Wine industry's environmental program under new management

Monday, 06 July, 2015

New arrangements for the wine industry’s national environmental assurance program (Entwine Australia) have been announced, with management of the program transferring from the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) to the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).

The Entwine Australia program provides Australian winemakers and wine grape growers with formal recognition of their environmental practices according to recognised international standards. To qualify for membership, companies must be certified against an approved, independently audited environmental management system and report annually against a set of defined resource use indicators.

The new manager of the program, AWRI, is the Australian grape and wine industry’s own research organisation. WFA CEO Paul Evans described the institute as “well placed to ensure research and innovations in environmental management are incorporated into the industry’s behaviours and practices”.

“Under the AWRI’s stewardship, our national assurance program can embrace innovation to encourage higher participation rates in the regions and better integration with our global marketing efforts,” Evans said.

“More broadly, the changes to Entwine’s management will also be a timely opportunity for  the industry to assess and implement the outcomes of the recent national Entwine Refresh consultation and how we can partner with regions to provide wine businesses with relevant tools to drive better practices and reporting.”

Evans said the decision “reflects WFA’s focus on its core roles of policy development and advocacy”, with the federation set to retain its leadership role in progressing environmental policy and to remain engaged in the issues.

“We now believe the AWRI has the right people and expertise to build on a strong foundation and grow participation and our reputation in Australia and internationally,” he said. “The WFA board will review the transition of Entwine to the AWRI at its September meeting and going forward to ensure these goals are being supported.”

The announcement has been welcomed by wine groups including Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association (MVWGTA). The move has also been approved by Clare Hamilton-Bate, the executive officer of on-farm assurance program Freshcare.

“A closer linkage to the research and development work that underpins environmental best practice is key in encouraging sustainable production,” Hamilton-Bate said. “With the move to the AWRI, the Entwine Program will be ideally placed to provide that linkage to participating businesses.”

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