Over sixty Chilean wineries have shown their commitment to sustainability by signing up to a code that would make Chile a world leader in environmentally friendly practices in viticulture by 2020.
The National Sustainability Code was backed by trade organization Wines of Chile and designed based on research undergone by Viña Errazuriz-Caliterra, Viñas de Colchagua, and the Universidad de Talca.
“The program has had very positive results,” Belén Ruz, Coordinator for Sustainability for Wines of Chile told ThisisChile. “More and more wineries are interested in participating because buyers are demanding this type of certification internationally.”
First presented in 2009, Chile’s National Sustainability Code incorporates three facets of wine production; the vineyard, the winery itself, and the surrounding community. Individual factors regulated by the Sustainability Code therefore cover compost and recycling programs, efficient water and energy use, healthy job conditions and work environment, air quality preservation and effective waste management.
The certification allows wineries to adapt gradually. It begins with a basic certification that covers just the vineyard, and increases regulations incrementally over time, to eventually encompass all three branches of the code.
Those vineyards who have been certified since the program’s inception are currently in the first stage and scheduled to move into the second level of certification by 2013.
Based on the code’s trajectory, Chile is anticipated to be at the forefront of the world’s sustainable viticulture practices by 2020.
“The National Sustainability Code establishes definitions and guidelines for environmental and social responsibility,” said Ruz. “Wineries that meet with rigorous standards will earn the right to include the official ‘Accredited Sustainable-Wine of Chile’ seal on their labels.”
Currently 20 vineyards are certified according to the first level of requirements and another 43 vineyards are in the process of achieving certification. On January 2, 2013 all three levels of certification will be open to participating Chilean vineyards.
“Many of the larger wineries are already part of the program, and others are following suit,” said Ruz. “This is paving the way for smaller wineries and inspiring a collective movement towards sustainability.”