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Sustainability in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is one of the most environmentally sustainable wine grape growing region in Australia.

Sustainability In Mc Laren Vale Biodiverse Landscapes SERIO

Sustainability Snapshot

McLaren Vale is leading the way in organic practices, water management and climate-appropriate plantings.

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First wine region to self-impose water restrictions

In the 1990s, McLaren Vale became Australia’s first wine region to self-impose water restrictions on its underground resources (*source Willunga Basin Water Company).

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65% of our region's annual water demand is from a sustainable source

McLaren Vale is home to the first and largest recycled water network in Australia, that supplies a sustainable water source of approximately 7250ML/annum of recycled water to around 240 irrigation customers across the McLaren Vale wine region.

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Forerunner in regional sustainability reporting

In 2011 McLaren Vale introduced a sustainability program to maximise grower and regional overall sustainability and minimise environmental impacts. In 2019 the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association worked with The Australian Wine Research Institute to develop the single national sustainability program now known as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.

Total Area

433 km2

Area under vine

7,438 ha

Biodiversity Area

653 ha

Organic & Biodynamic

Certified Business

37%

Carbon Neutral

Certified Businesses

1

Regenerative Organic

Certified Businesses

1

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

Total members

231

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

Certified Vineyard Members

122

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia

Certified Winery Members

14

FIRST MOVERS IN SUSTAINABILITY

Since the 1990s McLaren Vale has been leading the way in sustainable winegrowing practices.

McLaren Vale’s growers and producers are the Australian leaders in sustainable winegrowing and McLaren Vale is renowned as the most environmentally sustainable wine grape growing region in Australia, leading the way in organic practices, water management and climate-appropriate plantings. Our abundant natural assets, stunning coastal environment and commitment to making wines that have an unmistakable sense of place has sparked the widespread adoption of sustainable practices.

McLaren Vale was the first region in Australia to declare and manage its underground water resource so that it is self-replenishing. In 1999 McLaren Vale built the first and largest reclaimed water network in Australia, that provides a sustainable water source to approximately 65% of McLaren Vale vineyards. McLaren Vale was also the first wine region to develop a regional sustainability program to maximise grower and regional overall sustainability, and minimise environmental impacts. This Program ran until early 2019 by which point, 72% of McLaren Vale’s area under vine used the self-assessment process to assess and improve practices.

Find out more:

McLaren Vale's Sustainability Timeline

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© Copyright McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association

WATER

McLaren Vale was the first region in Australia to declare and manage its underground water resource so that it is self-replenishing.

McLaren Vale is home to the first and largest reclaimed water network in Australia.

There are three main sources of water in McLaren Vale which are important to irrigated grape production. Traditionally the main sources have been groundwater aquifers in the Willunga Basin and surface catchment dams, where water is collected and stored from natural run-off. Sprinkler or flood irrigation has not been used in McLaren Vale for over 30 years.

In recent years, a third resource has been introduced: treated reclaimed water which is piped into our region from the Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant and Willunga Basin Water Company in the Aldinga area. The use of recycled water is very important to the sustainability of natural water resources as it takes significant pressure off the natural groundwater.

Uptake and use of moisture monitoring technology for making informed irrigation management decisions is increasing in our region.

Maxwell Wines Vineyard Image
© Copyright Maxwell Wines

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

McLaren Vale’s growers and producers have embraced sustainable viticulture and winemaking with a passion that is truly exemplary, making them the Australian leaders in sustainable winegrowing. The region’s abundant natural assets and commitment to making wines that have an unmistakable sense of place result in a steadfast commitment to environmental responsibility and the widespread adoption of innovative agricultural practices.

McLaren Vale's winemakers prioritise practices such as organic and biodynamic farming, reduced chemical usage, and biodiversity preservation. They understand that a healthy ecosystem is crucial for grapevine health and wine quality, which is reflected in the superior wines produced here.

Nearly 40 percent of McLaren Vale's area under vine is certified organic and/or biodynamic, and many more producers are practicing organic, biodynamic and regenerative practices in their vineyards.

Some of the practices that McLaren Vale's growers and producers employ are:

  • Soil regeneration
  • Natural weed control
  • Renewable power sources
  • Encouraging and increasing biodiversity.

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