Sustainability underpins everything we do. Our environment is the most valuable thing we have. A healthy environment ensures healthy eco systems. Both are vital for our survival alongside other animals and organisms. Without the environment there is NO Spy Valley Wines. As we use it, it is therefore our responsibility to look after it.
Since we began, Spy Valley Wines has been accredited under the New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing scheme. It promotes economical and environmentally sustainable vineyard management. This includes our winery, all of our company vineyards and our grower vineyards.
New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability is measured by seven pillars, which represent the key areas of focus:
- Soil, Water & Air,
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life within an area, or planet. With Marlborough having such a high percentage of vineyards, there is a worry that the region has started to have a bit of a “monoculture”.
Unfortunately this isn’t a recent issue. Since 19th century and the arrival of European settlers, Marlborough has lost much of its native wetlands.
Remaining wetlands are sparse and those remaining need to be protected and replanted to encourage the return of native birds and animals.
There are a number of projects being run by council in conjunction with wine companies to achieve this.
The “Tui to Town” project is a subset of the “Significant Natural Areas Project” and covers the Wairau Plain area. It was set up because there was so little habitat left (only 1-2%).
More wetland was needed through new planting projects.
In 2012, we purchased Area H – A local vineyard with a natural wetland. We have since worked with council and the “Significant Natural Areas Project”.
Our Area H Vineyard restoration revealed one of the best remaining examples of spring-fed wetlands in the lower Wairau Valley. Weed control, animal pest control and re-vegetation are vital for this wetland to be restored to ecological health and maintained in good condition. We planted 700 native trees in this area alone.
Soil, Water & Air:
The quality of our wines relies on the soil which feeds the grapes. We take care of these essential soils using organic matter and compost to replace nutrients such as lime, and to minimise the cultivation needed.
Water is a critical resource, consistently measured and managed through our extensive water management system. We use minimal irrigation, with two of the vineyards completely irrigation free.
We are lucky enough to have some of the cleanest air in the world –We want to keep it that way. We monitor and minimise noise and light emissions wherever possible. We measure and reduce spray drift with the use of recycling sprayer - It sucks up the extra spray as it is applied and reused.
Reducing our energy use benefits both the environment and our business.
• The use of power meters, heat recovery systems, internal, heat regulating tanks and LED lighting all make a huge difference to our electricity consumption.
• In the vineyard all tractors have tier 3 environmental standards for energy efficiency.
• Over 20% of our power is provided by over 200 solar panels.
• We also generate our own nitrogen.
• During winter months we graze sheep to keep the grass down and reduce the amount of mowing required.
Spy Valley is at the forefront of preventative technology and education to ensure the health of our grapes and vines. We use low-toxic, environmentally friendly products in the winery and Vineyard to ensure that we have the lowest impact possible on the environment and human health. We use absolute minimal amounts for the control of disease and pests as a last resort as well as education to prevent outbreaks. We are continually looking at ways to minimise even further!
We dedicated to abiding by reduce, reuse and recycle principles throughout the winery.
- Our bottles are made out of up to 96% recycled glass. We also contribute a voluntary levy through the Glass Packaging Forum to ensure that more glass is recycled in our beautiful country.
- We’ve even planted staff vegetable gardens, resulting in sustainable produce for the company dinner table.
- We use Perlite as a filtering aid, reducing our landfill input.
- All our staff food scraps are collected for pig food for the farmer up the road!
- Winery wastewater is treated onsite and pumped over the winery lawn.
- We collect our waste screwcaps for recycling with proceeds going to Kidney Kids - an organisation providing support to children and the families of children who have kidney disorders.
Our success depends on our people. Spy Valley invests a lot into staff to ensure they are the best in the industry and on top of the latest trends and technology. Spy Valley also gives back to the community. We have a number of ‘secret missions’, such as our sponsorship of Life Education Trust. The Trust helps educate children about a number of life skills and making the right choices, including responsible use of alcohol.
Sustainable business for the future. Adding value and creating profitability will ensure it is a sustainable business for the future or there would be no reason for wine companies to continue. We aim to create a quality and profitable product to ensure this.
Sustainability extends far beyond the vineyard and winery and it is critical to the longevity and legacy of New Zealand’s wine industry.
Sustainable practices enable wineries to maintain balance in their growing environment, add value to local communities, and make substantial cost savings long-term.
The entire supply chain is factored into a wine company’s sustainability equation, from sourcing raw materials through to in-market communications, packaging through to transport and logistics, and everything else in between.
Many vineyard and winery practices, such as labour relations, environmental legislation, animal welfare, and food safety are governed by legislated programs. Meeting these various regulations is a base level requirement for all New Zealand wine producers. (nzwine.com/sustainability)
Looking into the future we will continue to look after the places that make our exceptional wines.