Vinea Wachau is the first regional winegrowers association to become certified with the Sustainable Austria quality seal. Adaptations are expected to be completed by 2023.
Regional winegrowers association Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus (in brief: Vinea Wachau) has a adopted a plan for certification of all members with the “Sustainable Austria” quality seal, awarded by the Austrian Winegrowers Association. The resolution was adopted at a special general meeting on 11 May 2021. Vinea Wachau members mandated the board, chaired by Emmerich H. Knoll, with implementing a detailed project draft by 2023. The Sustainable Austria quality seal certifies resource-efficient and environmentally sound production processes that meet standards of economic and social sustainability.
Vinea Wachau represents roughly 200 winegrowers in the Wachau who produce the trusted brands of Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd. A general meeting was convened especially to adopt the resolution. The meeting brought to a close a two-year series of consultations among Vinea Wachau’s members to decide the association’s path into the future. At four public discussion and information events, and in numerous smaller informal meetings in recent weeks, the association’s membership intensely debated possible trajectories and how to implement them.
In the end, 89 per cent of the members attending the meeting on 11 May 2021 voted in favour of the board’s certification proposal. According to the plan, all members will gradually adapt their farms and estates to meet the Sustainable Austria certification standards, with the association providing active support mainly to small-scale operations. Certification of all members is to be completed by 2023.
“This is about continuing on a common path. Practising sustainability will have impacts beyond the individual farms and estates. It will be one of the factors that shapes the development of the entire Wachau region,” Knoll stressed. He added: “I am proud that we are probably one of the world’s first winegrowing regions to set out on this journey collectively and in community.”
At the base of sustainability are three factors: ecology, economy and society. The Sustainable Austria certification system draws on criteria that reflect these factors and assesses winegrowers based on a total of some 340 processes and key indicators. The economic management of energy, water as well as other resources and the efficient use of machinery are among the features awarded positive scores, as are efforts to encourage biodiversity and indications of social responsibility.
The internationally acclaimed quality seal, a model for the winegrowing industry, is the product of expert research spanning several years. Since Sustainable Austria was first presented in 2015, the criteria have been continuously adapted to reflect new insights emerging from the various related specialist fields.