Oct 25, 2023 | Case Study

Kaurna Country / McLaren Vale, South Australia

By walking through rows of grape vines, picking and tasting grapes, Chester Osborn determines which crops are ready to harvest to start making d’Arenberg winery’s distinctive red and white wines.

For over four generations, the Osborn family have created iconic wines on Kaurna Country in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Now, Chester champions his family’s longstanding expertise in winemaking, lauding traditional methods to make it taste that much better.

Although labour-intensive, both red and white wines are basket pressed, with all reds being further foot-trod during fermentation, to complete a highly controlled and gentle production process. With a range of tours to complement and immerse travellers in their process, d’Arenberg has made a name for itself nationally, is a big-ticket operator on the Big Red Group’s platforms and is a member of Wine Australia.

The d’Arenberg team approaches sustainability with the same effort and attention to detail as they do crafting their wines.

“We undertook the Strive 4 Sustainability Scorecard to champion d’Arenberg’s holistic approach to environmental, social, and governance matters, ensuring that future generations can relish the environment as we do today,” stated Tourism and Events Officer, Hannah Hobbs.

“Our goal is end-to-end sustainability – spanning our vineyards, winery, and tourism offerings. The Scorecard helped pinpoint our successes and areas needing enhancement, especially from a tourism standpoint.”

d’Arenberg’s current commitments to making their operation more sustainable include Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA) Certification against the Freshcare Standard and, for select estates and leased vineyards, NASAA Certification for organic and biodynamic processes.

Their 200KW and 100KW solar PV generators produce 30% of energy used in the manufacturing process, and have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, achieving net zero by 2035. The team also contributes to the conservation of three hectares of protected native shrub located next to the winery, and pests and diseases are carefully monitored to protect the vineyard’s biodiversity.

Of all their feedback from the knowledgeable Ecotourism Australia team, Hobbs found the team were inspired by just how impactful small actions can be on environmental sustainability.

Hobbs said, “The revelation that even the minutest business aspects can significantly impact the environment was eye-opening. It was rewarding to consolidate all our efforts and witness them culminate in our impressive scorecard ranking.”

As they continue striving for tourism sustainability, they found it encouraging to have an outline of easy, actionable improvements that they could start working on straight away.

Looking to a more sustainable future, Hobbs outlined d’Arenberg’s next steps: “As we embark on our net-zero carbon journey, we’re focusing on enhancing winery operations – from tank cooling and energy efficiency to optimal solar power utilisation and water conservation.

“We’re also scrutinising waste streams across the winery, bottling, and restaurants to amplify recycling, reuse, and reduction. We’re even questioning every purchase to find more sustainable alternatives. Our newly formed ‘Green Team’, comprising members from within the business, identifies and champions eco-friendly innovations improvements to our current operations. We believe collective brainstorming accelerates impactful changes.”

The d’Arenberg team found Ecotourism Australia’s online portal to be a great asset to completing their Scorecard, with Hobbs stating, “The portal, complemented by its detailed support, proved invaluable in ensuring we met all criteria and drew insights from exemplars. We appreciated the Scorecard’s user-friendliness, allowing us to save progress and work at our own pace – a boon amidst the hustle of daily business operations.”

Driven by their passion for winemaking and the environment, the d’Arenberg team believes sustainability is a journey worth pursuing.

“For d’Arenberg, sustainability isn’t a one-off project but a relentless pursuit of betterment.”

Learn more about d’Arenberg’s sustainability initiatives: https://www.darenberg.com.au/sustainability/

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