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A couple of weeks ago we talked about the mad weather and how winemakers in Europe have been affected by climate change over the last couple of decades. Well, the weather hasn’t got any more predictable – so we’re back here again!


On the other side of the globe, in New South Wales, Australia, they’ve been experiencing an extended 26-month period of drought – the longest and driest period on record. For a winegrowing area of Australia that is notoriously hot and relies on high humidity and substantial rainfall during the growing season to offset the heat – long droughts clearly aren’t great news.

“Viticulture and winemaking are inherently linked to the land and the climate, so we have a deep connection to the natural world that we live and work in,” says Alisdair Tulloch, one of our great agency partners out in the Hunter Valley.

Keith Tulloch Wine

Alisdair’s father founded Keith Tulloch Wine back in 1998. Drawing on all his viticultural experience of having learned from his father and his vintages with the great producers of the Rhône valley – an area going through its own challenges at the moment – Keith Tulloch’s focus has been adding to the legacy of the great Hunter Shiraz wines of the 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as championing ‘ripper’ Hunter Semillon.

So what happens when you take an outstanding winemaker and throw undeniable climate challenges their way? In the case of Keith Tulloch Wines, they take things into their own hands and try to make a difference.

“Climate change is affecting us now – by drinking wine that is carbon neutral people can take climate action while still enjoying the finer things in life, guilt-free.”

The zeitgeist of consumers calling for more sustainably-made products is a reality of the marketplace and a damn good reason to consider adding sustainable products into your wine programme, but it isn’t the reason Keith Tulloch has decided to become the Hunter Valley’s first carbon-neutral winery. They see it as in their own interest to do this, and of course it is! Climate affects agriculture in so many ways – there’s no getting away from it. Wine is an agricultural product like any other, and there’s no getting away from that either.

Doing their part

So, taking a holistic view of their entire operation, the team at Keith Tulloch wine have done a full audit of their operation and are delighted to become Australia’s second only carbon-neutral winery: “This is important because the product certification includes the entire life cycle – the carbon pollution produced by the production of the bottle and cap, of the labels, boxes, transport, growing the grapes, making the wine and everything in between has been measured, audited and offset,*” Keith said.

The question of climate change is far bigger than any of us, but as more and more wineries start to follow Keith Tulloch’s example and attempt to lessen their negative impact on the environment, they are so beholden to, the industry can make small steps and do our bit.

Here’s the look at the practical steps Keith Tulloch Wine is taking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions:

 

          • Purchase of a 65kw solar array, providing a vast majority of our power needs
          • Changing our waste mix to maximise paper, cardboard, aluminium and plastic recycling
          • Changing single-use plastics to biodegradable or recyclable alternatives
          • Installing efficient plumbed CO2 lines for wine storage, minimising CO2 waste
          • Purchase of an electric forklift to be charged with solar power, reducing LPG use
          • New winery and irrigation processes and fittings to make water use more efficient
          • Using only organic fertiliser in the vineyard, recycling chicken manure and avoiding chemical fertilisers
          • Growing Winter cover crops in the vineyard midrows that fix nitrogen and carbon in the soil
          • Tracking & reporting sustainability metrics through the Australian Wine Research Institute’s ENTWINE program.

*in situations where carbon emissions can’t be avoided – like in the use of tractors for example – Keith Tulloch Wine invests in certified carbon offset projects to counteract whatever influence they are having on the environment.