Handpicked Wines achieves certification for sustainable winegrowing

Handpicked Wines Highbow Hill Vineyard in the Yarra Valley. Image Handpicked Wines

From Tasmania to the Barossa Valley, Handpicked Wines has taken a step forward for sustainability, having officially achieved Certified Member status for all six of its vineyards with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.

In Victoria, Handpicked’s Capella Vineyard and Capella Winery in the Mornington Peninsula have achieved not only Certified Member status with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia but also Organic Certification from the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA), making Capella the first and only site in the state to achieve both certifications.

This is also true for the brand’s vineyards in the Tamar Valley – Native Point Vineyard and Auburn Road Vineyard – which have become the first and only in Tasmania to have achieved both Sustainable Winegrowing Australia and NASAA certifications.

Rounding out the Certified Member achievements for Handpicked Wines’ estates are the Highbow Hill and Wombat Creek Vineyards in the Yarra Valley and the Watunga Road Vineyard in the Barossa Valley.

The certified status update follows an intensive review of Handpicked Wines’ practices in the vineyards and Mornington Peninsula-based winery, with electricity use and biodiversity across its 82.8 hectares under vine being a key focus on the company’s sustainability journey.

Achieving the status allows sustainability-conscious consumers to be aware of and support growers and makers committed to producing wine that will reduce environmental impact and protect people and communities across Australia.

“Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is a program to support continuous improvement, and receiving this Certification only marks the start of our journey – one that tells a story of long-term commitment and our dedication to improving our performance year on year,” Handpicked Wines’ chief winemaker Peter Dillon said.

“Achieving this status shows we’re not just talking the talk, but walking the walk in becoming a sustainable business. Being a member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia allows us to benchmark our performance across our sites and multiple regions and set company goals to improve every year.”

Handpicked Wines’ spiritual home in the Mornington Peninsula, Capella Vineyard, has long been an incubator site for innovative sustainability practices, according to Handpicked Wines winemaker Rohan Smith.

“We’re excited to be setting the pace for sustainability in the Mornington Peninsula with these important certifications. We also know that we play a significant role in collaborating with other wineries to work more sustainably as a region,” Smith said.

“There’s also some incredible synergies across our various sites as we continue to test and learn from new sustainability developments.

“At Capella Vineyard, our vines are teeming with life following our extensive work with inter-row crop covers like snow peas, radish or crimson clover for weed control, which reduces the need for herbicides. We’re also creating ‘insectariums’ on site, which provide a food source for beneficial insects to prey on pests that would wreak havoc in the vineyard.

“Much of this work in organic farming is now practised across our other sites, and it is paying off in the growing quality of our wines. At Wombat Creek Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, Indian ducks have been introduced for snail control instead of pesticides.

“From an energy perspective, our Tasmanian sites draw a lot of their energy consumption from solar, and now that we know how that works in best practice, we’ll roll that out to our other sites over time.”


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