I recently came across a bottle of wine labeled “sustainable certified.” Upon closer examination, the accompanying logo revealed that it was a “certified sustainable wine of Chile” and invited me to visit www.sustentavid.org for more information. So I did! I also Googled ”certified sustainable wine of Chile” to find out more about with this label means and who is behind it.
According Wines of Chile, the sustainability certification is a “long-term endeavour … consisting of a series of initiatives and projects to address the different areas included within the overarching concept of sustainability.” The program is based on the understanding that in order to be sustainable practices must be environmentally friendly, socially equitable, and economically viable.
Wines of Chile’s sustainability code is divided into three sections. It appears that a winery can get certified for each one or all of them together. At launch in 2012, the “green” certification, which focuses on the handling of natural resources, plagues in the vineyard, agrochemicals and industrial safety, was the only one available. However, certification for energy efficiency, water management, garbage, recycling and pollution prevention (red certification), as well as business ethics, environment, working conditions, relationship with the community, marketing and consumers (orange certification) have since been added. How much of each company’s operations must meet the new code(s) in order to be certified is also being implemented gradually between now and 2020.
According to an article in the October 2012 issue of Tidings magazine, this three-pronged approach to sustainability is unique among wine sustainability programs. Most only focus on the environmental aspects of sustainability, while the Chilean program also includes corporate and social responsibility. This may make it one of the most rigourous standards out there for wine growers, however not being an expert it is hard for me to judge.
That said, I do intend to support wines carrying this certification.
A complete list of all the wineries currently certified is available on the program’s website. Currently 28 wineries have the green certification and another 11 have green, red and orange certifications. They include:
What do you think? Will this certification encourage you pick up a bottle of Chilean wine in favour of your usual Argentinian or other new world wine?