Rob Symington on Climate Change: “We Have To Be Activists”

At an online conference this week, members of the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) spoke of the need to “be activists” in order to bring about real change in the fight against carbon emissions.

Founded last year by Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines, the IWCA is a small but growing group of wineries dedicated to ‘de-carbonizing’ the wine industry and combatting the effects of climate change.

Crucially, the group requires its members to commit to actively lowering its carbon emissions. The requirements upon joining are:

A complete end-to-end (through Scopes 1-3) Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory (which must be completed six months after joining).

At least 20% of power generated through on-site renewable energy.

Demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% in CO2 emissions for every litre of wine produced after a baseline of emissions has been established.

A commitment to reducing total emissions by 50% by 2030 and ‘climate positive’ by 2050.

Speaking at the conference, Familia Torres’ sustainability manager, Josep-Maria Ribas, explained that all the objectives are, “science based”, to allow members to work towards producing real results in how their companies and wineries operate.

Also speaking was Rob Symington of Symington Family Estates, one of the first wineries to sign up to the IWCA. He said that the big challenge when it came to meaningful change in environmental initiatives was to “avoid greenwashing”.

Not wanting to be criticized and being seen to do something had been the “usual approach” in this area for many years and many sceptics are all too eager to pounce on projects – even good ones – that lack some sort of robustness to their processes.

This is why as well as setting its own goals, Symington said that the family-run group had been, “seeking external frameworks where we’re being held accountable to things we said we would do and that’s the most effective way to avoid falling into the trap of greenwashing”.

And while Symington Family Estates, alongside Torres, Jackson and other members, are able to take control of certain emission hotspots in the vineyards and winery more directly – producing their own energy, cutting energy use, adapting their vineyards to the changing climate, etc – there’s also a strong case for ‘activism’.

As Symington continued: “Over 85% of our emissions are beyond our control – they’re produced by the brandy makers we buy spirit from, glassmakers and transportation and so on,” but, he continued, customers at all points are able to “act as lobbyists to change those emissions from our partners”, and “put positive pressure throughout the chain”.

He added that it sometimes seemed at odd for very traditional wineries to act like activists but countered it was also important to, “stick your neck out and sign up to things like the IWCA. We joined to hold our feet to the fire and to justify the steps we need to take”.

Having goals and being held accountable is vital if not only the structural systems are going to change but the culture behind them that enables those structural systems are going to change too.

But given the challenges and threat posed to vineyards and longstanding family companies by climate change, there is also a (perfectly) legitimate form of “enlightened self-interest” in being a champion for the cause, as Symington admitted.

The IWCA is currently comprised of nine members across the Americas, Europe and Antipodes, with another two apparently close to signing up. Membership is not restricted by size and Ribas added it was currently compiling an emissions calculator that would help smaller wineries be able to join and identify where to focus their efforts to meet the entry requirements without the need to hire expensive consultants.

IWCA website – https://www.iwcawine.org/

Sources:  Drinks Business and IWCA

San Pedro is launching a new wine brand to support (Glaciares Chilenos) Patagonian Glaciers

 

Chile’s Viña San Pedro is launching a new sustainable, organic wine brand called “South Cause” which will raise money to support Glaciares Chilenos, an NGO that aims to conserve Patagonian glaciers.

San Pedro, which is part of the VSPT group is launching the new wine brand in Europe, North America, and north Asia by the end of the year.

Labeled “South Cause” the new brand comprises four different wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and a rosé, all targeted towards millennials and the younger generation of wine drinkers.

Rodrigo Romero, vice-president of global marketing for VSPT, described the new wine label as an “activist brand”, and he states:

“So far most of the things we have done have been in-house. We heard about Glaciares Chilenos and thought maybe we could have a role in this. And what better way to do it than create a new brand that stands for this sentiment. It proves it’s not an after-thought. It’s a range of quality wines that also embrace the cause.”

The wines are certified organic and vegan, will be released in eco-friendly packaging, which is either made from recycled materials or is itself recyclable.

VSPT has recently pledged to reduce the quantity and weight of its bottles and packaging so that 100% are separable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030.

Sales of “South Cause” wines, will be priced between US$12-$15 per bottle, depending on the market, and will directly benefit Glaciares Chilenos.

VSPT has signed an agreement with the NGO which will see it give the organization a set lump sum each year to fund its scientific research and educational campaigns. The NGO will also receive a variable amount of money each year, based on sales of the wine.

Glaciers act as climate regulators, reflecting between 45% and 80% of the sun’s light, helping to cool the earth’s temperature. Glacier-melt causes sea levels to rise, leading to flooding and the loss of land. In the last six years, Chile’s glaciers have decreased by 8%, the equivalent of 1,800 Olympic-sized pools.

Glaciares Chilenos is dedicated to the preservation of Chile’s Patagonian ice fields, which represent 82% of the glaciers found in South America. The issue is particularly pressing given that 70% of the Chilean population is supplied with water originating from mountainous areas and the glacier refill zone.

Milano Wine Week Goes Digital – October 3 – 11 2020

Milano Wine Week will represent the first international wine event since the global Covid-19 shutdown. This year the organizers have set up a series of food and wine pairing demonstrations with top Italian chefs, for both trade and consumers that focuses on wine providing the inspiration for the dish – this online event will take place at a test kitchen near the Piazza del Duomo.

Milan Wine Week 2020 will be focusing on experiential events that connect with wine consumers, rather than a wine fair with booths. The organizers are also setting up small wine worlds within the popular neighborhoods in Milan; one neighborhood will focus on Franciacorta wines while another will focus on Prosecco wines, i.e., each neighborhood will have wine bars and restaurants focusing on that specific wine area. Each neighborhood will become a particular wine consorzio (association).

For trade and media, there will be a series of masterclasses and wine tastings as well as seminars that will not only focus on advice, guidance and networking opportunities but it will speak about exploring opportunities in a post-Covid world while all events will honor rules and government guidelines for avoiding the spread of the virus.

Milan Wine Week an international event and for 2020 they have upped their digital game by having events taking place in ten key cities: New York, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, Munich and London that will be linked live to events taking place in Milan such as a winemaker leading a tasting and connecting live to other international cities via the internet.

Last year, Milan Wine Week attracted over 300,000 attendees across 300 event spaces in the northern Italian city.

“When our reality changes we need to change accordingly. Milano Wine Week has risen to the challenge by turning a gap into an opportunity,” Federico Gordini, Fonder of Milano Wine Week states

“During the lockdown, we decided to reimagine and adjust our business model in order to create something that was revolutionary and suitable for these times, trying to achieve an even bigger endeavor at an international level, while complying with strict regulations,” he added.

The week-long event will also gather opinion leaders, international professionals and consumers, and will include seminars, masterclasses, tastings and forums exploring everything from millennial drinking habits to wine retail trends.

“We will act as a broadcaster streaming a series of programs that can be accessed in real-time around the world. For the first time in our history we have decided to create a common thread connecting all the events in our schedule,” Gordini said.

Pre-registration : https://www.milanowineweek.com/digital-wine-fair-pre-registration/

Reims Tourism Office offers free Champagne to promote tourism

Attracting tourists post-Covid is undoubtedly a challenge. The Greater Reims Council has launched a new initiative called “Champagne, to make your summer awesome!” Visitors to the city will be treated to a bottle of grower Champagne. The greeting has an undeniably elegant touch, though there are some strings attached.

 

A total of 3,000 bottles, sourced from 68 different producers, will be given (one/adult) to those who qualify. The giveaway is said to have cost €50,000.

 

This initiative was launched July 15 and is subject to certain criteria. To qualify, tourists must spend at least two consecutive nights in the City of Reims, or the surrounding area, and stay in a hotel, guesthouse or gîte. Airbnb does not qualify. Also, during their trip, visitors must eat in a local restaurant and order at least one dish and drink. Fast food outlets are excluded from the list. Finally, in order to qualify, tourists must provide proof that they have paid for one leisure activity, such as renting a kayak, a winery visit, bike hire, or cinema ticket. Once they have paid for these holiday treats, visitors are required to go to the Reims tourist information office to receive their complimentary bottle.

This follows news of poor sales of Champagne during the Covid-19 pandemic. Industry body Comité Champagne said that sales were down 32% for the period January to May compared to the same period in 2019.

Women in Wine Talks — Fall Schedule

Les Dames d’Escoffier Ontario (Canada) is proud to host  “Women in Wine Talks™” as an online platform to raise awareness of women in the wine industry to impact positive change. We shine the spotlight on global women business leaders, winemakers, authors and industry experts.

The Concept
Women in Wine Talks™ are inspiring conversations, virtual wine-tastings and panel discussions with wine industry experts.

“Memorable and Elevated Virtual Experiences”

Women in Wine Talks™ is designed for every wine lover, at all levels; with international participation.

Past speakers included:

Elizabeth Gabay, MW
One of the world’s foremost authorities on rosé wines, is the author of ‘Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’, and President of the Jury at International Rosé Challenge – Rose Tasting and Talk.

Maggie Henriquez, Ph.D., CEO Krug
Leadership in Challenging Times with Maggie Henriquez CEO of Krug Champagne – Leadership Talk

Janet Dorozynski, PhD
Trade Commissioner Canadian Wine, Beer and Spirits
Q and A with Moderator: Shari Mogk-Edwards

Watch this space for our upcoming talks commencing September 2020, which will include:

Beatrice Cointreau
She was born into a long line of vine-growers and distillers.  Beatrice has her Master of  Law, in business, an MBA, studied at the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology, and at the ISIPCA European School of perfumery. She is also the great-granddaughter of the Cointreau liquor founder and granddaughter of the founder of Rémy Martin.

Reva Singh
Founder & Editor-in-Chief of India’s first wine magazine Sommelier India

Ariane Khaida
Executive Director of the Chateau Wines Division Barons de Rothschild

Lorraine Immelman
CEO, Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards (South Africa)

Father and Daughter team of Michel Drappier and Charline Drappier of Champagne Drappier

Ann Sperling
A leading force in the Canadian movement towards organic and biodynamic fine winemaking 9BC Winery and winery in Argentina)

Alysha Harker
Canadian Director for Riedel

…and many more exciting speakers in the world of wine and spirits!

Recent Testimonials:

What a successful inaugural virtual event! It was very interesting to learn there are over 400 appellations for Rosé wines, and how the various regions are grouped together. Elizabeth Gabay is exceptionally knowledgeable, and very generous sharing her passion, about Rosé wines. As she spoke to us from her home in the south of France, it was entertaining tasting wines virtually and comparing comments with each of the participants. There are a few I plan to try as a result! I am looking forward to the next virtual wine event!  Shari Mogk-Edwards

Janet Doroznyski’s presentation
Very informative and helpful presentation.  Thank you!
Jessica DiFruscia

I was honoured to be included in the LDEO Women in Wine Talks. Leadership in Challenging Times with Maggie Henriquez was inspirational and poignant.  Ms. Henriquez shared her life work and experiences while sharing optimism for the future.  Thank you Liz for setting this up.
Doris Bradley, Professor, George Brown College

I was really pleased to participate to Women in Wine Talks’ on-line conference on last June 23rd: Leadership in Challenging Times with Maggie Henriquez, President and CEO of Krug Champagne. Maggie is a very high-level personality with a great and riche experience. During one hour, Maggie shared honestly her experiences in top-level wine and/or spirits global groups. Her words were really inspiring. We can define her as a self-made woman who had different leadership and crisis management experiences – as top-level group leader – in global groups in Southern America, Northern America, Europe.  She gave concrete examples of crisis management and solutions development through her own experience.  She also clearly told to participants her point of views and clues about trends after current covid-19 crisis: crisis is always a hard step full of challenges but generating new business opportunities.

The on-line conference organization was also very high-level. First of all, to share debates with Maggie and also at a technical level. We were over 25 people connected at the same time from different countries.

Special thanks to really great job done by Liz Palmer, Founder UPsocial Wine + Spirits and her associate, Virginia Hutton – Loïc OROFINO, France

Wonderful webinar with Maggie Henriquez, CEO of Maison Krug. Inspiring to hear her talk about the various times throughout her business career when the world, and wine world, was in the midst of a global crisis and how she navigated through – with the key message being to support and retain your staff against all odds. The only thing that would have made it better was to have a glass of Krug in hand.
Janet Dorozynski, Ph.D. Dip WSET, WSET® Certified Educator
Trade Commissioner, Canadian Wine, Beer and Spirits and TourismTrade Sectors Bureau (BBI)/Bureau de secteurs commerciaux (BBI)
Global Affairs Canada/Affaires mondiales Canada