The Sustainability of Chilean Wines


Vinos de Chile, the country’s premium wine industry trade organization was established in 2007. It took a pro-active role in developing a national sustainability code that would be fair and economically viable. The results of the organization’s work may be seen when purchasing wine at home or during your Chile tours, a seal on certain bottles that reads “Accredited Sustainable-Wine of Chile,” certifying that the wine complies with the country’s standards. The sustainability effort involved establishing definitions, environmental guidelines and tenets of social responsibility. Practices comprising the sustainability code were enumerated.

A Global Reporting Initiative was launched to provide international markets with social responsibility data about the country’s wine producers. It also trained winery personnel how to collect the information and use it to improve performance. Thirty-three meteorological stations were installed in vineyards to monitor weather and climate throughout the wine regions. The data is analyzed by the University of Talca, informing industry about which varieties do best under which conditions and helping producers improve cultivation management. The Energy and Climate Change Project was undertaken to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry, and increase energy-efficiency in winemaking practices.

Additionally, some of Chile’s wine producers have been certified by the international ecological organization, Demeter Association, for employing biodynamic viticultural practices. This concept originated with the 19th century educational theorist, Rudolf Steiner, based on his ideas about the ethical use of nature. His opinions also became the basis for Waldorf Schools the world over that have adopted Steiner’s child-centered suggestions such as the use of Goethe’s Color Theory in their teaching philosophy and curriculum. Wine industry opinions differ about the significance of biodynamics beyond what is accomplished through organic methods and careful oversight of the processes of winemaking.