Sustainable winegrowing certifications triple in the Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Hills vineyard. Photo: John Kruger

Nepenthe has become the second winery in the Adelaide Hills to achieve ‘B Corp’ certification, an international accreditation that measures the impact of a company’s environmental and social performance. Adelaide Hills Wine Region president Alex Trescowthick said this is reflective of the region’s sustainability progress, with the number of Adelaide Hills Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) members to achieve SWA certification tripling from 14% in 2021/22 to 48% in 2022/23.

Along with Unico Zelo, Nepenthe became one of two Adelaide Hills wine companies with B Corp certification in February, joining only a handful of wine companies in Australia with the certification.

“Building sustainability into our region’s culture is one of our strategic objectives,” said Alex Trescowthick, president of Adelaide Hills Wine Region.

“In 2023 we saw three-fold growth in the number of Adelaide Hills’ members gaining Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certification.”

“Like Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, B Corp standards go beyond the environment to include social and community responsibility. We acknowledge Unico Zelo who has been an innovator in this space, having been a B Corp for four years. We now congratulate the team at Nepenthe on their newly achieved status. It’s exciting to see another certified B Corp in the Adelaide Hills wine region.”

B Corp, which stands for Benefit for All Corporation, aims to change global culture to a better economic system in which ‘for-profit’ businesses yield benefits to people, communities, and the planet. The certification is international and involves a rigorous assessment against a set of strict impact areas.

Laura Carter, co-owner of Unico Zelo wines, explained that achieving the accreditation was a challenging process.

“B Corp broadened our understanding of sustainability to consider the impacts of our business on workers and community too. Along with improvements to staff leave policies, we donate 1% of our revenue to charities and community groups. To us, it is important that our Unico business is not only successful, but also contributes positively to the people who work for us, with us, and the world around us.”

Nepenthe winemaker James Evers said the company was “immensely proud” of its new B Corp status.

“The certification is a reflection of the sustainable, inclusive, and industry-leading practices that are at the heart of our company. By the end of 2024 we will be powered by 100% renewable energy, plus, we have a responsible enjoyment partnership with DrinkWise, a rewarding employee benefits program, increase in female leadership and an inclusive achievement-based team culture.

“This achievement demonstrates the work we have done, and continue to do, with our long-standing growers and our Adelaide Hills vineyards to improve soil, water use, and biodiversity, and a commitment to source from Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certified vineyards.”

The growth of SWA certified vineyards in the Adelaide Hills has escalated rapidly in the last year from 7 in 2021/22 to 39 by 2022/23. The proportion Adelaide Hills members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia who have achieved certification under the program grew threefold from 14% in 2021/22 to 48% in 2022/23.

“It’s clear that, as a region, we are making timely progress on our sustainability objectives,” Trescowthick said.

“Acknowledging the contribution of the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certified growers to Nepenthe’s B Corp certification rewards the efforts of many people across the Adelaide Hills to aim towards a better future for all.”

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