The International Green Awards were recently held in London and only one wine company made the short list. The most sustainable medium business award was won hands-down by the Yealands Estate Winery in New Zealand. The CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers was pleased at the great endorsement of his country’s sustainable winemaking standards. From the company’s outset, they went about using their limited resources in a smart way, so as to guarantee that there will always be an income producing supply. Their vision, which they still hold to today, began at the vine and ended once the wine was in the bottle.
How do they do it?
Typically, wine production is an energy intensive business, but Yealands Estates mixes innovative technology with old fashioned farming methods that make its winery three times more energy efficient than the New Zealand standard. New Zealand’s Winegrowers came up with the idea for the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme to support best practice for using water, consuming energy, managing waste and for biodiversity. Yealands Estate vineyards adhere to those practices by using both solar and wind power and are building a large wind turbine that will allow them to be self-sufficient. They also use miniature Babydoll sheep that they bring in year round to graze the vineyards. The naturally grazed vineyards eliminate the need for harsh weed control and mowing. In addition, the vines are kept healthy with more than 10,000 tonnes of homemade compost, which is produced from leftover grape skins, stalks and pips. Rumour has it that the vines also enjoy classical music piped into them through digital speakers. Along with their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the vineyard achieves carboNZero certification.
What about the Wine?
The Winery offers an extensive selection of award-winning wines starting with the Filter Yealands Estate Single Block Series, with a Sauvignon Bland or Pino Noir to choose from, through the Yealands Way series that includes a Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinto Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Other varieties include the Filter Violet grouping of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris or the Filter Full Circle edition of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.