WineSkills Sustainability Initiative

The WineSkills sustainability initiative aims to support UK wine producers who wish to produce wine more sustainably, in particular, those who wish to:

  • Create and maintain a wine production industry that is economically viable over time
  • Maintain the highest level of grape and wine quality
  • Implement cultural practices and solve wine production problems in a way that minimises the use of off-farm inputs, such as agricultural chemicals and fertilisers, with the aim of protecting workers, the environment, and society at large
  • Promote and maintain biological diversity in the vineyard
  • Promote and maintain soil health, fertility, and stability
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Manage water and energy use more efficiently, and reduce and recycle waste
  • Engage in aspects of social responsibility
  • Have a safe and healthy working environment

The guidelines within this initiative have been established to help producers meet these goals. They will be reviewed and revised annually and should be seen as part of a process of development towards sustainable wine production.

The guidelines are purely voluntary. They form a good practice tool, but are in no way prescriptive or mandatory. However, putting them into practice will benefit the producer as they will have:

  • A business with a competitive edge as a sustainable producer selling wine produced in a more environmentally sensitive manner
  • A business with improved public relations; engaged with its workforce, the public, consumers, and the community in which it operates
  • Access to business support and training through WineSkills and the sustainability initiative
  • Participation in and interaction with a group of like-minded wine producers who wish to develop a more sustainable industry in the UK for future generations of vine growers and wine makers

Participation in the sustainability initiative should also allow producers to:

  • Have a reduced impact on the increasingly scarce world resources and be a better custodian of the environment, both within the vineyard and beyond

It is important to note that the WineSkills sustainability initiative is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to wine production. An understanding of the fundamentals of business, viticulture and/or oenology is necessary before adopting the guidelines. Also, the initiative assumes that all regulatory requirements are already being met by the producer. The guidelines aim to take producers beyond what is required by law.

The WineSkills sustainability initiative recognises that vineyards and wineries are unique and what works at one location may not work somewhere else. It tries to provide information about different practices that could be considered sustainable based on their application.