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Tasmanian wine producers increase focus on sustainability

Wine Tasmania has released its 2020 report on sustainability practices across its VinØ (“vin zero”) Program members, as well as the new program for 2021.

The VinØ Program takes Tasmanian wine producers through a detailed, user-friendly resource to help them measure, benchmark and improve their management and sustainability practices.

In place and updated annually since 2014, it comprised eight key modules in 2020 - managing soil health, pest and disease management, biodiversity, water and waste management and social aspects, as well as two new modules - a stand-alone module on biosecurity, and a new winery module. Each participant receives an individual report on their performance, benchmarked against other program members, with practical resources to help them improve their practices where needed.

Paul Smart, Wine Tasmania’s Technical & Extension Officer, said that more than half of Tasmania’s vineyard area was managed under the VinØ program in 2020, with 22 participating wine producers across the island.

“The aggregated score in 2020 was 2.37 out of a perfect score of 4, with program members performing well in the areas of pest and disease management, water management and in social aspects,” he said.

“Wine Tasmania uses the VinØ Program results to guide priority activities and will therefore be focusing on the key areas for improvement including biodiversity, waste and biosecurity management in 2021.”

Mr Smart said the 2021 Program, which was launched last week, included a new dedicated module on carbon emissions.

“This new module has been included in recognition of the major risk posed to vineyards by a changing climate due to carbon emissions,” he said.

“We have also made the program available to all Wine Tasmania members on a complimentary basis this year, in recognition of the pressures posed by Covid-19.”

Mr Smart said that a forum to help wine producers develop their own individual plans across each of the VINØ modules would be held on 13 October.

“Wine Tasmania is providing even more practical help, knowing that wine producers sometimes find it challenging to develop the many management plans required under the VinØ Program,” he said.

The 2020 VinØ Program report is available at here, and an overview of the VinØ Program can be found here.

Wine Tasmania would like to acknowledge and thank the McLaren Vale Wine & Tourism Association, which generously gifted its sustainability program to the wine sector in 2014, providing a huge boost for Tasmania’s VinØ Program.

The VinØ Program aligns with the Australian Wine Industry Standard of Sustainable Practice - Viticulture and Winery. VinØ also recognises formal accreditation programs such as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certification, Australian Certified Organics certification and Demeter Biodynamic certification, acknowledging that audited certification is a higher standard than VinØ’s online self-assessment tool.

Further information:

Paul Smart, Technical & Extension Officer at Wine Tasmania on 0414 980 798.