Recap: Sustainability in the Wine Industry, held on 30th April at Australia House

Hosted by Wine Australia at Australia House, on 30th April Women in Wine LDN held an engaging panel discussion on an important theme - 'Sustainability in the Wine Industry - Approaches to Safeguarding our Future'. Three speakers were selected, based on the trailblazing work their companies are doing in this area:

Emma Campbell, Marketing Manager, Lanchester Wines
Sarah Midgley, Winemaking Instructor and Winemaker, Plumpton College
Verity Milns, Corporate Communications Manager, Liberty Wines
Emma presented on Lanchester Wine's maverick green energy initiatives including the use of extensive solar panels, heat from winemaking processes and wind turbines. Their intense focus on being carbon neutral in their winery and bottling line is particularly admirable, given how resource heavy these sectors of the wine industry are. She also discussed the importance of both industry and consumer awareness of these activities, especially as an understanding of wine logistics is quite low.

Sarah then discussed the sustainability work that she has been doing with Plumpton, primarily with creating quality control processes that incorporate sustainable winemaking practices. She talked about the importance doing things one step at a time and continually reassessing impacts. Sarah spoke about trying to establish green standards in the UK wine industry and of Plumpton in instilling this focus for students. She reflected that 'sustainable wine needs to be economically sustainable' for long term change to take place, as without consumers purchasing sustainably made wine, there is little incentive for producers to be more green.

Verity talked about the sustainability initiatives at Liberty Wines. Firstly, the company has become carbon neutral, and focussed on looking at how to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation of wine. This entails looking at how to move wine across orders using rail and consolidating shipments as much as possible. She then spoke about what Liberty's London office is doing to make a difference in reducing waste - composting, office-wide recycling, paper reduction in printing and having an Environmental Committee that prioritises green initiatives. With her marketing focus, she also reflected on the challenges in highlighting sustainable wines from a promotion point of view.

The speakers certainly inspired the audience to think about how we can all be more environmentally aware, as individuals and as wine companies.

Thank you very much to Wine Australia for hosting us and sponsoring the wine. Thank you to Kirsty Savory for helping organise the event!