The SW Roundup: On communicating sustainability, climate change and business risk, the outlook of alcohol-free wine, and women in the industry

By Hanna Halmari
How to communicate sustainability

Writing for Harpers, Andrew Catchpole discusses the key takeaways of a recent New Zealand Winegrowers (NZWG) webinar: “New Zealand Sustainability: Challenging the Myths Around Food Miles.” Although a leader in sustainable wine production, New Zealand’s geographical distance from much of the rest of the world raises many questions on the environmental cost of shipping. The panel emphasized the need for a lifecycle perspective, pointing out how “the emissions associated with transporting wine to market only make up approximately one fifth of the carbon emissions”, and the challenges of communicating the varying and complex sustainability schemes to consumers.

From vine prunings to fuel

In the drinks business, Phoebe French reports on the recent installation of a biomass heating system by the oldest commercial vineyard in England. Located in Hampshire, Hambledon Vineyard is aiming to cut down its carbon footprint by “[converting] its vine prunings into fuel [to heat] its winery” and other facilities. 

Climate change and wine business risk

In The Wine Economist, Mike Veseth tackles the big question of how climate change will affect the wine business. Given the breadth and complexity of the global wine value chain, the direct and indirect impacts of climate change must be assessed at every stage. He suggests viewing these impacts “through the lens of material risk” and emphasizes the need for increased climate change risk disclosure. 

Alcohol-free: Here to stay?

Although demands for low or non-alcoholic wines have been increasing throughout recent years, this trend was largely accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic as consumers became increasingly health conscious. Is the current sobriety trend here to stay? How might this trend change post-pandemic? These are just a few of the questions explored by Vicki Denig in her recent article for Wine-Searcher. Denig speaks to various wine industry professionals who are confident that “alcohol-free is here to stay.” 

Constellation Brands invests $10M in minority-owned businesses

Meininger’s reports on the latest progress made by Constellation Brands in its racial justice action plan. As part of the company’s commitment to invest $100 million in minority-owned businesses by 2030, Constellation will be investing $10 million in the Clear Vision Impact Fund. The fund is the “only woman- and minority-owned investment bank in the United States” and provides loans to “minority-owned businesses in underserved communities.” 

Women in wine: What do the numbers say?

In a recent post, Jancis Robinson takes a look at where women have got to in the various facets of the wine industry. Her analysis reveals that whilst the US and UK are seeing an increasing number of high-profile females take lead in the industry, both industries remain “decidedly male.” The numbers look a lot healthier in the educational sphere, with the proportion of women studying wine increasing year on year.

In Club Oenologique, Nina Caplan takes a sharp look at sexism in the wine industry. She notes how whilst we’ve moved on from the days that women were not allowed in “Burgundian wineries because their presence might ‘turn’ the wine,” we still have a long way to go. Published on International Women’s’ Day (March 8th), Caplan stresses how celebrating women for 24 hours, “reinforcing the idea that other 364 days belong to men” is simply unhelpful tokenism. Rather, we should “continue to celebrate great women” every day and not “because they’re women, but because they’re great.” 

About the author

Hanna Halmari
Editor

Hanna Halmari is the editor at Sustainable Wine and a project manager 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.