Hither & Yon has become South Australia’s first carbon neutral certified wine brand, achieving the status with Australian Government program Climate Active.

The McLaren Vale winery received the certification on February 1, 2021, when its product range and business operations met the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard for Organisation and Product requirements.

Hither & Yon Director Malcolm Leask, who started the wine brand with brother Richard in 2011, said the business has always strived to make positive changes for the environment in line with the family motto ‘by virtue, I grow.’

“We started seeing the benefits from an environment, product and people perspective with our sustainable practices,” Leask told National Liquor News.

“For us, we’re always looking for that extra step and extra focus. And that’s where carbon neutral came in for us. Sustainability is where we started but that’s really just part of a longer journey.”

There are only two other Climate Active certified wineries in Australia, Keith Tulloch Wine located in the Hunter Valley and Ross Hill Wines located in Orange. However, Leask said the industry is on the right track with sustainability, with a growing trend of winemakers country-wide employing a range of sustainable techniques.

“Working towards becoming carbon neutral has been McLaren Vale growers’ real principle for a number of years and certainly for the future’s sustainability. A good percentage of the region’s growers have signed up to sustainable wine growing now. And most are going to be certified as well,” he said.

“I think we’re making small steps as a nation. It’s difficult for the whole Australian wine industry to think about what’s best for them in terms of environmental practice but certainly at McLaren Vale we’ve moved beyond the small step stage and have a real community, and collaborative approach towards sustainability. People take their own approach to it, whether it’s organic, carbon neutral or bio dynamic.

“Australia has the opportunity to be regarded as the greenest wine producing nation in the world because we have the natural environment for us to be able to promote that.”

Leask said while the winery didn’t set set out on the carbon neutral journey for attention or for improved sales, it has had a positive impact on the business after the unexpected outpouring of support for the certification. With Hither & Yon reaching a decade of operations this year, it’s an important achievement and one the team believes aligns with current consumer trends.

“We’re certainly seeing a trend of consumers wanting products that are better for them and have a better sense of what’s good for the environment. I think stories have become really important in wine, consumers are looking for traceability back to a farmer or real producer. And I think there’s a trust mark that goes with good environmental practices as well,” he said.

“I think for retailers, they’re always looking for ways of giving the consumer confidence, that this is a healthy product and I think that’s what the certified standard mark will give people. I think it’s a trend that will only continue in the future.”

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