Growing and making wine sustainably is a holistic approach to production that evolves the environmental aspect of the craft. It looks at how we can better use energy and water to create efficiency, support regions and communities, and establish a business that is resilient and thriving.
What is Sustainable Wine Growing Australia?
Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is Australia’s national program for grape growers and winemakers to demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainable practices in the vineyard and winery through the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses. The voluntary program takes a holistic approach to managing, supporting, and promoting sustainability and is modelled on global best practices and aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with progress towards these monitored annually. This program is an obvious extension of the natural environmental advantage of Margaret River as one of the world’s most pristine fine wine producing regions and complements the Association’s ongoing sustainability work. Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is a collaboration between The Australian Wine Research Institute, Wine Australia and Australian Grape & Wine.
As one of the first Margaret River wineries to become officially accredited with the SWA certification (2011), our commitment to sustainability predates our membership. To us, the health of our vines, soil and intimate knowledge of the region and land surrounding us, truly represents what sustainable longevity is. This knowledge and commitment allows us to continuously look ahead and uncover new initiatives to further improve our business practices for the long haul. Our current initiatives include:
Our initiatives include:
VITICULTURE + BIODIVERSITY
SOIL + COMPOST
- Cover crops – site specific targeting different species to improve soil aeration and structure, increased organic matter for the soil, legumes inoculated with Nitrogen fixing bacteria to feed the soil and vines
- Compost – use of grape marc mixed with hay and other organic products to build a rich compost which is broadcast across our vineyards
- Self-sufficiency utilising our dams on the property
- Irrigate using Crop Factors matched against weekly evaporation data
- Sheep grazing to control weeds and minimise tractor /herbicide requirements within the vineyard (saving on diesel use and overuse of herbicides)
- Site selected cover crops to ensure strong mid row growth that is crimp rolled at the end of the season, providing a weed mat to manage summer weeds, keeping soil temperatures stable, higher soil moisture and to reduce CO2 loss during heat waves (ie limited exposed soils)
BIODIVERSITY + BIOSECURITY
- Cover crops – extended flowering season to encourage insects into our vineyards
- Controlling access into our vineyards, using foot baths and managing the risk of pests and diseases
- Purchasing of our own equipment to minimise the requirement for contractors
- Pulling virus-affected vines and replacing with clean source material
CHEMICAL AND SYNTHETIC FERTILISER USE
- Targeting our sprays to growth and weather events reducing the number of chemicals and more importantly, the type of chemicals used, therefore softer on our insects within the vineyard
- Incorporating more natural based fertilisers and removing synthetic fertilisers
WATER + WASTE MANAGEMENT
- Collection of 3M litres of rainwater each year for winery use
- Treating all winery wastewater aeratively with microbes then irrigate treated water to native woodlot.
- Utilising preferred suppliers whom have environmentally friendly packaging (i.e. Boutes barrels have biodegradable cellulose wrapping for transport from France)
ENERGY AND FUEL CONSUMPTION
- 100 KW Solar system installed in 2021, reducing energy consumption by 25% annually
- Efficient trane chiller. Reducing energy consumption of refrigeration plant
- Configuring usage of refrigeration plant to on/off peak to reduce power consumption
- Installation of energy efficient LED lighting through the winery
- High pressure / low volume cleaning equipment
PACKAGING AND RECYCLING
- The very first Margaret River winery to use the SWA Trust mark on our wine labels
- Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation membership since 2011
- Procurement of all dry goods (glass, cartons, dividers, caps, pallets and labels) within the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines
- 100% recyclable products to consumers and use of recycled products across packaging where available
- Developing closed loop relationships with suppliers and local businesses, ensuring responsible reuse or recycling
- Bottling wines closer to distribution point to reduce carbon footprint
Our sustainability involvement not only is implemented within our vineyards and winery, but extends beyond the gates of Xanadu, into the heart of our Margaret River community. Our ongoing membership with the Western Australian Cape to Cape track has allowed us to ‘adopt’ a section of this well-known walking trail. Our involvement includes pruning, erosion control, bush rehabilitation, litter collection and upkeep of our adopted section, adding richness to those whom walk it daily from far and wide. Alongside our local rehabilitation efforts, Boodjidup Road sees an annual companywide clean up, maintaining our beloved strip of Margaret River, tidy and free of landfill for all to enjoy.
Committed to the biodiversity of our land, our focus additionally lies within the Boodjidup Brook Water Catchment, a 15km long stream, with its small tributaries totaling another 40kms. Home to a vast ecosystem of small fish, insects and wildlife, the Western Minnow particularly holds a special place, with numbers in decline in some salinised systems of the brook. Our conservation efforts allow us to maintain tree cover and provide stock exclusion fencing, leaving the stream in its untouched, natural state, and providing a better future for the wildlife within the brook’s ecosystem. Revegetation efforts around the Margert River mouth have also played a substantial role in the contribution to our region’s conservation program. Focusing on the degraded areas at the mouth foreshore, our team have volunteered through weed removal, spreading brushing and planting to help control access, prevent trampling and vegetation loss, stabilise the dunes and improve biodiversity.
*Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is a collaboration between The Australian Wine Research Institute, Wine Australia and Australian Grape & Wine.