In 2019, following more than a decade of development, education and implementation, the McLaren Vale-born Sustainable Australia Winegrowing (SAW) program was adopted as part of a single national sustainability program for Australian wine and viticulture.
Now known as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) – and managed and administered by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) with support from Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) and Wine Australia – the new program has completed its second full growing season with regional results reported to participating members across the nation.
McLaren Vale’s 2019/2020 growing season results were presented to program members at Kay Brothers Winery with aggregated and anonymised data reporting viticultural operations for 119 members across 115 vineyards sites (representing 3945 vineyard hectares).
Kay Brothers Wines director and third generation winemaker Colin Kay notes the evolution of sustainability in the region’s viticultural vocabulary.
“As one of the older members of the McLaren Vale wine family, it has been exciting to see how the sustainability initiative has developed over the years and how much it is now being accepted by the wider wine community,” said Kay.
“Leaving the land in a better condition than we found it is what we all want to do, and the SWA system is a great way for us all to learn new techniques and new ways of thinking. It is a credit to everyone involved.”
Dr Mardi Longbottom, manager – sustainability & viticulture at the AWRI, presented a detailed technical summary of the region’s results, noting that soil nutrient analysis, integrated pest management, agrochemical application and water management were some of the region’s strongest performing areas within the program.
“Support for Sustainable Winegrowing Australia from the growers and wine producers of McLaren Vale continues to grow, reflected in both increased participation in the program and consistently high standards of sustainable practices. It was particularly pleasing to see an increase in the number of certified members in the region,” noted Dr Longbottom.
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