Program terms

1. Governance and continuous improvement

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is managed by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) with governance, endorsement and active support from Australian Grape & Wine and Wine Australia. Convened by Australian Grape & Wine, input to the program is also provided by a Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) which includes program users, regional representatives and other key stakeholders. The committee provides insights and recommendations to Australian Grape & Wine on emerging issues affecting the reputation, resilience and sustainability of Australia’s grape and wine producers. Recommendations are used to guide advocacy in the political and regulatory environment. The committee helps identify and make recommendations to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia joint steering committee (which has representatives from the AWRI, Wine Australia and Australian Grape & Wine on emerging sustainability issues that may impact the program.

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.

2. Membership

2.1  Membership types

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia membership is available to all Australian vineyards and wineries. Vineyards and wineries must hold separate memberships because the data provided by each part of the business is different.

Vineyard membership

Vineyard membership may be held by any Australian wine-grape vineyard. Multiple vineyard blocks/sites may be covered under a single membership if the sites are owned by a single business entity, operate under a single management system and if they are in the same GI region. Separate memberships are required for vineyard blocks/sites which are owned by different businesses, are managed differently (e.g. organic versus conventional) or are in different GI regions. Hypothetical examples of these membership scenarios are provided here.

Winery membership

Winery membership may be held by any Australian winery site.

Wine Business membership

A Wine Business is a business which produces wine, but which does not own any physical winery assets. Wine businesses may or may not be directly involved in the winemaking process. For example, a wine business may buy finished wine and not be involved in the winemaking process or it may, in some cases, employ a winemaker who operates through a contract arrangement at a third-party wine processing facility.

3. Period of membership

Membership covers the financial year 1 July to 30 June.

For existing members, membership is renewed from 1 July – 31 August each year. All membership reporting including the data and workbook must be entered by 31 August and the renewal fee must be received by 14 September.

New members may join the program at any time during the year. All data must be submitted and payment complete within two months from the join date.

All data supplied are for the previous financial year; for example, 2021/22 membership commences in July 2021. The data and information supplied at that time is from the 2020/21 financial year.

3.1 Membership suspension

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 do not comply with the website terms and conditions.
  • 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 will forfeit their ‘Certified’ status 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 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 them within a timeframe specified, the membership may be withdrawn, and the businesses details will be removed from the online list of members.

 3.2 Membership categories

There are two membership categories (members and certified members). Members can choose the category that best suits their needs.

Members

Members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia must annually report the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia business metrics and complete the self-assessment workbook. Members do not require an independent audit. Becoming a member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia is a pathway to becoming a certified member.

Certified members

Certified members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia choose to be certified by undergoing an independent third-party audit against the approved certification standards for viticulture and wineries:

Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice – Viticulture – Edition 1 (AWISSP – VIT1)   (available here).

Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice – Winery – Edition 1 (AWISSP – WIN1)   (available here).

For more information regarding certification, refer to section 5.

4.  Membership fees

Membership fees are due at the time of completion of the data and workbook each year. Membership fees are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Sustainable Winegrowing Australia membership fees.

Membership category Membership requirements Annual feesa   Certification fees
Vineyards Winery Winery Business
Member 1. Annually report business metrics and workbook $110 $110 $110
Certified member

1. Annually report business metrics and workbook

2. Triennial certification against the Australian Wine Industry viticulture and winery standards

$110 $110 $110

Trainingb – ~$400

(once only)

Auditc – ~$1,200-$2,000 (applied independently

a Fees are quoted in Australian dollars and include GST. Fees are for one year’s membership (1 July -30 June), payable during the July/August renewal period and are not refundable.

b Fees are quoted in Australian dollars and include GST. Training is a one-off requirement for certification. Fees vary between training providers.

c Fees are quoted in Australian dollars and include GST. Auditing is conducted triennially. Fees vary between independent certification bodies. Members are advised to seek quotes from multiple certification bodies prior to arranging an audit.

5. Certification

Certified members commit to an independent audit once every three years to the certification standards.

5.1 Certification standards

The Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice for Viticulture and Wineries (AWISSP – VIT/WIN) were implemented in 2020. The standards are owned and independently maintained by Freshcare Ltd. Certified Wine Business members are audited against the AWISSP – WIN.

5.2 Other certifications recognised by Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

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). To support the transition to the AWISSP – VIT/WIN, from 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2022, certified members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia may hold:

SAW – ‘green’ and ‘blue’ level audit certificates valid to 30 June 2022.

ISO14001 – audit certificates valid to up to 30 June 2022.

Freshcare Environmental Viticulture/Winery Code of Practice – audit certificates valid to 30 June 2022.

5.3 Certification process

The process for achieving certification:

  1. Attend a one-off Freshcare certification training workshop.
  2. Successfully complete an audit with an approved certification body.
  3. Upload a copy of a valid audit certificate to the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia member website and receive approval from the AWRI.

Certification can be renewed by achieving a successful audit every three years.

5.4  Certification bodies

Registered certification bodies that 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)

5.5 Audit certificates

Audit certificates are issued from the certification body within 10 business days of the successful audit and payment of the audit fee. Audit certificates can be downloaded from Freshcare Online using the logon details provided after training.

6. The Sustainable Winegrowing Australia trust mark

The Sustainable Winegrowing Australia trust mark is available for use by all certified members of the program. Further information about the use of the trust mark can be found in the trust mark rules, which also includes a brief style guide and a list of FAQs.

These Program terms may be amended by the AWRI at any time, such amendments to take effect ten (10) Business Days after posting of the amendments on the website.