General

Grapegrowers and winemakers commit to the program because they recognise the importance of environmental, social and economic sustainability for their business and the sector. They care about protecting and enhancing the environment for the future, through excellence in sustainability practices today.

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia members commit to annually reporting business metrics and completing a workbook of vineyard and/or winery practices. The program covers the key components of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) and can be applied to both the vineyard and winery. All data entered into the member website undergoes review at the AWRI and, in October, members can access individual, customisable benchmarking reports. Members who choose to be certified undergo an independent third-party audit once every three years, in addition to maintaining Sustainable Winegrowing Australia membership.

All data collected from members is managed under the program’s website terms and conditions, which ensure confidentiality and privacy of all individual member information.

Have another question? Contact us.

Become a member

It covers the financial year, 1 July to 30 June.

For existing members, a renewal invoice is issued annually by the AWRI during 1 July – 31 August and the renewal fee must be received by 14 September.

Once a year. With all reporting to be completed by 31 August each year.  The data set entered is for the financial year just ended.

When you’re ready to commit we can help you get started at any time. But, the reporting cycle is fixed to the financial year period of 1 July – 30 June. All data must be submitted and payment complete within two months from the join date.

$110 per annum per vineyard site or winery. Membership fees are due at the time of completion of the data and workbook each year.

Please refer here for the different hypothetical scenarios.

How to join & renewal

Between 1 July – 31 August each year, the AWRI will automatically issue you an invoice which must be paid by 14 September. Please note, your data reporting must be completed by 31 August each year.

Every year between 1 July – 31 August. The last day to enter any data is 31 August or this may result in a suspension.

Unfortunately, failure to complete the data update by 31 August may result in suspension from the program.

It’s important that all data is received together to allow time for the AWRI to review the data and make it available in individual benchmarking reports, aggregate reports to the regions and as a national report. Data received outside the renewal period is not included in these reports.

Yes, however, data from your business won’t be included in aggregate reports. Snapshots are taken periodically throughout the year which refresh and update individual benchmarking reports with current data at that time.

Members may be suspended or withdrawn from the program for the following reasons:

  • Existing members do not submit their reporting before 31 August and/or do not make payment before 14 September each year
  • New members do not complete their reporting and/or do not make payment within two months of joining the program
  • Members supply false or misleading information
  • Members use the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia name and/or trust mark in any way that could mislead the public or bring the Sustainable Winegrowing  Australia program into disrepute

Certified members may have their ‘Certified’ status relinquished if:

  • A current audit certificate is not uploaded to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia member website
  • The member unreasonably delays or continually defers an audit
  • The member is in breach of the Freshcare Rules

If a member is suspended or withdrawn from Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, and the ground/s for suspension are not capable of rectification or, if capable of rectification, the business does not take the necessary action/s to rectify within a timeframe specified, the membership may be withdrawn, and the businesses details will be removed from the online list of members.

Yes, of course. If your details are the same, sign in (https://member.sustainablewinegrowing.com.au/) using your email address. If your email address has changed, contact the AWRI helpdesk to update your details then sign in to complete the data and workbook. Your suspension will be automatically lifted when payment is received.

The certification process

The Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice for Viticulture and Wineries were developed to support the Australian wine industry and Sustainable Winegrowing Australia members over the past ten years with input from wine-grape growers and wineries, the Sustainability Advisory Committee, auditors and other technical experts.

The wine industry Standards undergo regular reviews, to ensure they continue to fulfil the requirements of domestic and international markets, incorporate the most current science, and remain practical and relevant for the many industry users. This is done in consultation with members, the AWRI and the Sustainability Advisory Committee. The standards are owned and independently maintained by Freshcare Ltd.

  • Attend a one-off training workshop.
  • Prepare your documentation and site for an audit against the wine industry sustainability Standards
  • Obtain quotes from the Certification Bodies and book an audit
  • Complete the audit and fix any issues
  • Upload your audit certificate to Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

Freshcare Ltd is an independent, not for profit organisation which owns and manages the development, application, and certification processes of Standards on behalf of many horticultural sectors.

In 2019, Sustainable Winegrowing Australia commenced a three-year transition to a single certification system, the Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice for Viticulture and Wineries (AWISSP – VIT/WIN). The new standards are an evolution of the Freshcare Environmental Viticulture and Winery Codes of Practice incorporating additional business and community elements. To support the transition to the AWISSP, from 1 July 2020, certified members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia will hold:

SAW – ‘green’ and ‘blue’ level audit certificates dated July 2017-June 2019.

ISO14001 – audit certificates dated July 2017-June 2019.

Freshcare Environmental Viticulture/Winery Code of Practice – audit certificates dated July 2017-December 2020.

All certified members must transition to the AWISSPs from 1 January 2021.

For further information, please contact the AWRI helpdesk on 08 8313 6600 or helpdesk@awri.com.au.

For many people, certification formalises the way they currently operate – not much changes on-ground. You will probably find that you are already keeping many of the records required as a part of running your business (e.g. invoices for tax records, irrigation and spray records). One of the major benefits of certification is the ability to identify risk areas in the business and areas for improvement. The most common changes for vineyards and wineries are in the areas of biosecurity management and chemical storage and management. There are usually additional records to be kept ensuring that your business is focused on continual improvement. All of this is covered in the certification training workshop to ensure you integrate systems and record-keeping in a way that works for your business.

Training ensures that within each business there is a person who fully understands the program, how it relates to the business and who manages the requirements of the Standards without the need for a consultant. Workshops provide:

  • guidance on the practical implementation of the Standards
  • customisable templates and resources to support the preparation and maintenance of the Standards
  • peer to peer learning in groups.

Costs of training are established by the trainer and will vary based on training delivery method (one-on-one vs group training), location, number of participants, materials and catering to be provided and travel costs. The cost also includes a trainer royalty fee (see Freshcare Fee Structure).

In some cases the cost of training may be covered through regional grants. To enquire about the availability of grant funding in your region, please contact your regional wine industry association or the AWRI helpdesk (helpdesk@awri.com.au).

A calendar of upcoming training workshops can be found here. If there are no workshops scheduled, please complete the expression of interest form here.

Contact a trainer directly to arrange training  or check for a training workshop near you. If there are no upcoming sessions scheduled, complete the training expression of interest form here and you will be notified of upcoming workshops presented by the AWRI.

No, training is a once-off requirement. However, you will need to show a copy of your training certificate at audit and you will need to have current copy/ies of the Standard/s that you are being audited against.

If it has been more than five years since you attended a training workshop and you have never been audited, it is recommended that you consider refresher training.

Auditing is undertaken by independent auditors who are associated with approved, independent Certification Bodies. Certification Bodies usually have multiple auditors located in various regions across Australia.

Registered Certification bodies which can audit the wine industry sustainability standards include:

ACO Certification Ltd.

AUS-QUAL Pty Ltd

Merieux NutriSciences Certification (Viticulture Standard only)

NASAA Certified Organic (NCO)

Sci Qual International Pty Ltd

SGS Australia Pty Ltd (Viticulture Standard only)

 

To schedule and book your audit, you can either:

  • Contact a registered Certification Body (listed above) directly
  • Complete the Audit Quote Request Form to receive a quote from all available Certification Bodies

You should allow at least three months to book and schedule an audit.

The first audit can be performed as soon as you are comfortable that you are fully prepared. The second audit occurs three years from the first audit.

Certification costs include:

Cost of audit – Prices for auditing vary (~$1200-$2,000 once every three years) depending on the time taken, size of operation and number of sites, travel and accommodation charges and the Certification Body engaged. Members should source quotes from a number of Certification Bodies to ensure they are getting the best rate available for their business. A quote request form is available on the Freshcare website to assist this process. Some Certification Bodies may offer discounts for group bookings.

Certification fees – Freshcare certification fees are collected by the Certification Body on behalf of Freshcare at the time a business is audited and should be included in the quote for audit. As a not-for-profit industry organisation, Freshcare certification fees fund the operation of all Freshcare programs; no industry or government support is received. Refer to the Freshcare Fee Structure for details on the applicable certification fee(s).

It is important that businesses are well prepared with all the necessary processes in place and documentation required prior to undertaking an audit. Failure to prepare the documentation and on-site processes required will result in a prolonged and costly audit and sometimes, if the criteria are not met at the time of audit, a repeat visit by the auditor may be required and additional costs will be incurred.

  • Ensure you are fully prepared for the audit by familiarising yourself with the requirements of the Standards – vineyard and winery
  • Have all your paperwork or electronic files up to date and easily accessible on the day of the audit
  • If you have other certifications (e.g. organic or HACCP), chose a Certification Body that can audit multiple programs and combine audits
  • Compare the cost of audits using this Quote request form
  • Combine audits to be done at the same time (e.g. food safety and sustainability or organic and sustainability)
  • Contact your winery or regional wine industry association and enquire whether they can help to facilitate discounted audits in your region *

*Some wineries and regional wine industry associations have negotiated discounted audits by coordinating groups of growers and wineries to have their audits done at the same time.

The minimum time for an audit is approximately four hours.

Yes, this is recommended and will likely reduce the time and cost compared to two separate audits. A combined audit should be requested/quoted for by the Certification Body prior to the day of audit. A quote request form is available here.

Businesses with multiple sites that operate under different management systems or are in different GI regions, are required to have separate audits. If the second business is operating separately from the existing business, you will be required to register the additional business with Freshcare by completing an Additional Business Registration Form. Registering an additional business incurs a $93.50 (incl GST) registration fee.

Multiple businesses that operate from one site (address) must be registered with Freshcare separately. An audit must be scheduled for each individual business, but the audits may be conducted on the same day.

There is no additional training requirement when registering an additional business if the trained representative from the existing business will be managing the Standard for the additional business. If this is not the case, training of the person responsible for managing the Freshcare Program for the additional business is required.

Audit certificates are issued from the Certification Body within 10 business days of the successful audit. You can also download your audit certificate from Freshcare Online using the logon details provided to you after training.

To achieve ‘Certified Member’ status of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, you must upload a copy of your audit certificate to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia member website.

There is no set time to achieve certification but for most businesses it takes 3 – 6 months to undertake training, implement practices, establish records and have an audit.

Audit certificates are valid from the date of issue for a period of three years until the end of the certification anniversary month.

Freshcare – if you have maintained the required practices and records, contact an approved certification body to arrange an audit.

SAW and ISO14001 – Arrange to attend an approved training session, ensure the required processes and records are in place and contact an approved Certification Body to arrange an audit.

Trust mark use

  • Achieve certified member status in the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program.
  • Download the logo from the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia online platform, read the style guide specifications and prepare draft artwork.
  • Submit draft artwork and, where relevant, evidence of grape and wine traceability to the AWRI through the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia online platform for approval.
  • Following approval from the AWRI, use the trust mark in accordance with the rules of use.
  • Upload new draft artwork each time new materials featuring the trust mark are created or updated.

Once you’ve uploaded your audit certificate to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia member website, you can apply to use the trust mark.

Yes, you can. Please refer to the trust mark rules of use.

Yes, you can. Please refer to the the trust mark rules of use.

Vineyards must have completed a successful audit prior to the start of the growing season; that is, the certification must cover the vineyard for the entire growing season that the fruit is grown and made into wine. For example, if you’d like to use the trust mark on wines made in 2022, the vineyard must have been audited prior to budburst in 2021.

Other

Carbon neutral claims are used to convey a message about the volume of carbon emissions associated with a particular thing, most often a product or an organisation. If a wine or a winery claims to be ‘carbon neutral’, then the net emissions associated with that wine or winery must be zero. To learn more visit Wine Australia’s FAQs.