Is a wine after dusk not incredible? A well-vintaged cabernet sauvignon unwinds the tension after a 9-5 and unfolds a rich harmony of flavours onto the palate. The red volcanic clay, the Hunter Valley climate, you can taste it all. I have Margan Wines to thank for tonight.
They say good things must come to an end, but with the acceleration of global warming, good wine may come to an end much sooner. Grapes are sensitive to climate change. Potential increases in average temperatures can quicken ripening and disrupt harvest timings, affecting the grapes' balance of sugars, acids, and phenolic compounds. As such, wine quality and flavour profiles may be negatively impacted.
Winemakers like Margan form the backbone of an industry that contributes over $45 billion to the Australian economy annually and utilises an estimated 146,244 hectares of land for vineyards. Consequently, the wine industry has become increasingly focused on embracing environmental sustainability and adopting innovative practices. This article will explore the efforts of wineries throughout Australia to improve their sustainability, focusing on award-winning winemakers Margan and Taylors Wines, headquartered in the Hunter Valley and Clare Valley regions, respectively.
1. Sustainable Vineyard Practices:
Vineyards are at the heart of the wine industry's environmental impact, and sustainable viticulture practices have gained significant attention. Wineries such as Margan and Taylors have shifted to innovative vineyard management strategies like utilising drought-resistant grape varieties such as Barbera and Albaraino, introducing sheep to eradicate weeds, and the use of cover crops to promote biodiversity and reduce erosion.
2. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:
The wine industry is also embracing energy-efficient practices and is transitioning towards renewable energy sources. Margan and Taylors have invested in solar energy systems to power their operations and sought more efficient refrigeration plants. Over the long term, carbon emissions should be cut drastically, simultaneously improving the cost-efficiency of their operations.
3. Water Conservation and Management:
In a similar vein, water-use efficiency is at the forefront of the wine industry's concerns. Margan and Taylors have implemented more water-efficient practices such as mulching and wastewater recycling facilities. These measures help conserve natural ecosystems, resulting in healthier soils and reduced weed growth.
4. Packaging Innovations:
Due to heavy glass bottles and excessive packaging materials, wine packaging has traditionally posed sustainability challenges. However, the industry is increasingly adopting eco-friendly alternatives. Margan and Taylors have endeavoured to reduce the weight of their wine bottles and implement packaging materials made from recycled and recyclable materials. Such initiatives minimise waste and carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.
5. Community Engagement and Certification:
Engaging with local communities and obtaining sustainability certifications are essential for demonstrating a winery's commitment to environmental stewardship. Margan and Taylors have engaged with their communities through education programs, sponsorships, and collaborations. For their environmental management systems, the winemakers have achieved sustainability certifications with respect to the ISO 14000 series, further validating their sustainable practices.
The wine industry is taking significant steps to improve its environmental sustainability, recognising the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations. Margan and Taylors exemplify this commitment through their sustainable vineyard practices, energy efficiency measures, water conservation efforts, packaging innovations, and community engagement. By implementing these sustainable practices and serving as role models, the wine industry is on the path to a greener and more sustainable future.