The SW Summary: On Viña Concha y Toro’s B Corp Certification, climate change and the yield vs quality debate, plant-based wine bottles, and rewilding in the vineyard

By Hanna Halmari
Viña Concha y Toro and subsidiaries join the B Corp Community

Viña Concha y Toro and its subsidiaries have recently received B Corp Certification. This makes it the largest wine company to join the B Corp community, as reported by the latest press release by Concho y Toro. Eduardo Guilisasti, CEO of Viña Concha y Toro, states that “this certification is a major step forward in our commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance issues, which are a fundamental part of our Company’s strategic pillars of growth.”

Tablas Creek: ROC Industry Leadership

In A Must Read Blog, Debbie Gordon explores at length the regenerative organic farming techniques practiced at Tablas Creek in Paso Robles, California. The winery began its regenerative journey in 2018 and in late 2020 became the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) winery. Gordon covers the winery’s specific practices and their impacts, such as its use of winter cover crops, conversion of nitrogen into plant food, replacement of tractors with sheep, and more. 

Climate change, yield and wine quality

The relationship between grape yields and quality is a complicated and widely debated topic. The traditional belief that smaller yields produce higher quality wines has long determined the strategy of many winemakers. However, as James Lawrence discusses in Wine-Searcher, global warming is causing many to rethink their approach. As winemakers now have to counterbalance the increasingly significant effects of climate change on vines, decisions on crop level management – already an incredibly nuanced topic – become increasingly complex.

The potential of plant-based bottles 

In VinePair Katie Brown discusses the potential of plant-based wine bottles, highlighting the 100% flax seed bottle developed by Green Gen Technologies. Despite the limitations of the flax bottles (i.e. high cost, unsuitability for long-cellaring), the company has “recently signed a contract with one of the largest wine and spirits companies in the world.” Although certainly a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable drinks industry, Brown reminds us that the “lower costs and production times” will likely keep glass and plastic as the industry standard for a while to come. 

Lindeman’s Carbon Neutral summer campaign

This week saw the launch of Lindeman’s new UK marketing campaign focused on carbon neutrality, reports Meininger’s. The “Step into the Sunshine campaign” aims to increase consumer awareness of the brand’s recent Carbon Neutral certification from the Carbon Trust. The campaign includes a tree-planting scheme, with the company planting one tree per bottle sold, “the creation of carbon-absorbing community murals in London and Bristol”, and more.

Rewilding in the vineyard

In Club Oenologique Adam Lechmere stresses the importance of finding the balance between human intervention and letting nature take its course.  He provides examples of the undesirable consequences of both too little control and too much control, illustrating the “fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship of human beings and the natural landscape.” The concept of rewilding, or letting nature take care of itself, is one that “many winemakers have little patience with.” As often stated by Warren Winiarski of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, “Terroir is the three Gs: the ground, the grape and the guy.”

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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.