ask questions to 60+ expert speakers, including:

  • Katie Jackson, SVP, Jackson Family Wines
  • Gabriel Bloise, winemaker, Chakana Winery
  • David Amadia, president, Ridge Vineyards
  • Elena Carretero Gomez, corporate affairs and sustainability director, Santa Rita Estates
  • Jessica Baum, director of regenerative development & sustainability, Fetzer Vineyard

Sustainability, science and the vineyard (22nd June)

This will be followed by the Sustainability, science and the vineyard business conference on 22nd June for an important discussion on how we define sustainable viticulture and how it’s best put into practice for people, planet and of course, economic benefit. Join us to hear from experts including Alistair Nesbitt, CEO of Vinescapes, Chris Foss, chair of Sustainable Wines of Great Britain, Basil Tesseron, owner and winemaker of Château Lafon-Rochet, and more.

The Future of Sustainable Wine Packaging (23rd June)

We’ll close the month with the The Future of Sustainable Wine Packaging event on 23rd June, where we’ll take a look at how to define sustainable packaging, the facts about impact, what better glass looks like, alternatives, unintended consequences and the regulatory and incentives outlook. Hear from experts including Dominique Tourneix, CEO of DIAM, Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, CEO of Enval, Anne Jones, partner & category manager, drinks, wines, beers and spirits buying, of Waitrose & Partners, and many more.

Stay tuned for updates on the conferences and make sure to register to receive updates via email. If you’re interested in speaking or sponsoring the events, please contact any member of the Sustainable Wine team to get involved. 

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About the author

Hanna Halmari

Hanna Halmari is the editor at Sustainable Wine and the head of conferences at Innovation Forum. Hanna specialises in sustainability research and events across various industries. She holds an MSc in international development from Kings’s College London, where she developed a strong interest in political economy and post-communist transformation. Hanna speaks Finnish, Bulgarian and English. In her spare time she is a dedicated Radio Lollipop volunteer at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, enjoys travelling, and tasting new wines.