Drinking wine can now be a socially responsible activity, thanks to Tahbilk Wines, the only certified carbon neutral winery in Australia.
One of only eight carbon neutral wineries in the world and the only one in Australia, Tahbilk is leading the charge for environmentally friendly viticulture, with their entire carbon footprint equaling zero. Cullen Wines in WA comes in close second, with 100 percent of their air travel and fuel-usage emissions being carbon neutral.
For the Victorian winery however, making the choice to go carbon neutral was an whole-of-operation decision. As farmers whose produce is affected by a changing climate, Tahbilk felt it necessary to do everything possible to moderate climate change and ensure sustainable production and longevity in the industry.
5th generation Tahbilk family owner Hayley Purbrick made the decision with the team in 2008 to work towards a carbon neutral status, which was certified by New Zealand carboNZero certification program. Other producers like Cullens and Taylor’s Wines base their carbon neutral status on the Life Cycle Assessment model (although some areas of Taylor’s production are ISO14001 certified) but unfortunately these models are not internationally certified to the same level as the carboNZero program, nor are they as robust or detailed. CarboNZero is recognised in over 60 countries and was the first organisation of its kind to be registered and accredited under the ISO14065 ISO international standards mechanism. Its certifications apply to the entire business, certifying the whole value chain, rather than certain specific elements.
“…In 2008 we commenced a journey to understand our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) profile and establish baselines for calculating the carbon stored onsite by our revegetation activities. Through our onsite re-vegetation, organic waste treatment and then investing in reputable carbon reduction schemes to offset current emissions we achieved our objective of becoming Carbon Neutral for the 2012 financial year…”
– Hayley Purbrick
Since 2012, Tahbilk has continued to measure its emissions and carbon storage, however is not content to rest on its vine-entwined laurels; instead they are delivering a new long-term sustainability strategy and vision focused on becoming organically and naturally carbon neutral without the need to purchase carbon offsets. To this end, Tahbilk will be looking to increase its revegetation programs, planting 120 hectares of trees in the next five years.
They are also creating awareness of this process with winery visitors who are able to enjoy eco-trails that have also been revegetated and are attracting a variety of birds and animal life back to the Nagambie Lakes region.
Rightly so, Tahbilk Wines is using their carbon neutral status as a selling point, and is attracting socially conscious consumers to the nationally enjoyed brand in droves. It’s clear that the carbon neutral status is doing them no harm as just last year two of their wines made the James Halliday Australian Top 100 wines. For two to be picked out of the 1,500 or so under consideration is no mean feat!
So next time you’re about to say no to a robust red or a fruity sav blanc, remember that it is your ethical responsibility to down a glass or two of Tahbilk, and to help your friends to do the same. Cheers!