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The view from Down Under by Giles Cooke MW

Giles Cooke MW

Sustainability and weather patterns
The last thing that any grape grower wants to see at this point is a storm front, and certainly not one that contains hail, but that’s what faced many growers in South Australia recently. Where hail will hit is a lottery, but not one that you want to win. And so it was for growers in the Barossa and Riverland who, in the space of 10 violent minutes, watched as this year’s (and potentially next year’s) crop was shredded by hailstones as large as ping pong balls. Growers who lost only 30% are happy to have been spared while some are talking 80% losses. Our hearts go out to those who have lost much of their income this season.

Sustainability would be the last thing on the minds of those affected by the Barossa storms but the increasing violence of weather patterns is a reminder that, more than ever, sustainability must be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Creating a better world of wine?
For more than 10 years, Alliance has been searching for a way to communicate how seriously we take our responsibilities to the climate, our community and to commerce. Our vision of creating a "better world of wine" has to be more than just organics or lower sulphur levels and must be more holistic and it’s comforting to witness that this is now the accepted direction of travel.

This year we’ve joined the Sustainable Wine Round Table, and put in place working groups across the business, committed to making every department more sustainable. The topic is huge, and to all of us – not just those in the wine world – we are only just at the beginning of our journey. It’s a journey that will shape the Alliance of the future, without compromising the well-being of future generations.

In Australia, I’ve just signed Thistledown up to Sustainable Wine Australia and begun the process of becoming an accredited business, and though we must learn to "tread more lightly" as far as the environment goes, our responsibility to treat people fairly and to conduct business sustainably provides the foundations on which we can protect our environment. And so, though sustainability might seem far from people’s thoughts when crisis hits, the help and support that they receive can only be given by businesses who themselves are commercially sustainable.