Wine Tasmania has released its sustainability report for the 2022/23 season and has recognised two wineries for their exemplary sustainable practices over this period.

The report has been compiled through the voluntary VinØ (‘vin zero’) program, which is a framework that assists Tasmanian wine producers to reduce the negative impacts of winemaking on the environment and local communities.

Paul Smart, Wine Tasmania’s Viticulture & Winemaking Officer, detailed some of the findings from the report.

“The VinØ Program covers all aspects of vineyard and winery management, such as soil health, biodiversity, carbon emissions, waste and water management, biosecurity, social and human resources. In 2023, practices across biodiversity, carbon emissions, waste management, pest and disease management and biosecurity all saw improvements. Biodiversity will remain a key focus area for 2024, as well as winery practices and one-on-one support for program members,” he said.

Over this season, 41 per cent of Tasmania’s vineyard area was managed under the VinØ program, with 20 per cent of VinØ members also completing external certification through organisations such as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia and Australian Certified Organic. To measure progress towards sustainable initiatives, VinØ member wineries have been marked on a scale of one to four, with four representing best industry practice. The 2023 report revealed that the average member score is 2.30, up from 2.23 last year. In addition, 65 per cent of members are marked two or above. Pest and disease management was the most sustainable aspect among VinØ members, with an average score of 2.83.

Alongside the release of the report, Smart announced the two VinØ Program awards for 2023, with Stargazer Wines in the Coal River Valley receiving the 2023 VinØ Program Champion, and Westella Vineyard in the Tamar Valley being awarded the 2023 VinØ Program Most Improved Producer.

In accepting the award on behalf of Stargazer, Bryn Williams said:

“We are thrilled to receive the VinØ Program Champion award this year. It goes to show how large an impact small incremental change can have on a business. It’s been very valuable for Stargazer to assess its own procedures through the VinØ framework. There is always room for improvement and reflection and our business will evolve as the VinØ Program continues to develop and expand in the future.”

Jacquie Adkins of Westella Vineyard said:

“After joining VinØ, we quickly realised the value of the program’s organisational framework. VinØ has become an essential tool for Westella as we strive for continuous improvement and identify areas of our vineyard operations that require focus. Winning the award was a welcome recognition of the planning, paperwork, and physical effort that goes into developing a vineyard and achieving high quality fruit.”

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