Picture New Zealand and the first image to come to mind is often of lush green forests, sparkling blue waters and scenic views fit to frame beautiful postcards. Although this country offers picturesque views and serenity like no other, it is also sought after as a popular wine tourism destination. New Zealand is an award-winning new-world wine country, that represents clean, sustainable, quality winemaking with over 98 percent vineyard producing area certified under Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ).
What Is Sustainable Wine Tourism?
As a beverage, wine is often associated with leisure, luxury, and fun. It complements any cuisine extremely well and is widely considered an art, one that needs to be experienced. Wine tourism is a special-interest tourism that travelers and tourists often seek in new places, as a way of entertainment and learning something new. It can be seen as visitations to wineries, vineyards, wine shows, and festivals that provide wine tasting experiences along with educating partakers about the attributes of specific wines.
Sustainable wine tourism, on the other hand, includes the same activities along with production and consumption, carried out in a more sustainable, eco-friendly manner. Each year, an increasing number of wine enthusiasts and makers are becoming aware of the negative impacts of unsustainable wine production, and are re-thinking the old practices of winemaking and selling.
How Does New Zealand Do It?
Although the climate and geography are key to the wonderful and robust world-class wines produced by the country, the dedication towards sustainability within winemaking and wine tourism in New Zealand is achieved by focusing on six major aspects including; soil, people, climate change, water, pest/ disease, and waste. The country aims to produce wines that reflect its geography and environment to reduce the pressure on its resources and prevent the exploitation of its natural capital. Within the New Zealand wine industry, sustainability is considered essential to the process of winemaking, as well as the quality of the output and the overall success of the industry.
Sustainability, conservation, and the reduction of waste are now firmly entrenched within the culture of the wine industry of the country, with an aim to be a hundred percent sustainable in the years to come. The industry is firmly kept in check by Sustainable Winegrowers New Zealand (SWNZ), a voluntary initiative by the industry beginning in the year 1995, to uphold the framework of the industry standards. The programme provides a basic framework of economic, social, and environmental sustainability practices in wine growing and production that need to be adhered to and all wine produced needs to be independently audited.
Over 95 percent of the wine produced is processed under the Sustainable Winegrowers New Zealand programme, and within the accredited wineries and bottling plants. New Zealand winegrowers that comply with the SWNZ are the only ones allowed to partake in key wine events globally. A number of the country’s best wineries follow holistic, and eco-conscious sustainable practices in terms of farming, processing, packaging, and selling. Most wineries are organic and biodynamic, making the wine industry as well as wine tourism in New Zealand, an exemplary example to be followed by the world.
What can the World Learn?
While there are numerous lessons the world can learn from New Zealand on sustainability, the global wine tourism industry can mirror their concern for the environment and the social responsibilities followed by the country’s wine industry. The global wine industry can try to make sure that sustainability is a way of business and not just a passing wine tourism trend!