Yealands Family Wines of New Zealand Wins Top Honors in BRIT’s 2017 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing Competition

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Seven Additional Wineries from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and the U.S. Receive Medals for Their Outstanding Ground-to-Glass Sustainability Programs

The BRIT sustainable winegrowing award

Yealands’ list of sustainable programs is long and impressive. That takes commitment and vision,” said Ed Schneider, BRIT's president and director

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is pleased to announce the winners in its 2017 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition. The platinum medal goes to Yealands Family Wines (Yealands) of Marlborough, New Zealand, based on the winery’s on-going programs that address the three elements of sustainability: environmental, economic, social – and of course, how well the wine itself tastes.

Yealands’ achievements in sustainability include being the world’s first winery certified carboNZeroCertTM as well as operating New Zealand’s largest solar array: generating over 411 kilowatts of power while offsetting 82 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2). Other innovative sustainable programs include: wind-powered energy; using a flock of miniature Babydoll sheep to graze in between vine rows reducing the need for mechanical mowing; installing floating solar-powered lighting in its wetlands which attract grass grub beetles thereby reducing the need for chemical pesticides while protecting the grapevines; and burning vine pruning instead of propane gas thus eliminating over 180 tons of CO2 per year.

The awarded wine was Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

“Yealands’ list of sustainable programs is long and impressive. That takes commitment and vision,” said Ed Schneider, BRIT's president and director. “Peter Yealands’ goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable winegrower could only be slightly upstaged by the quality of his wines.”

Established in 2008, Yealands Family Wines is located in the Awatere Valley in Marlborough and is New Zealand's most coastal vineyard. It is part of the Yealands Wine Group which was formed in 2011 when Yealands Estate acquired Hawke’s Bay boutique winery, Crossroads, and The Crossings. The combined entity is now one of the largest privately-owned wine companies in New Zealand, with a global reach of more than 70 international markets.

Additional BRIT sustainable awards went to:

Gold medals

  • Halter Ranch Vineyard, California. Halter submitted its 2014 Halter Ranch Ancestor.
  • Bodega Tapiz, Argentina. Tapiz submitted its 2013 Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec.
  • Château Couhins, France. Château Couhins submitted its 2015 Château Couhins white

Silver medals

When submitting for the competition, wineries are asked to provide a self-assessment of their organization's accomplishments in sustainable winegrowing, winemaking, and ecopreneural/social responsibility practices. They describe their organization's conservation efforts in the field and in operations; how waste is avoided, how it is reclaimed, and how the winery extends conservation efforts to its customers. They also are required to submit a bottle of wine for a tasting by the judging committee.

Competition for BRIT’s 2017 international award began July, 2016, when wineries submitted applications documenting their sustainable programs relating to environmental, economic, and social aspects of grape growing, and wine production along with their wine samples.

Because the BRIT award is the only international award of its kind, it is of primary interest to wineries which care deeply about the environment and are taking a leading role in their community/region/country by implementing sustainable practices. Sustainable winegrowing programs are, by nature, ongoing, so a key part of each program is its continual improvement process.

As a non-profit, international plant research and knowledge sharing organization, BRIT offers this award to help raise interest and awareness of the value plants bring to our lives and the need for biodiversity.

Presentation of the platinum award to Yealands Family Wines will be made on Thursday, March 30, 2017 during the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival at the W. R. Watt Arena in Fort Worth and will feature a first ever, 1,000-person toast to the winner.

BRIT’s 2018 sustainable winegrowing competition begins May 1, 2017, with the competition’s Call for Entries news release and the 2018 application posted on the BRIT web site, http://www.BRIT.org/wineaward. The submission deadline is July 31, 2017.

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Chris Chilton
Botanical Research Institute of Texas
since: 01/1987
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