Sustainability is now a key topic of discussion throughout the wine community, and Chile is swiftly embracing the sustainable winemaking trend.
The article’s author, Merle Rosenstein, poses the question, “How do pest control programs, energy and fuel optimization, and canopy density relate to the twang that lingers luxuriously on your tongue after a pop of Pinot Noir?”
If the Pinot Noir is from Chile, the taste of socially responsible agriculture and wine production is even more likely to impart a tangible twang on the tongue.
This is primarily due to Wines of Chile’s successful Sustainability Code initiative, which is being managed and implemented by a special consortium known as The Technological Wine Consortium.
As reported by Wines of Chile in a previous news article, the Sustainability Code provides Chilean wineries with education and support, along with standards and benchmarks for sustainability. The program also facilitates full accreditation under established parameters, followed by permission to display the “Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile” seal on qualifying bottles.
Chilean agronomist Claudia Carbonell explains to Tidings that Chile’s sustainability code is unique for “its commitment to all three branches of sustainability, especially in terms of corporate social responsibility. Our code investigates business operations at all phases and in all locations of the company — vineyards, wineries, bottling plants and corporate offices.”
While the code does not prohibit use of chemistry in agriculture, Carbonell notes that wineries undergoing the certification process are urged to limit agrochemicals in favor of natural pest control methods, a provision that earns points towards certification.
Through the Sustainability Code, Chilean wineries and enologists are increasingly more educated, aware and motivated, striving to maintain the health of the Chile’s precious landscapes and resources, and ensuring the overall quality and appeal of the final product.
Three examples of sustainability in Chile
Rosenstein features three exemplary wineries as positive examples of sustainability in Chile, demonstrating the country’s significant progress in achieving its sustainability goals.
Errazuriz Winery’s vineyards in central Chile are 71% certified under the Sustainability Code. The winery uses environmentally-friendly sprays, plants cover crops to minimize soil erosion, and introduces certain helpful insects to control dangerous pests. As a result, Errazuriz’s produces higher-quality grapes while maintaining the integrity and natural lifecycle of the soil.
Santa Rita has been using sustainable practices for ten years. Sixty percent of its more than 7,000 acres are certified, and the winery credits good communication between its staff as the key to successful implementation of sustainable practices. By testing rootstock, Santa Rita is able to efficiently distribute water and maximize the natural growing cycles of its grapes.
All six of Miguel Torres’s vineyards are certified, and the winery is also certified in organics and fair trade. Executive president Miguel Torres Maczassek tells Tidings, “I believe that today it is not only important to produce quality wines, but also important to make clear how are we producing the wine. And on that side, the sustainable code is very helpful, because it provides information to the final consumer.”
Wines of Chile is actively communicating its sustainable winemaking message and activities on a daily basis, hosting and promoting seminars and tasting events worldwide that focus on sustainability, and publishing a variety of media resources on the topic.
Rosenstein’s influential Tidings article is another beneficial communication tool, as the magazine purports to reach a tremendous audience of approximately 160,000 affluent wine- and food-aficionados in Canada. Such wide and targeted exposure further validates Chile’s reputation as a “natural choice” for receptive wine consumers.