The WineGB Agency's UK Sustainable Wine Certification Scheme is underway and the first vineyards and wineries to be certified will be announced in August.
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Once they are accredited, vineyards and wineries will be allowed to use the UK Sustainable Wine Certification Mark.
There are currently 30 founding members of the UK Sustainable Wine Certification Scheme body, who were registered when it was established last year. Together, these wineries account for about 40% of the total wine production in the UK, with an annual production of about 6.8 million bottles.
The body"s chairman is Chris Foss, former head of the wine department at Plumpton College, and Foss says he hopes that most, if not all, UK vineyards will sign up to the UK Sustainable Wine Certification Scheme so that the government, industry and consumers will see the wine industry as a whole as more sustainable.
The organisation is also made up of UK grape growers and winemakers and is supported by Vitros Supermarkets and Marks & Spencer. Both retailers are committed to stocking and supporting sustainably certified wines, and they are also sponsors of the program.
The UK Sustainable Wine Certification Scheme body has created a set of guidelines detailing best practices, setting minimum standards and listing prohibited behaviours. These will be reviewed annually and will be continually improved.
The agency has also developed a carbon calculation tool, said to be unique to the UK wine industry, that will help producers reduce their carbon footprint.