SYDNEY - Australian winemakers who care about the environment as much as their vintages can now seek formal recognition for their green credentials under a voluntary certification scheme.
The EntWine Australia scheme, launched this week, requires companies to have their practices certified, independently audited and to report annually in relation to their carbon footprint and other indicators.
The Wine Federation of Australia (WFA) developed the scheme in consultation with the industry and it is currently working with the international alcoholic beverage trade association, Federation Internationale des Vins et Spiritueux (FIVS), to ensure it is recognized internationally.
There is a growing realization that this is something we have to do if Australian wines are to keep meeting consumer and retailer demands, WFA's chief executive, Stephen Strachan, said in a statement.
By 2014 we aim to have all Australian export wine achieving this standard, he added. Wineries and grape growers can adopt our certification scheme but we also will recognize other approaches that meet our criteria.
Australia is one of the world's biggest wine producers, as well as the world's biggest greenhouse-gas polluter per capita. It is also prone to water shortages, droughts and devastating bush fires.
Earlier this year, winemaker Foster's started selling two Wolf Blass brand wines in recyclable PET bottles to reduce its carbon footprint.
Foster's also supported pilot studies for the EntWine certification, as did Orlando Wines, McWilliam's Wines, De Bortoli, Sitella Wines, Voyager Estate, Winemakers of Rutherglen and the Langhorne Creek Grapegrowers' Association, WFA said.
(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Alex Richardson)