Sustainable Austria champions an initiative to promote responsible wine production and consumption, seamlessly blending tradition with a strong commitment to sustainability. Established in 2015, this initiative aims to address the pressing global need for a harmonious balance between economic development, ecological conservation, and social responsibility, specifically in the context of the wine industry.
At the heart of Sustainable Austria is its unique seal of quality, a symbol that distinguishes wines produced under stringent sustainability standards. This seal is not merely a label but a testament to a wine producer's dedication to practices that respect the earth and society. It signifies a comprehensive approach to winemaking, encompassing every step from grape harvesting to élevage and bottling. The criteria for obtaining this seal are multidimensional, focusing on vital aspects such as the careful management of vines and soil, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and overall environmental impact. These criteria are in strict compliance with the European Green Deal requirements, reflecting Sustainable Austria's alignment with broader, continent-wide environmental goals.
The certification process, developed in collaboration with technical experts and the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association, is rigorous and multifaceted. It involves a two-step procedure, beginning with an in-depth internal review, followed by scrutiny from an external auditor. This dual-layered approach ensures that the standards are not only met but are continually upheld. Over the years, a growing number of Austrian winegrowers have embraced this certification, indicating a significant shift towards sustainable practices in the wine industry.
The Austrian Winegrowers’ Association plays a pivotal role in steering Sustainable Austria, emphasizing the importance of nurturing a healthy environment and vibrant local communities. The certification process scrutinizes approximately 360 measures spread across nine critical sustainability fields, including climate, materials, energy, soil, biodiversity, water, quality, social, and economic factors. Each year, the bar is raised higher as the criteria are updated to reflect the latest scientific findings and environmental challenges, ensuring that the certification remains relevant and rigorous.
The credibility and integrity of Sustainable Austria's certification are further bolstered by independent external audits. These audits are conducted by reputable auditing firms, adding an additional layer of verification to the adherence to sustainability standards.
Sustainable Austria is more than just a certification; it is a movement that redefines the wine industry's relationship with the environment and society. It stands as a beacon of hope and a model for sustainable practices, demonstrating that it is possible to produce exceptional wines while caring for our planet and its inhabitants.