Entwine Australia is the Australian wine industry’s national sustainability program – set up to support growers and winemakers in demonstrating and improving the sustainability of their businesses. Entwine Australia was developed by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in consultation with industry and with support from the Australian Government. It is a voluntary environmental assurance scheme that allows winemakers and wine grape growers to receive formal certification of sustainable environmental practices according to recognized standards. The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) now manages it.
Entwine is as an ‘umbrella’ sustainability program. Under the Entwine umbrella there are two components for members – the reporting of sustainability metrics and participation in an approved certification program. Entwine provides credentials which cover the fundamental components of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and can be applied to both the vineyard and winery. The program provides benchmarking tools and resources to enable planning, evaluation, control and communication. Companies must be independently audited and report annually against a set of defined resource use indicators. Wineries also must report their greenhouse gas emissions.
Entwine is a program designed with flexibility to suit the changing goals and needs of all Australian grape and wine producers and provides information for wine industry research, development and extension activities and can be used by members for benchmarking.
Members can choose which certification program best suits their business from:
- ISO 14001
- Freshcare Environmental Viticulture/Winery
- Freshcare Environmental Viticulture Code of Practice
- Freshcare Environmental Winery Code of Practice
- Sustainable Australia Winegrowing
Freshcare is the fresh produce industry’s own on-farm assurance program, fulfilling both domestic and international market requirements. It is a practical approach to help growers and packers assure customers that their produce is safe to eat and sustainably grown, and thousands of fresh produce businesses have adopted the Freshcare program since its launch in July 2000.
Wine producers also have the choice to be certified instead under Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SAW), which started as a regional program, the McLaren Vale Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (MVSWGA), and is now accessible to any grower across Australia. It has its origins in the early 2000s. What followed was the development of a series of viticulture initiatives with the objective to improve growing practices, fruit quality and financial viability in the region. These initiatives included seminars and workshops; a growers’ bulletin called CropWatch that provided information from nine weather monitoring stations and pest and disease alerts for the region; and research trials.
In 2008, the sponsors of the initiative decided they needed to measure results. And in 2009 the assessment workbook was provided to all growers in the region. Next step, 50 growers decided to self-assess, following three main principles: (1) assessment over time; (2) grower sustainability levels identified on a continuum and not on a pass/fail basis; (3) the assessment and reporting system must be useful for the grower to understand their sustainability status and be able to improve it.
Ten percent of program members are randomly selected annually and audited by a third party. Audits are in place to ensure credibility of the growers’ sustainability levels based on their responses. There are specific rules and penalties that, in extreme cases, can lead to a member’s exclusion in case of discrepancies between inspections and the self-assessment answers and data reporting. Audits are also available to members who wish to become certified. Certification audits are carried out every three years whereas self-assessment, random inspection process and data reporting through the online system are annual.