International wine business forms group to develop global sustainability standards
North Coast wine companies and related organizations are among the 40 founding members of the newly launched international Sustainable Wine Roundtable.
It’s described as a coalition of brand portfolios, small producers, distributors, retailers, environmental organizations with the goal of defining and then moving the industry forward in the area of sustainability. Hosted by Sustainable Wine Ltd., the group seeks to adapt local sustainability standards into a global reference for what sustainability means for the industry and how it is implemented and measured the vineyard and winery.
The stated intent is to help retailers and consumers sort out the various eco-labels and claims.
To do that, the group plans to convene working groups to develop best practices and tools on substantive sustainability issues.
This announcement comes about a month after Santa Rosa-based Jackson Family Wines unveiled a strategic plan to halve its carbon footprint by 2030 and become “carbon positive” — pull more out of the atmosphere than are emitted — by 2050. The company also called on large wine companies to also take aggressive action to address the dire predictions that came from the latest International Panel on Climate Change.
Jackson is participating in the roundtable as part of founding member International Wineries for Climate Action. Jackson and Spanish wine group Familia Torres started that organization in 2019, and now it has several members, including Silver Oak Cellars and Spottswoode Estate both from the North Coast.
Other founding members of the roundtable with North Coast ties are Vintage Wine Estates, Fetzer producer Concha y Toro of Chile, Treasury Wine Estates, Ste. Michelle Estates, Amorim Cork, Whole Foods Market and third-party certification programs Napa Green and Fish Friendly Farming. Fetzer announced a carbon-positive plan late last year.
Santa Rosa-based Vintage produces over 50 brands from Napa, Sonoma, California's Central Coast, Oregon and Washington and is one of the top 15 largest wine producers in the U.S.
Erica Landin-Lofving, chief sustainability officer for Vintage, said the roundtable will help define sustainability goals and work to educate consumers. Wine growers in Napa and Sonoma Counties have long-established programs to highlight their efforts to grow and produce with in ways mindful of the impact on the environment. Research shows some age groups of wine-buying public lean toward companies offering examples of its sustainability efforts.
"At the SWR, our industry is coming together to define what constitutes truly sustainable wine production, covering the whole chain from the vineyard to the consumer. In collaboration with our global peers, VWE is looking forward to developing clear, science-based targets and transparent ways to communicate with consumers," said Landin-Lofving.
Other founding members of the roundtable are Ahold Delhaize, Alko, Alliance Wine, Amfori, BLB Vignobles, British Glass, BSI, Catena Institute of Wine, Château Léoube, CIVB, Cloudy Bay, Diversity in Food and Beverage, Domaine Bousquet, Dr. Loosen, Enotria&Coe, Equalitas, Famille Perrin, Food Alliance, Grupo Avinea, Hochschule Geisenheim University, JancisRobinson.com, Journey’s End Vineyards, Lidl GB, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, North South Wines, Preferred by Nature, Ramón Bilbao, Schenk Group, Sustainable Agriculture Network, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia, Systembolaget, The Co-op UK, The Fairtrade Foundation, The Porto Protocol, The Wine Society, Vingruppen, Waitrose & Partners, Whole Foods Market, Wines of South Africa and WWF South Africa.
The roundtable plans to add new members next year.