Back in October we received the news that our friends at Churchview Estate in Australia were on the receiving end of two prestigious awards from the Western Australian government.

Churchview received the award for Regional Exporter of the Year, meanwhile its captain, Sharon Bosveld received the WA Woman of the year in International Business.

We felt this was the perfect opportunity to give them some plaudits of our own, for the things Churchview do, that we love the most.

..You guessed it, it’s another instalment of your favourite WINE SUSTAINABILITY CAMPAIGN!!!

Churchview are a perfect example of why we felt the need to create our ‘sustainable’ Rascalism in the first instance. >>>>>>

Despite practicing organic farming techniques for over 15 years, Churchview are still yet to receive their certification.

As well as reducing the use of sulphites in their winemaking (the primary requirement in organics), which is highly beneficial for the surrounding ecosystem, Churchview are another of our wonderful wineries that go the extra mile in the interest of the entire planet.

We caught up with Sharon to ask her all about how and why they do it.

As a family we are passionate about cultivating our land sustainably and using organic farming methods because we love our beautiful Australian environment and understand the importance of carefully looking after it.

What are some of the ways in which Churchview reduce their carbon footprint?

Solar panels on the winery to provide clean energy, especially during the summer months when cooling is required for ferments.

Light weight bottles used on all the Silverleaf and Estate ranges meaning lower carbon in winemaking and for transporting.

We use noncoated cardboard and the highest recycled content we can use for our wine cartons. This means minimal ink use and that no bleaching is required as the board is brown.

No synthetic chemicals used in the vineyard meaning we are not contributing to their manufacture, so a lower carbon footprint on our part.

We use a recycling sprayer so that most of the spray that does not hit the target gets collected and put back in the tank. This means we use less inputs, less water and less driving, so less fuel and wear and tear for the tractors.

We buy tractors that have good fuel consumption numbers.

We do not turn the ground over in the vineyard very often as this releases a lot of carbon from the soil. Over the years we have been here, we have increased soil carbon levels by up to 3%. This make our soils more active and provides better nutrient recycling so fertiliser input is reduced.

We also compost all of our grape marc [solid remains such as seeds and skins] and use this as a soil addition to further increase microbial activity.

We plant trees along boundaries and water areas to increase biodiversity and carbon storage and have 10% of the farm allocated as biodiversity areas.

Why do you think sustainability is important in winemaking?

We believe in stewardship of the land, in taking care of what we have and nurturing for the future.  

How do you feel about Australian winemaking more broadly in the context of sustainability?

We can see a clear shift in our country towards taking better care of the land for long term benefit.

Do you feel any of your eco-friendly procedures can have an effect on the wine itself?

The soil management and organic practices are beneficial for improving vine health and we are then gifted with better flavour of the fruit, which in turn creates better wine. The reduction of chemicals is better for everyone, and particularly the staff who work in the vineyard. They have a better work space which hopefully results in better work.