International Award of Excellence
in Sustainable Winegrowing
BRIT honors organizations in the wine industry that are taking a leading role in implementing sustainable practices with its International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing. At this time, it is the only international award of its kind. The bases for the competition include: innovative sustainable practices in the categories of air, water, and land in both winegrowing and winemaking; social responsibility practices; and wine taste.
Nominators are asked to provide an assessment of their organization's continous improvement efforts in sustainable winegrowing, winemaking, and ecopreneural/social responsibility practices. They should 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 asked to submit a bottle of wine for a tasting by the judging committee.
The application is composed of 18 high-level self-assessment questions focusing on the three tenants of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic aspects. The judging committee looks for a balance between the three. Examples include: seed selection, preservation, diversity; agricultural and winemaking protocols for saving water, soil conservation, saving energy, and integrated pest management; packaging protocols for waste reduction, program for reducing carbon (CO2 e) emissions; sustainable customer service practices; corporate social responsibility program; plan for continual improvement; green facility programs and/or certifications other than winemaking; and leadership in communicating sustainable best practices.
The 2017 platinum award goes to Yealands Family Wines of Marlborough, New Zealand. Gold medals go to Halter Ranch Vineyard, California; Bodega Tapiz, Argentina; and Château Couhins, France. Silver medals go to Muatori, Tenuta Villa Crespia, Italy; Grupo Matarromera, Spain; Bien Nacido Vineyards, California; and Ruffino, Italy.
The 2016 platinum award was presented to Les Vignerons de Buzet of Buzet-sur-Baïse, France with gold medals going to Sandeman and Casa Ferreirinha of Portugal.
The 2014 platinum award was presented to LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards of Lodi, California. Gold medal went to Les Vignerons de Buzet (France); silver went to Ampelidae (France); bronze medals went to Tenuta Oppida Aminea – Muratori (Italy), Azienda Agricola Maltese (Italy), and Red Caboose Winery (USA).
In 2013, Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, has become the first, non-U.S. winery to win the BRIT’s platinum, International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing. Gold medal went to L’Olivera Winery (Spain) and there was a three-way tie for the silver medal between Vignerons de Caractère (France), Jackson Family Wines (USA), and Les Vignerons de Buzet (France).
Past winners also include: Trefethen Family Wines (2012), Parducci Wine Cellars (2011), and Hall Wines received the inaugural award in 2010.
BRIT’s International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing criteria is applicable across diverse regions and countries throughout the world. It’s BRIT’s hope that it can honor wineries from wine producing regions around the world and pay tribute to their sustainable accomplishments.