Wine Sustainability

Why Sustainable?

Some winegrowing areas constantly have to struggle with high humidity, which provides the ideal environment for mildew to form on the vines. In such regions Organic or Biodynamic status is difficult to achieve. So, winemakers adopt Organic principles but don’t seek Certification, instead they can opt into a Sustainability program.

Sustainability programs allow for minimal chemical spraying. Each spraying event must be dated, recorded and measured. This is important as Economics plays an important role in underpinning wine regions where sustainability is prevalent.

The regions most likely to opt for sustainability rather than organics tend to be in Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. The temperate climates in these Countries create conditions where regular warmth and high humidity can be the ideal breeding ground for unwanted moulds, fungi and mildews. The only sure fire way to eradicate these is chemical spraying.

New Zealand

Countries such as Chile, Australia, Argentina and hotter European countries like Spain enjoy regular high temperatures and dry weather during the growing season, so there is little need for chemical spraying therefore Organics is a better economic option in our opinion.

Another issue with organic viticulture is that only a “Bordeaux mix” is allowed in disease protection. This is a solution of water, quicklime and Copper sulphate that is applied to diseased or affected vines. Copper sulphate does not readily degrade under normal environmental conditions, though it is highly soluble in water. This makes run-off particularly dangerous, since a concentration of less than 1mg per litre will kill 50 percent of exposed fish within 48 hours.

Conversely, copper sulphate is relatively immobile when it enters the soil, binding tightly with both organic matter and clay particles. Therefore, total copper concentration in soils can readily accumulate, especially in older vineyards or those with a high susceptibility to fungal diseases, sometimes attaining quite startling levels.

So the decision of whether to spray a pesticide rather than a Bordeaux mix is a critical one for grape producers.

Sustainable Practises

Sustainability refers to a range of practices that are ecologically sound, but also economically viable and socially responsible. Sustainable agriculture’s focus is to minimize environmental impacts. A large majority of sustainable practices are in fact, organic, but the winery has the flexibility to choose what works best for each individual block of vineyards. Typically, the focus would be on energy and water conservation, natural predators, natural weed control, the use of renewable resources and the reduction of carbon footprint.

It is worth mentioning that Sustainable Wine Roundtable (SWR) is a worldwide non-governmental organisation (NGO). It has a remit that is wider than just the vineyard, winery and the local environment.

Whilst it has wineries as members, it also has retailers, importers, distributors and logistics providers in its membership. For example, Jancis Robinson, Equalitas Sustainable, Waitrose, World Wildlife Fund, British Glass, Amorim Cork and Geisenheim University are founding members. SWR has their own logo to look out for.

In individual countries the journey towards sustainability is recognised under several competing descriptions and controlling bodies. Whilst the the back label of a wine may mention sustainability, these statements are unregulated unless backed up by an organic, biodynamic logo or a growing number of country level sustainability logos.

Sustainability around the
Globe by Country

Unfortunately, there is not one widely used global Sustainability body such as what Demeter is for Biodynamics.

In the absence of Organic, Biodynamic or Natural wine logos, here is a global snapshot of identifying sustainable wines from country to country. It’s not a comprehensive list, but contains the major sustainability projects around the world. Let us know if you discover others!


Wine sustainability in Chile is a voluntary practise based on requirements in three areas.

The Vineyard

The wine production and bottling plant.

The social sector and wine tourism

The Wineries are audited by one of three Auditing companies including Ecocert Chile, NSF International Chile SA and SCG. At the time of print 70 wineries had the accreditation.

Their sustainability logo is awarded and managed by Wines of Chile.

In our opinion the process of accreditation is clear, robust and measurable.

Last Rev Feb 2023

chilean organic winegrowerssustainable wine of chile

South Africa

South Africa were early adopters of Sustainability. They use the term #Hannuwa to encapsulate sustainability. #Hannuwa is a term used by the ancient, indigenous South African Bushmen, /Xam San. Roughly translated the ancient San word means the gathering of good fortune through living in sustainable harmony with our natural environment.

Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) is an alliance between the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB), the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and Wines of South Africa (WoSA).


Together these organisations are responsible for leading the South African wine industry’s commitment to the sustainable, eco-friendly production of wine.

Producers sign up to a pledge to commit themselves:

  • To farm sustainably.
  • To be a custodian of the land and preserve it for our future generations.
  • To nurture a culture of respect among the people who work with us on our farms and in our cellars.
  • To promote an environment of dignity, equality and upliftment for all.
  • To protect the unique and valuable biodiversity of our winelands.
  • To safeguard the rich heritage of South Africa’s winelands.

Starting in 1998, now over 85% of wineries can display the Sustainable Wine South Africa logo. The criteria include the following:

  • Ensure the health and safety of their workforce.
  • Minimise their use of chemicals and pesticides.
  • Introduce natural predators onto their vineyards.
  • Protect the biodiversity of the flora and fauna.
  • They must clean up wastewater.
  • They are independently audited every three years.

More information on sustainability in South Africa can be found in this link on the Wines of South Africa website:

New Zealand

Like South Africa, New Zealand has looked back at its roots to push forward its sustainability agenda. The Mauri saying “Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere Whakamua” roughly translates as

“If we take care of the earth, and take care of the people, we will take care of the future.”

With typical simplicity, New Zealand has adopted a simple pledge that any bottle displaying the NZ Sustainability logo will have had a grape to glass pledge that both vineyards and wine making facilities are certified as sustainable.

The focus is on six key areas. Namely Climate Change, Water, Waste, Plant Protection, Soil and People.

Launched in 1995 Sustainable Wine New Zealand (SWNZ) initiated a program of continuous improvement. Members complete annual submissions and are independently audited.

Vineyards submit an annual spray diary detailing any agrichemical applications.

Over 96% of Vineyards and 90% of wine volume are SWNZ certified making New Zealand a leader in World wine sustainability

They have an excellent website should you wish more information:


Argentina is the 5th largest wine producer in the World. Whilst there were 1247 registered wineries, in 2021, only 871 pressed any grapes. The wineries employ between 55,000 and 100,000 people depending on the season.

The main wine producing area, Mendoza enjoys extremely hot Summers, so little need for pesticides.

Argentina has a large proportion of small wineries, 66% are classified as small with few employees.

Bodegas de Argentina (BdA) is a business Chamber for Argentine producers. It now represents the interests of over 250 wineries from every wine region in Argentina. In volume terms these wineries make up 90% of the wine exports out of the country.

In 2012 BdA set up a Sustainability protocol. Covering the three pillars of Social, Economic and Environmental values, it was devised by representatives of 28 wineries ranging from the likes of Cantena Zapata and Dom. Bousquet and Norton.

There is a self-assessment protocol for Sustainabilty.   According to The Drinks Business Magazine in August 2022, 136 wineries had completed the assessment.

Wineries can display the BdA Sustainable logo.

BDA wine certification

That said a few wineries such as Domaine Bousquets have become Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) who have adopted the USDA standards for Organic farming. ROC requires certification in three areas: soil health and land management, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness.

Like other countries with very hot dry Summers, wineries tend to go for Organic status rather than Sustainable as Organic status has a higher perceived value.

There is a sustainable wine logo in Argentina, which we have found difficult to find in actual use. Therefore we recommend looking for organic certification through ROC, or biodynamic via Demeter to provide a good indication of sustainability in Argentina.


There are now several bodies promoting sustainability in the USA.

The largest is Certified Sustainable California. It covers Vineyards, Wineries and individual wines. At the time of researching this 2584 vineyards representing 38% of the area under vine in California are included in the scheme. What is more, the 178 affiliated wineries account for 80% by volume of California’s wine. This means that nearly 200 million bottles sold each year bear the sustainable logo.

california green medal

22% of wineries are also affiliated to other sustainable programs with some belonging to more than one program.

Green Medal in California, and Sustainability in Practise, Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) Certified and LODI Rules also offer alternative sustainability schemes reflecting particular attention to local environmental, social, and microclimates.

These schemes recognise issues such as:

How pesticides impact on both the ecosystems and humans

Worker’s welfare

Carbon neutral power and alternative energy sources

Encouraging the use of natural predators to control pests and disease.

The management of water. Whether dealing with lack of water, or the excess run off water and how that impacts local water quality in rivers and the sea.  Having clean water and a healthy ecosystem within the water networks surrounding the vineyard is a clear goal.

Useful websites to gain more information are , and

american wine sustainability logos


One organisation manages the sustainability program nationally in Australia. Sustainable Winegrowing Australia focusses on six key areas.

  • Land and Soil
  • Water
  • People and business
  • Biodiversity
  • Energy and lowering Greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Waste

sustainable winegrowing australia

Whether a winery or a vineyard the sustainable accreditation is only awarded after an independent audit from the Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice. Audits are then conducted every three years. What we like about the Australian programme is that part of the support package includes a comprehensive Training package for owners, winemakers and employees alike to help maintain momentum and improve standards.

Australia has 311 certified wineries and vineyards covering sixty thousand hectares of Vine.

Since 2005 winegrowers in McLaren Vale have their own Sustainability logo. The core objectives concentrate on the same six key areas as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, however membership also includes membership to the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA)

If you’d like to know more about sustainability in Australia click on this link

sustainable mclaren australia


At Templar Wines we have noticed that the old world has dragged its feet over the past 15 years. Particularly on the Organic, Sustainable agenda, but also on providing wines that are Vegan friendly. That said we have noticed an increase in Organics and Biodynamics in the last 5 years.

There appears to be competition in France over the label which accurately encapsulates “Sustainable”. We have found four in use currently. The official French Government guidelines fall under Haute Valeur Environnementale (HVE) and another organisation Terra Vitis. Both have their own trademark logo which should be displayed on the wine bottle.

Champagne has its own environmental body which uses the Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC) logo. Sustainable Winegrowing have their own Logo. Their unique selling point is that it includes both Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Regarding sustainability, France has been accused of having sustainable bodies, in which members have done very little to change their habits and practises. A case was raised by the online site Winesearcher in December 2022 which stated that the Comité Champagne (CIVC), which has its own sustainable program called Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC) distanced itself from its goal of “zero herbicides”, originally set for 2025, knowing that current production methods are unsustainable in the long term the CIVC has hit inertia.

vignerons engages

What is Haute Valeur Environnementale (HVE) Certification?

The HVE certification or, in English, High Environmental Value (HEV) is based on various environmental performance indicators covering the entire farm or vineyard. The HVE Logo can be affixed to the processed products of a farm or Vineyard if the products contain at least 95% of raw materials* from an HVE certified farm. Over 6700 producers are certified HVE, of which over 75% are wine estates.

HVE has three levels of classification:

HVE1 – The respect of essential environmental regulations and practices

HVE2 – The adoption of technical practices with low environmental impact

HVE3 –  This is official recognition of the environmental performance of vine growers. It is the highest level of environmental certification for all farms in France. Only products in the HVE3 category can display the official HVE logo.

The four key areas are:

  1. Biodiversity conservation. Encourages bio-diversity in order to provide a symbiotic network to the local ecosystem
  2. Plant protection strategy. Preserves soil life to maintain wildlife and fertility of the vineyards, promoting useful complementary fauna to improve soil and attract pollinators
  3. Managed fertilizer use
  4. The accountable management of water, wastewater, by-products and waste

Vineyard certification offers a guarantee that the potential disruption to the environment by farming practices on air, water, soil, climate, bio-diversity and the landscape is kept to a minimum.

What is Vignerons Engagés?

Vignerons Engagés translates from French to “Committed Winemakers” in English. It is a term used to describe a group of winegrowers who are committed to sustainable, organic, or biodynamic practices in the production of their wines. These winegrowers prioritize environmental stewardship, biodiversity, and often aim to minimize their impact on the land while producing high-quality wines.

Vignerons Engagés has adopted a modern, ambitious schedule of requirements, based on 4 pillars. More than a straightforward environmental certification, it promotes an entire philosophy of sustainability.

  1. Preserving the Environment
  2. Guaranteeing quality from Vine to the glass
  3. Supporting Regions and local heritage
  4. Offering a fair price to the consumer and the producer

These standards are independently assessed and audited by AFNOR the independent French standardisation association.

As of January 2024 membership covered 6000 winegrowers and employees, 8 wine growing regions and 31800 hectares.

You may see one of two logos. Either the Vinerons Engagés or Sustainable Winegrowing logos are valid.

vignerons engages logo Sustainable winegrowing logo

What is Terra Vitis Certification?

Terra Vitis was created in 1998 and is the stamp of French vine growers and winemakers who respect nature and apply sustainable agriculture. It now has over 1800 members and covers over 5% of French Vineyards by area.

The objectives are:

  • To respect the environment
  • To preserve our terroir
  • To safeguard our soils and respect its ecosystem
  • To promote biodiversity throughout the vineyard
  • To prevent soil compaction and work with the available mineral and organic resources from vineyards
  • To reduce the use of chemical in the vineyards (herbicides)
  • To meet consumer requirements
What is Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC)?

In Champagne, they launched their own sustainable wine growing certification in 2014 under the Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC) logo. This was the first French wine region to create its own sustainable label and certification requirements.

The new VDC certification is similar to the national HVE covering the same four key areas – The company as a whole is certified.

The sustainable objectives Champagne have set are as follows.

  • to reduce carbon footprint 75% by 2050
  • to totally eliminate the use of herbicide by 2025
  • the entire region to be fully environmentally certified by 2030.

Currently (2022) around 20% of champagne house are certified.

What is Agriculture Raisonnée?

You will also see French wineries describing their farming methods as Agriculture Raisonnée or precisely translated, “Reasoned Agriculture”. Our opinion of this is that whilst wineries may refer to Agriculture Raisonnée, it is worthy, but is an unregulated statement, unless backed up by a controlling body’s own sustainable logo.

United Kingdom

In the UK, specifically England and Wales, there is a National Professional Association for wine making under the guise of WineGB. In 2020, recognising that sustainability in the wine industry in the UK needed a single body to manage the agenda, WineGB set up Sustainable wines of Great Britain (SWGB). The goal of SWGB is that winegrowers and winemakers alike have a collective interest in ensuring the UK wine industry is sustainable.

WineGB offers a Carbon Calculator tool on its website for Winegrowers to enter their carbon emission details, which can then be used as a yardstick to measure progress.

SWGB focusses on 4 areas to improve sustainability. These go under the headings Reduce, Improve, Conserve and Optimise.


  1. Energy and water footprint in wine production
  2. Environmental impact of packaging
  3. The quantity of Vineyard and winery waste sent to landfill


  1. Winery design to reduce the impact on the environment
  2. Soil health in the Vineyard


  1. Promoting biodiversity in the Vineyard and the surrounding Ecosystem


  1. Vineyard canopy management and grape yields
  2. Minimising the use of pesticides

Wines produced sustainably under the SWGB accreditation display the SWGB logo.


Traditionally there were around 15 trade sustainability programs in Italy that wineries could belong to. In 2016 a new body was formed called Equalitas, which incorporated most of the 15 trade programs except the Federdoc and the Unione Italiana Vini (UIV).

Federdoc is the body that controls the appellations and Designation of Origins (DO) such as DOC, DOCG and IGT classifications and latterly since 2009 DOP and IGP. For the consumer the DO has been a quality / price indicator when choosing a wine, though it is not a 100% guarantee. For example, many of the Super Tuscans display the IGT or IGP classification yet you would probably pay less for a DOCG Chianti. At the time of writing we could not find much evidence that Federdoc is linked specifically with sustainability.

The Unione Italiana Vini (UIV)is a large body which boasts 150,000 wine growers over 50% of Italy’s wine by volume. It provides services, such as Laboratory testing, Advice, Financing and events. Again whilst assisting in wine quality, we couldn’t also make a direct link to sustainability.

We feel the way forward and the best sustainability indicator in Italy is the Equalitas Logo. Their aim is to have an equal approach to wine Sustainability in Italy. They cover three key areas for accreditation, which each have a separate logo.

  1. Sustainable Wineries
  2. Sustainable Wine
  3. Sustainable Wine Territory (Vineyards)

equalatis territoryequalatis wineequalatis winery

For members there is a solid application process, Assessment and audit.

The three pillars of their Sustainability is split into Environmental, Social and Economic factors. These three areas overlap so the measures integrate towards attaining a higher level of sustainability for the whole wine industry.

Reading the Equalitas website they  have a goal of not only being the acceptable standard for assessing wine sustainability in Italy, but also rolling that standard to other wine producing nations in the same way Ecocert has been adapted as the European standard for Organic wines.

You can find out more about Equalitas here:

Another sustainability accreditation is SQNPI (Sistema Qualità Nazionale Produzione Integrata) . It is an Italian certification system for Integrated Production, which is a method of agriculture that aims to reduce the use of synthetic chemicals in crops while promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

The SQNPI certification guarantees that the food or agricultural products have been produced using Integrated Production methods, which prioritize the use of natural and biological resources over synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers.

The certification is granted by accredited certification bodies in Italy and covers various types of agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, and animal products. The certification process involves rigorous inspections, monitoring, and testing to ensure compliance with the strict SQNPI guidelines. The quality system is recognised at European level (Reg. EC 1974/2006). The SQNPI logo for “Sustainable Quality” is represented by a bee, which can be displayed on the bottle

Overall, the SQNPI certification system promotes sustainable agriculture, reduces the environmental impact of farming, and guarantees the safety and quality of agricultural products for consumers.



We have found three worthy indicators of German Sustainable wine. Namely Fair ‘n Green, Fairchoice/DINE and EcoStep Wein.

Fair ‘n Green was founded in Bonn in 2013. Its aim is to provide a framework of over 150 measures, to assist winegrowers achieving a sustainable level of viticulture. Certification involves clear assessment, target setting and audit by the independent body GUTcert Gmbh. Once accredited, a winery must improve its improvement of sustainability by 3% annually. Similar to Equalitas in Italy, Fair ‘n Green is also recognised in other wine producing countries such as Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Wines can display the Fair ‘n Green logo.

fair and green germany

The FairChoice organisation was set up by the Deutches Institut fur Nachhaltige Entwicklung (DINE) This translates to the German Institute for Sustainable Development.

Qualifying wines can be identified by the DINE logo. Wineries must achieve 44 criteria from the areas of Ecology, the Economy and social issues. Wineries sign up to adhere to the FairChoice Charter, which in turn forms part of the winery’s ethos.

DINE logo

EcoStep Wein is a relative newcomer to the group having been recognised as a certificate provider since 2021. Again, it focusses on Ecology, Economy and the Social aspects of the wine industry. Small and micro businesses can receive support of up to 3,000 euros if they undergo operational sustainability certification with EcoStep wine.

ecostep wein


The Iberian weather means that much of Spain and Portugal enjoy a high level of hot dry weather, so many wineries opt for full Organic status rather than sustainable. The Climate of Spain and indeed Europe’s largest wine growing area is La Mancha. Meaning “Parched earth” in ancient Moors language, La Mancha enjoys extremely hot dry Summers and very cold Winters resulting in viticulture that has virtually no vine disease and very little need for expensive chemical spraying.

It is no surprise indeed that La Mancha has the largest number of Organic wineries in Europe. Over 10% of the agriculture in the whole country is Organic. Wine region DO Penedes  currently produces over 60% of wine organically and they have stated that 100% of wine carrying the Penedes DO from 2025 must contain Organically grown grapes.

It is for these reasons we recommend that you seek out Organic status in Spain as evidence of sustainability. Spanish organic wines display the Ecocert Logo. That said, sustainable organisations such as Equalitas and Fair ‘n Green have members in Spain and some wineries are members of more than one body.


Portugal has the hottest winegrowing region in Europe. Namely Alentejo. It is probably the most affected region by climate change with water becoming a major issue throughout the growing season.

In 2022 Alentejo Regional Wine Growing Commission announced the creation of Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Program (WASP) Portugal. Its premise adopts the familiar 3 pillars of sustainability of Economy, Ecology and Social factors. There are 174 specific criteria contained in the Accreditation and wineries must achieve a 86% pass rate on these.  There is an independent verification conducted by one of these four authorities, Bureau Veritas, Certis, Kiwa Sativa, and SGS.

Being a new accreditation, they have a limited number of certified producers, but many more are members (not certified) of the scheme, so we expect these certified producers to grow. It was good to see that famous producer Esporão SA was accredited in December 2022. Esporão SA are the thirteenth winery able to display the WASP logo

Again, like Spain, you are more likely to find the Ecocert Organic logo as a guide to sustainability.

alentejo sustainable logo portugal

Biodynamic Vineyard

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