Features

Wines of Chile - Sustainability Program

11 July 2011
ITC News

Under the umbrella of Vinos de Chile, the Chilean wine industry identified the need to strengthen the sustainability of the country’s wine sector. In May 2010, the association’s technical branch, Consorcios del Vino, launched the Wines of Chile Sustainability Program to help strengthen and maintain the industry’s competitiveness over time and enhance its image among national and international consumers alike.

The programme includes establishing a national sustainability code, accompanied by a series of specific projects to address key areas of sustainability, which in the wine industry are understood to be the convergence of production processes that are environmentally friendly, socially equitable and economically viable. The code establishes an instrument for measuring the sustainability of different practices throughout the value chain of wine production.

Coordinated by the Consorcios del Vino (Vinnova-TecnoVid) and implemented by professionals and experts from Talca University, the project is being carried out in two stages. The first will validate the code of sustainable practices, formulate a final code and launch a web platform. The second stage will implement the code and make the accreditation system available to wineries.

The primary goal is to create a national code of sustainable practices and a system that will enable wineries to obtain accreditation and demonstrate the advances they have made towards sustainability to local and international communities. The programme aims to impact the industry through:

  • More sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices;
  • Protecting of the ecosystem; and
  • Strengthening the image of Chilean wines with respect to sustainability.

 

The sustainability code is the cornerstone of the programme, addressing key areas of sustainability through specific projects such as The National Sustainability Code.

The National Sustainability Code

 

This system establishes the framework for the entire value chain of wine production and identifies the different practices from the perspective of sustainability. The code establishes a common framework to guide all Chilean wineries towards increasingly sustainable practices. The code will offer wineries the opportunity to measure their progress towards using more sustainable practices through recognized and validated accreditation or certification.

 

Specific projects in the code’s priority areas that will strengthen the adoption of sustainability measures include:

Social Responsibility and GRI Reports for all Wineries

The Chilean wine industry decided to invest in social responsibility (SR) for both the association as a whole and individual companies through a guide to SR for Vinos de Chile, using the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) G–3 methodology.

 

This project will produce reports using the GRI methodology from all 90 of the association’s member wineries over the course of the next 18 months, with technical consultants from Vincular PUCV (Catholic University of Valparaiso) lending support and training in the wineries and generating the reports.

Network of Meteorological Stations for Chile’s Winegrowing Valleys

Meteorological data are needed in order to better use water and energy resources, so the Sustainaibilty Program aims to establish the first network of meteorological stations in all of Chile’s winegrowing valleys. With an initial investment in 33 stations, and 27 additional third-party stations, the network will be able to provide basic real-time online information such as temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation and wind velocity, as well as information such as degree days, and primary bioclimatic indexes that could be used for a climatic delimitation of terroir.

Energy Efficiency in the Wineries, Climate Change and Carbon Footprints

 

This project examined energy use in winemaking processes and offered recommendations for improving energy efficiency at each stage of the process. The information was compiled into a guide that will serve as an energy efficiency roadmap for wineries. In the carbon footprint project, protocols were explained, a greenhouse gas calculator was applied to a pilot winery and general conclusions were drawn about the scope of the footprint for wine production. Additionally, an innovative tool designed for benchmarking global energy was introduced: the Energy Equivalent Liter, which compares energy used to produce different types of wine rather than types of wineries.

For more information visit www.vinnova.cl.

 

 

Wine Consortiums

Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Project

Alberto Hurtado University, with the Consorcios del Vino’s Vinnova-TecnoVid and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, conducted a study into ‘Energy and climate change: Exports sizing and competitiveness increase in the wine industry’. Funded by Innova Chile-CORFO, the National

Energy Commission’s national energy efficiency programme and the Prevent company participated in the project which sought to present best practices and innovative solutions for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by the Chilean wine industry.

For more information see www.vinnova.cl/EN/eecc.php.