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Moving to Net Zero: How wineries can win the war against climate change.

From France to South Africa, the US to Australia, grape growers and wineries are preoccupied with the impact of climate change.
The concern is understandable, given winemaking communities' dependence on the unique terroir and micro climates which allows vines to flourish in their particular region.

One recent example shows why. In September 2021, the French winemakers’ harvest produced a whopping 29% less wine
in 2021 than in 2020, according to a report in the Financial Times.
This was primarily due to climate change induced spring frosts and summer rains and followed by floods in Germany, a heatwave in southern Europe and drought in California.

Recognising that wine is a centuries-old natural treasure, Australia’s wineries are already taking positive steps towards rethinking practices to win the war against climate change and help preserve the environment for future generations, as the recent Sustainable Winemaking 2021 Impact Report makes clear. The report shows how its 568 member vineyards (now up to 767) have been dealing with six key areas of sustainability: water, energy, biodiversity, land & soil, waste and people & business.

Cool changes ahead?

In Australia, of course, we’re used to drought, fire and flood challenges. Now we can add climate change to that list of natural disasters. “Climate change is already impacting the grape and wineries community,” says Wine Australia. “It’s evidenced by changes in grape phenology and harvest dates, which has led to compressed harvests and greater pressure on vineyard and winery infrastructure.”

Adapting to those challenges could include changing growing and harvesting methods, planting different grape varietals and perhaps even relocating to ‘cooler’ regions.

Winemaker Kate Hill has done precisely this by moving to Tasmania. She says, “People talk about harvest dates already being a couple of weeks ahead of where they were 10 to 15 years ago, and we’re seeing a lot of young winemakers moving to Tasmania for that reason.”

Driving energy efficiency

“For many wineries, energy is their single largest operating cost,” says the report. Being such a climate-dependent industry, moving to a more sustainable energy model makes sense in so many ways. In fact, it shows that members who generate on-site renewable energy offset their grid electricity by an average of 4X.

The report shows the encouraging stats that 72% of member vineyards and 82% of member wineries have acted to reduce energy consumption and are prioritising energy-efficient practices.

Duxton winery – a certified winery and vineyard – is another benefitting from energy efficiency practices, running its Wentworth two vineyard’s operations entirely off-grid using a solar and battery system.

While at the famed Wynns Coonawarra Estate, viticulturist Dr Catherine Kidman says the company has embraced sustainable practices, adding that “From 2024 we are going to have 100% renewable energy and then from 2030 we will have net zero emissions.”

As well as reducing energy costs, the drive towards sustainability also makes sense from another business perspective – customer demands. As Tony Battaglene, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia CEO, points out. “More than half of Australian wine consumers are driven by sustainability and this number continues to increase alongside the growing global demands for products that demonstrate sustainable practices.”

According to a study, Leask Agri(certified vineyard) is located in South Australia. They were able to reduce their reliance on the grid by 57% and overall operating costs by 93% after installing a solar system to offset the power needs of the well.

Act now to make an impact tomorrow

Energy Action has helped thousands of businesses across multiple industries make the transition to sustainability and Net Zero. (We achieved Net Zero ourselves this year.)

Energy Action’s services include:

Step 1: Measure your usage and emissions

Step 2: Lower your costs.

Step 3: Consider your emission reduction options

Step 4: Procure at least-cost

Step 5: Fulfilment of certification management

Through our solar auction platform, you can quickly and easily get the right solar solution, at the best possible price, and select the right purchasing method for you. Installing solar will save your business considerable sums while lowering your emissions and reducing dependency on the grid.

To find out more about how we can help you reach your Net Zero goals, contact us.


  1. Financial Times: ‘Climate change tastes bitter to winemakers’ John Gapper, 10 September, 2021
  2. Wine Australia website:
  3. ABC Rural online: Australian wines changes as industry adapts to warming climate. 28 October, 2021
  4. Sustainable Winegrowing Australia 2021 Impact Report.
  5. ABC Rural online: Australian wine industry pushes for sustainable future. 13 October, 2021

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