The SW Summary: On Martini Asti’s sustainable grapes, Chile’s new organic wine association, the future of organic rules, carbon capture in the wine industry, and more

By Hanna Halmari
All Martini Asti grape suppliers to be certified sustainable by end of 2021

Bacardi appears to be well on its way to achieving its goal of sustainably sourcing 100% of its key ingredients by 2025. As reported in Sustainable Brands, the Martini brand has recently “announced that all of its Asti grape suppliers are on track to being certified sustainable” by the end of this year. Martini’s largest supplier, the Martini Santo Stefano Belbo winery, has recently been certified sustainable by Italian sustainability standard body Equalitas. The other suppliers, producing around 70% of the Asti supplies, have either also received certification or will be certified within 2021. 

Chilean wineries to form a new association to promote organic wine

Chile has seen a significant increase in the demand for organic wine since the lifting of Covid-related trading restrictions. Writing for the drinks business, Patrick Schmitt reports how according to an interview with Jaime Valderrama, managing director at Viña Miguel Torres Chile, six Chilean wineries are planning to form an organic wine growers’ association. With support from Wines of Chile, the group’s founding members will include Viña Emiliana, Odfell, Koyle, and Viña Miguel Torres Chile. Read more here.

Climate change and the future of organic rules

Writing for Wine Business International, Robert Joseph ponders whether climate change will force hardline organic wine regulations to become more flexible. As extreme weather events such as storms and wildfires regrettably become more frequent, commitment to organic farming practices becomes more challenging. As one German organic producer told Joseph, “organic wine does not command a sufficiently large premium, to cover the loss of half a crop. It’s fine wanting to farm well, but we have to feed our children.”

The opportunity for a negative CO2 emission wine industry

In her article for SevenFifty Daily, Diana Snowden Seysses of Domaine Dujac shares the potential for carbon capture in the wine industry. Although the CO2 emitted by yeast during the fermentation process is fairly low, it provides a clear opportunity for carbon sequestration. Given the barriers to carbon capture (primarily cost), Snowden Seysses argues that the way forward “lies in the collective.” If the carbon capture infrastructure could be scaled, she points out, it “has the potential to transform the [wine business] into a negative CO2 emission industry.” Read more here.

Wine production and economic development

Writing for, MW student Matthew Gaughan discusses the powerful role that wine production can play in promoting economic empowerment. He interviews Ramón Escobar, founder of US importer Chufly Imports, who shares his views on how ”wine can bring broad, long-lasting social and economic benefits” to impoverished communities. Having founded Chufly Imports with the aim of increasing economic development in Bolivia, Escobar discusses the concept of ‘cluster development,’ or “the idea that each part of wine production benefits different economic sectors” and creates opportunities for “generational social upward mobility.”

Flood devastation in Germany’s Ahr Valley 

In Decanter, Chris Mercer shares an appeal for donations to help Germany’s Ahr Valley wine region, one of the worst-hit areas from the recent deadly floods in Western Europe. The floodwaters, which rose to over six meters high in some places, destroyed streets, buildings, bridges and tragically claimed over 117 lives.

With “barrels, bottles and even a winery’s press” carried away by flood waters, the Ahr Valley wineries have suffered significant damage. According to Germany’s Wine Institute, the exact extent of the damage may take weeks to be quantified. To see how you can donate to help local winegrowers and communities affected, click here.

The Dartington Trust’s upcoming sustainable viticulture course (22-27 Aug, places limited)

Running from Sunday 22 to Friday 27 August, the ‘Introduction to Sustainable and Regenerative Viticulture’ will be a 5-night residential course focused on how the UK can move away from ‘conventional’ viticulture to a more sustainable model. Based on the campus at Dartington, attendees will be equipped with “the tools and resources to help them develop a more sustainable form of viticulture, with a positive impact on the planet and people.” 

Places are limited, so book your spot now for an “immersion in the theory and practice of different forms of viticulture in the UK”. Learn from leading tutors Chris Foss, Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, Duncan Schwab, Robin Snowdon, and Ben Walgate. You’ll also have the chance to hear from Sustainable Wine’s Toby Webb, who will be joining as a guest speaker to discuss the development of the Sustainable Wine Roundtable.

You can find more information here. 

In case you missed it: The Future of Wine Americas event audio

On 1st-3rd June Sustainable Wine ran  The Future of Wine Americas conference, bringing together more than 500 stakeholders from across the wine industry. Attendees heard from 60+ expert speakers and engaged in three days of lively discussion and debate over the key sustainability opportunities, challenges and innovation in sustainable wine.

In case you missed the conference or want to revisit some of the discussions, you can now find all of the session recordings on the website here.

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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.