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

Women in Wine Talks with Chile and Argentina – October 20, 2020 1:00 PM EDT

It is our great pleasure to invite you to be part of an exclusive “live talk” with five trailblazing women leading the Chilean and Argentine wine Industry into the future.

Join us as the panelists discuss their regions, share an intimate look at their wineries and discuss their commitment to crafting exceptional wines while preserving the natural environment.

Panelists:

Wines of Chile – Viviana Navarrete of Viña Leyda; and Emily Faulconer of Viña Carmen

and

Wines of Argentina – Susana Balbo of Susana Balbo Winery; and Andrea Ferreyra of Finca La Celia

October 20, 2020 – 1:00 pm (EDT) Zoom

Zoom link to join the Women in Wine Talks October 20 1:00 pm EDT
[complimentary ticket] https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-in-wine-talks-with-chile-and-argentina-tickets-123908055329?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch&keep_tld=1#

We look forward to seeing you!


	

Vertical Tasting with Caroline Frey of Chateau La Lagune – Part 1

Vertical tastings offer a magnificent glimpse into the many facets of a wine’s personality and its many expressions over different weather conditions. It also offers a glimpse into the quality of the terroir and the site from which the grapes originate.

On September 28, 2020, I have the privilege of participating in a vertical “zoom tasting” and deep dive into Chateau La Lagune with Caroline Frey, winemaker, at her family’s Haut-Médoc third-growth estate.

Wines being tasted include

Chateau La Lagune 2015

Chateau La Lagune 2016

Chateau La Lagune 2017

Chateau La Lagune 2018 [100% Cabernet Sauvignon]

“Part 2” will include my tasting notes, the impact of vintage variations, particularly weather, and stylistic changes across vintages, along with personal quotes and my overall impression.

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/

2020 CMA [Canadian Marketing Association] Awards – Judging Commences Today

I’m thrilled to participate as a Judge in this year’s CMA Awards in the Business Impact Discipline.

2020 shows another record number of entries. Judging commences today across six disciplines: brand building, business impact, customer experience, engagement, innovative media and martech. Within each discipline, entries compete with campaigns in one of nine categories (automotive, business, consumer products, consumer services, financial, food & beverage, health care, retail and social causes). In addition, nominations are accepted for Marketer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, and a select panel of judges select the Top Cause and Best of the Best winners, from the top entries across their respective disciplines and categories.

This November, the CMA Awards Gala will be virtual. The marketing community loves to celebrate. Stay tuned for further details!

Good luck to everyone !