Green is the New Red & White

Owner Peter Yealands prides himself on creating wetlands at his Awatere winery, Tim Pawsey photo

How sustainable is the wine in your glass?

Do you care?

You should.

Do you value the notion of terroir, and being able to enjoy distinctive tastes and styles of wine from regions half way around the world? If so, we’re going to have to work harder at how those wines are grown and shipped.

Many folks are doing just that already, using techniques such as computerized irrigation patterns, or waste water treatment. Plus developing ultra lightweight wine bottles.  Even the once much maligned bag-in-box has made respectable comeback.

Wine-producing countries such as South Africa and New Zealand have aggressive certification programs in place to make their industries sustainable.

Recently, we caught up with Kiwi Peter Yealands (above) at his remarkable Yealands Estate, Awatere Valley winery in Marlborough.  He’s addressed every conceivable aspect of producing a greener wine. He even ‘employs’ Babydoll miniature sheep to keep the grass mown.

Miniature? Yes, they’re too short to eat the grapes, which is a good thing.

(By the way, you’ll also find them hard at work at Okanagan Crush Pad.)

Updated, Feb 21, 2015

Now known as Yealands Family Wines (YFW), Yealands is overall winner at the 2014 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards. This accolade singles out a business that has performed outstandingly well in all aspects of sustainability. The Marlborough based company also won the Restorative Impact Award for their composting and heating programmes. They result in a net positive environmental impact.

On accepting the award, Yealands quoted his personal mantra: “Think boldly, tread lightly and never say it can’t be done.”