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Pyrenees plans for sustainable future

The Pyrenees Grape Growers and Winemakers (PGW) has recently completed collating a database for regional environmental best practice as its next step in the region’s program for a sustainable future.

The database, which was initiated several years ago in response to the need for planning a sustainable future while also meeting the needs of the daily vineyard requirements, outlines where the Pyrenees grapegrowers and winemakers are in regards to environmental best practice in the vineyard and winery.

The database is based on a survey which looked at the region’s practices, from how much and how often sprays are used, the use of mulch and organic methods in the vineyard to wineries’ packaging, wastewater and use of ‘green’ power.

From the survey results, guidelines will be established to allow participating vineyards and wineries to set goals for the future for their individual properties. The PGW is working with the Victorian Wine Industry Association to implement the program, and hopes to receive a grant to develop workshops plus employ someone to drive the program.

“We want to make people aware of what the region is doing, not for marketing purposes but because we are serious about implementing sustainability and functioning under best practice management,” Pyrenees Grape Growers and Winemakers’ viticulture subcommittee chairman, Allen Hart said.

“Given the drought, we are looking at maximising irrigation techniques, increasing the use of mulch and introducing alternative power. I believe we need to change our mindset to ensure the industry’s long-term future in the face of climate change.”

Blue Pyrenees Estate viticulturist, Sean Howe, says the plan will provide a good structure for future decisions in the vineyard, and define a framework on how a region should be operating in order to classify as ‘sustainable’.

“We have a gut feeling here in the Pyrenees that we are pretty sustainable. Due to our generous climate we don’t have a lot of issues in the vineyard resulting in fewer pesticides used. Having a benchmark on what is sustainable is something the growers and winemakers can all work towards to improve vineyard practices and the quality of wines.

“The plan will be especially beneficial to smaller operators as it will give them a chance to have access to information-sharing with others in the region,” Howe said.

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