By 2020, the wine industry of Chile is hoping to position itself as a leader in sustainability, a key component of the Wines of Chile’s strategic plan. This responsible and progressive goal reflects Chilean winemakers’ commitment to caring for Chile’s precious ecosystem while continuing to produce impeccable wines from rich and healthy terroirs.
Educated consumers are increasingly showing their enthusiasm for products that can demonstrate some degree of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. This consumer trend towards supporting more responsible farming in both food and wine production has created a growing market for products produced in a sustainable manner. It presents a perfect opportunity for Chile, with its expansive vineyards and wise farmers, to stand out as a country that highly values its natural resources.
In working towards the 2020 goal, Wines of Chile has played a key role in helping Chile establish a National Sustainability Code through a consortium with local universities and wineries. The Vinnova and TecnoVid consortiums support scientific development in Chile’s wine industry, especially by developing innovative and environmentally-friendly production techniques.
According to the consortiums’ website, the Sustainability Code “will help strengthen and maintain the Chilean wine industry’s competitiveness over time, enhancing the industry’s image among national and international consumers alike.”
Furthermore, Wines of Chile has adopted the principles of the code in the development of an official accreditation system. With the first wineries officially certified in January 2012, Wines of Chile has now awarded a number of wineries with the seal of Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile.
This certification recognizes wineries that have successfully adopted sustainability practices. They must also pass a rigorous process of qualification based on criteria such as viticultural methods, winemaking techniques and environmental efficiency in both production and office management. Other key metrics are product distribution, ethical business practices, and improved worker conditions, both within and outside the wine community.
As further confirmation of Chilean wineries’ environmental stewardship and progressive wine production, Concha y Toro was recently invited to present its sustainability strategy at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Brazil this past June. As the only winery to participate in this critical event, Concha y Toro’s efforts and representation have helped put the international limelight on Chile with regard to sustainability.
Concha y Toro sustainable development manager Cristobal Goycoolea explains, “We are convinced as a company that it is possible to produce high-quality in harmony and balance with man and nature. The winery therefore understands sustainability as a value within the company. This has enabled us to work with respect for the environment, and with an attitude of proximity with our personnel, consumers and stakeholders,”
Chilean vineyards have set a priority on sustainability, and they seek to demonstrate to both consumers and to the industry at large that great wine can be produced in harmony with the land.