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.
BRIT uses a place-based evaluation ranking system to determine awardees. The overall winner receives the BRIT Sustainable Winegrowing glass award scuplture and platinum medal, second place receives the gold medal, and third place receives the silver medal. In case of ties, BRIT awards multiple level-specific medals. The Sustainable Winegrowing award and platinum medal are presented during BRIT’s Fête du Vin Wine Dinner and Auction held in Fort Worth, Texas during the month of October. Wineries that are actively demonstrating a commitment to sustainability are encouraged to participate. As the only international sustainable winegrowing award, BRIT hopes to attract progressive and passionate wine organizations from around the world that practice innovative “ground to glass” sustainable techniques.
Nominators are required to provide an assessment of their organization's accomplishments in sustainable winegrowing, winemaking, and ecopreneural/social responsibility practices. They must 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 required to submit a bottle of wine for a tasting by the judging committee.
The application is comprised 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.
For 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 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.