Today, environmental awareness plays a role in more and more industries, including in winemaking. Aspects of environmental protection are encountered in most segments of the consumer market, starting with food and ending with cleaning agents and cosmetic products. Sustainability, recycling or the use of renewable energy is hot topic for most companies and industries. In March, a lot of attention is paid to this topic thanks to the world days of the month, special events such as recycling, the World Energy Saving Day or the Planet Hour initiative - it is written in the announcement of the Archbishop's Winery of Vesprem.
Viticulture is an activity with a long history. For those who deal with this, it has always been considered that they do their work in great harmony with nature. But what aspects of sustainability and environmental awareness can appear in the life of a winery today?
-- After graduating from the Department of Viticulture and Winemaking at the University of Horticulture, I spent several months in New Zealand to learn about the viticulture and winemaking processes there. It was nice to see how modern they approach production. It is therefore not surprising that New Zealand is also at the forefront of environmentally conscious and sustainable winemaking and viticulture. According to the 2022 Sector Sustainability Report, 96% of New Zealand's grape and wine industry is certified sustainable and 10% of wineries are certified organic. New Zealand's wine industry aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 - explains chief winemaker Antal Benes for the Hungarian portal agrarszektor.hu.
According to experts, as far as Hungarian production and winemaking are concerned, there are many opportunities to approach production in an ecologically conscious manner, and several of them are applied in the Winery of Archbishop's (Veszprém).
-- We try to pay attention to the needs and quality of the land. For example, we use less soil absorbents and we don't use herbicides either. In addition, we have created rainwater collection points so that we use less and less tap water during spraying, and can use rainwater instead.
At the Archbishop's Winery, they have been growing grapes and producing wine for about 750 years. Wildlife protection also plays an important role at the winery's two vineyards - Mindsentkala and Felšeers.
-- We installed birdhouses and beehives in order to increase the protection of biodiversity. Antal Beneš also touched on the fact that they try to apply aspects of environmental awareness during packaging and bottling as well.
He added that their wines use a recycled aluminum screw cap instead of a cork, which also protects the environment. Their bottles are made of lightweight glass to reduce the burden of transportation and reduce the carbon footprint. Furthermore, their goal is to switch to the use of recycled paper for wine labels and wine packaging (cardboard boxes).
Main photo: Spring in the vineyards of the Plavinci winery
Photos: Organic and biodynamic production at the Imperator winery