Newsletter of the Waste Minimisation Club
for Wineries in the Breede River Valley District
Issue 3, April 2003
This is the third edition of the Wine Sustainabulletin – the quarterly newsletter of the Waste Minimisation
Club for Wineries in the Breede River Valley District. We trust that everyone’s harvesting season went well
and hope that the flood damage in the Bonnievale, Robertson and Ashton area was not too severe and
that all will return to normal for those affected as soon as possible.
Darrin McComb & Henry Stoch, BECO-ISB
In this Issue: Treasurer:
• Waste Minimisation Club Update...........2 Willem Joubert – Ashton Kelder
• Sustainable Viticulture ...........................2 Secretariat:
• Developments in Alternative Cleaning BECO - Institute for Sustainable Business
Agents for Wineries: an Australian Darrin McComb
• Environmental Training - Incentives to go
for it! ......................................................5
Table 1 - Official WMC Members 01/03/03
• Why adopt an Environmental
Management System ?..........................6
Company Contact Phone No.
• Useful Information .................................8
Ashton Kelder Willem Joubert 023 615 1135
Clairvaux Louis Bruwer 023 626 3842
De Wetshof Willie Stofberg 023 615 1853
KWV Ernest Oliver 021 807 3032
Langeberg Paul Marais 023 626 2212
McGregor Gerhard Swart 023 625 1741
Robertson Hans Lismor 023 626 3059
Roodezandt Jacques du Toit 023 626 1160
Zandvliet Johan van Wyk 023 615 1146
WASTE MINIMISATION CLUB UPDATE
Henry Stoch, BECO-ISB
shows that you have taken the first step
Greetings to you all. The past 3 months has
towards monitoring and measurement of
been a frantic time for everyone at the
your environmental impacts. This is a most
wineries. The harvesting and winemaking
commendable feat and the challenge now
season is an experience to behold and I
lies in the actions that are taken in
certainly have enjoyed being in and around
response to the analysis of the information.
the wineries during this busy time.
The reports will be sent to you in early May.
You would have noticed a few BECO guys
In this newsletter we take a look at expert
wandering about your facilities while the
opinions from Australia on sustainability
grapes have been pouring in. We at BECO
and the importance of a structured risk
have made use of the busy production time
assessment and management process.
to source valuable information that will
provide us with insight into the areas of high We read about alternative cleaning agents
wastage and areas of potential cost to Caustic and the value thereof, and we
savings. look at the benefits to wineries of adopting
an environmental management system.
These ‘cleaner production scans’ that we
Included, is an article, which proves that
have conducted at your wineries will
environmental training should become an
provide you with the starting point to
integral part of one’s environmental
implementing your environmental
management. You will also find very
interesting information in the Useful
The fact that you belong to the waste Information section on sustainability
minimisation club and have played a role in practices of wineries in California.
this entire information gathering process
By F.M. Wigg, Viticulturist, Southcorp Wines, Australia
Our natural resources provide the basis for Today some of our most prized wines are
production of wine. Any degradation of this made from vines planted over 50 years ago
environment limits our future productivity and vines aged more than 100 years old
and financial viability. Evidence of the are still capable of producing sought after
declining health of our natural resources grapes.
can already be found in the increasing salt The concept of ‘terroir’, so beloved of the
levels carried by our rivers, rising water French, is predicated on the interaction of
tables, loss of topsoil by erosion and environmental factors such as climate, soil
decreasing biodiversity. and water. When combined with sustained
A stark message comes from Fretz et al export success, these factors indicate that
(1993) who state that ‘farming systems the wine industry has a vested interest in
which fail to conserve their resource base maintaining and enhancing its natural
will eventually lose their ability to produce’. resources well into the future. In addition,
This simple truth is perhaps the most potent consumers are increasingly concerned
driver of change in current agricultural about food safety and the quality of the
production systems. products they consume.
They are also interested in the impact of Sustainability: the indefinable
pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and food Sustainable viticulture is a term often heard
additives on human health and the but rarely defined. Sustainability lacks a
environment. Excessive or incorrect use of firm definition perhaps because it
pesticides and some encompasses a set of fundamentally
chemical fertilisers has resulted in problems different concepts (Pannell and
such as pesticide resistance by insects, Schilizzi1998). No single definition is
weeds and disease organisms. Many useful satisfactory without being multifaceted;
organisms which aid in biological control of covering a broad range of related and
pests and diseases have often been important issues.
unintentionally damaged by non-specific The Standing Committee on Agriculture
pesticides. Soil health has also declined as (SCA) Working Group on Sustainable
a result of the destruction of soil-borne flora Agriculture (1991) defined sustainable
and fauna due to excessive cultivation, agriculture as:
toxicity or loss of food source.
• the use of farming systems and
Consumer concern is reflected in the
practices which maintain or enhance;
increasing interest in organic products.
World trade in organic products was • the economic viability of agricultural
estimated at US$11 billion in 1997 and production
growing at the rate of 20% per year
• the natural resource base, and
(Parlevliet 2000). Consumers are strongly
indicating their preference for safe foods • other ecosystems which are influenced
produced without detriment to either people by agricultural activities.
or environment. Even though arriving at a definition is
Another issue to consider is the role of the difficult, some say impossible, the
environment as a future trade barrier. The underlying issue of its importance gives rise
World Trade Organisation may oversee the to the need to be able to evaluate a
removal of barriers and subsidies amongst system’s sustainability.
countries but there is no law against This should include risk identification and
retailers themselves setting standards for the development of a plan to manage risk,
environmental sustainability. Retailers are which incorporates targets and best
free to buy from anyone who meets their management practices. Such a system
requirements. This offers the potential to must have a demonstrated capacity to
create an informal system of environmental implement, monitor and review the
protectionism which is outside the auspices management plan whilst implementing a
of the WTO. Examples of such continuous improvement cycle.
environmental standards can already be
seen in the purchasing policies of Britain’s An external audit capacity may also be
largest supermarket chains. It only remains required to satisfy scrutiny from customers.
to be said that the Australian wine industry In short, these are some of the elements of
relies heavily on exports to sustain growth an environmental management system,
and that the potential is there to miss out on which acts as a tool to achieve set goals.
market opportunities if demonstrable Specialists have suggested that beyond the
improvements are not made in capacity to demonstrate sustainability, such
environmental performance. a program should be based on a set of
goals rather than a specific set of practices
as such practices may differ between sites.
Developments in Alternative Cleaning Agents
an Australian Perspective
Chris Astley, Chief Chemist and Quality Manager, Chesser Chemicals, Australia
The brown film is mainly protein based, but
also contains tannins that can oxidise and
polymerise with time making the film even
more difficult to remove.
The traditional method of tartrate removal is
to use sodium hydroxide, or caustic soda as
it is commonly called. This is readily
available in either a 99% pearl or solutions
with either 40 or 50% w/w caustic. Caustic
is effective at tartrate removal and is a low
The wine industry in Australia has cost material.
experienced rapid expansion in recent
years. This expansion has lead to problems However, it is very hazardous to users, and
with effluent disposal in many areas. The leads to a significant increase in the sodium
traditional method of tank cleaning in ion content of the effluent. Solutions of
wineries uses large amounts of sodium caustic are circulated through a spray ball
hydroxide. This leads to an increase in the or other cleaning head, and after about 30
salinity of the effluent, which can lead to minutes the tank is generally clean.
reductions in crop yields and eventually to The solution is dumped, and the tank rinsed
the land becoming unusable. a number of times with water, before a final
About two years ago Chesser Chemicals acidic rinse.
approached the IR&D Board with a Our project involved a number of stages.
proposal to develop improved cleaning
agents for wineries. The IR&D Board Stage 1 – Environmental Benefit through
through AusIndustry approved an R & D Reduced Caustic
start grant to develop the products. The The first product developed was based on
main aims were both environmental with a caustic soda, but at a reduced level. A
reduction in the amount of water used, and blend of special low-foam caustic stable
salinity of the effluent, and to improve surfactants, dispersants and sequestrants
Occupational Health and Safety. were used to increase penetration and
First – what do we need to clean in a wine removal of tartrates. A controlled trial at
tank? Stonehaven Winery monitored temperature,
pH and tartrate removal on two 23,000 litre
The main deposit to be removed is the tanks with equal heavy tartrate deposits
tartrates. Principally potassium bitartrate, from cold stabilisation of white wines.
but also with some calcium tartrate present.
One used our formulated product and the
The tartrates vary in thickness, porosity and other an equal amount of caustic soda. The
hardness, so amounts of product used can formulated product was much more
vary significantly. The other soil is the effective with 98% of tartrate removed after
brown film. Ask anyone from a winery if 25 minutes. The caustic soda only removed
they have any cleaning problems and the about 50% of the tartrate.
brown film always comes up.
Stage 2- Occupational Health and Safety Training
Benefits The last point we shouldn’t overlook in
The next stage produced a non caustic more environmentally effective cleaning is
product that is much safer for the operators. staff training. There is always the risk of
It gives excellent results on light to medium overusing caustic to get a quick result. This
tartrate deposits. However, as it is based on then leads to an increase in salinity, and
sodium containing alkalies, it does not lead extra water is needed to rinse.
to any reduction in sodium ions in the pH is an excellent guide as it drops as
effluent. But as the final pH is much lower, tartrate is dissolved. A final pH of the wash
less rinsing is required resulting in some solution of 10 –11 shows just enough has
saving in water. been used. If it is still 13 – 14 too much is
Stage 3- Environmental Benefit – being used. The pH strips are a useful
Potassium Based guide and can be used for training and
monitoring. Much more accurate than the
Potassium hydroxide is significantly more
commonly used method of putting the
expensive than sodium hydroxide. But its
fingers into the solution to see if it still feels
use will lead to a much lower sodium ion
slippery. A well-trained experienced work
content in the effluent. Potassium like
force will lead to a reduction in usage of
sodium is a monovalent ion so can still lead
chemicals. Add this to the introduction of
to soil permeability problems. However it is
more effective products and effluent
an important ingredient of any fertilizer and
problems will be a thing of the past.
so should have beneficial effects on plants.
Environmental Training - Incentives to go
Henry Stoch BECO-ISB
South Africa’s education and training policy will enable them to operate within the
is steadily transforming the face of our confines of environmental legal
educational system. The National requirements and, at the same time,
Qualifications Framework (NQF) is manage their activities more effectively.
committed to the full development of each Organisations can claim back sizable
learner and to the social and economic percentages of fees paid for accredited
development of the nation at large. The courses from the SETA where they are
main change is the change in emphasis. registered. The payout percentage will
The shift in thinking is from education for determined by the SETA and will depend
employment – developing the ability to do a on the status of the authority’s Work Place
specific job – to education for employability Skills Plan.
– developing the ability to adapt acquired This is of particular relevance to the
skills to new working environments. wineries if they intend on developing true
Organizations registered with their SETA organizational change (at a reduced cost!!)
(sector education training authority) will be for all involved in the production process.
getting value for money when they pay for Training staff on washing techniques and
training programmes that are SAQA (South best practice in winery cleaning would
African Qualifications Authority) accredited. certainly assist in minimizing water wastage
as well as chemical cleaning agent
It is a guarantee that learners will be
wastage, both protecting the environment
equipped with skills that will build
and reducing related costs.
environmental management capacity, which
The excuse of training being too expensive
is no longer valid! Make the organizational
WHY ADOPT AN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
By: David Baker, Environmental management systems officer
Co operative Research Center for Viticulture
What is an Environmental Management It is a tool for building environmental
System? considerations into the day-to-day conduct
An Environmental Management System is a of business.
formal management plan for conducting all As portrayed in the figure below, EMS is a
of your activities in a manner which cyclical process of Plan, Do, Check and Act
minimises any negative impacts upon based upon the key principal of continual
environmental quality and, where feasible, improvement.
maximises any positive impacts.
Drivers for the Adoption of EMS in the recognise the environment is in effect the
Industry “factory” in which the grapes are
manufactured. Traditionally environmental
There are two basic needs that growers
management in the Industry, has consisted
and wineries (and all other businesses)
of a primarily common sense approach
have with respect to environmental
based upon the experience, knowledge and
instinct combined with an observation of
(a) The need to do the right thing and (b) regulations. But is this enough?
the need to be perceived to be doing the
It is to be hoped that few in the Industry if
right thing. These combined with (c) good
any, manage their grape and wine
business sense make EMS something that
production on an ad hoc, reactive basis. A
growers and wineries should adopt.
planned and informed systematic approach
It is assumed that no one in the Industry is used because this will produce better
wishes to damage the environment. Most outcomes.
This is also the case for financial In summary the potential benefits of having
management. Given these examples why an effective EMS in place, include that it:
should we then expect the best
• Provides evidence of responsible &
environmental results without a formal
effective management with respect to
An effective EMS should:
• Provides evidence of reasonable care
• make growers / wineries more aware of and regulatory compliance (proof that
the impact that activities have upon the obeying laws, reduces unintentional
non-compliance, can act as own whistle
• enable the identification of
• Maintains and/or improve relations with
community, government, other growers,
• instigate action to address these with industry, environmental organisations;
an outcome of improved environmental
• Leads to enhancement of image
(become advocates for the
(b) The activities of growers and wineries environment);
are increasingly subject to the scrutiny and
influence of external stakeholders including: • Has the potential for value adding from
addition and/or identification of an
• Government(s) environmental premium to output;
• Environmental interest groups • May act as entry ticket to markets;
• General public May lead to potential operational
If growers/wineries cannot successfully efficiencies & savings;
demonstrate to these stakeholders a level • Facilitates obtaining of permits,
of environmental performance that satisfies licenses & authorisations;
the stakeholder’s expectations, then there
is the potential for an adverse impact upon • Can reduce the number and magnitude
the Industry’s activities in the form of of adverse incidents. This will reduce
increased regulations or restrictions. (One the risk of damage and/or liability,
example of the significant influence of which in turn could lead to a reduction
stakeholders (consumers) has recently in insurance premiums;
been highlighted with the GMO debate). An • Demonstrates due diligence in legal
effective and accepted EMS can be used matters;
as evidence to stakeholders of an
environmentally responsible approach to • Places the organisation in a position to
business activities. call upon or even insist upon improved
environmental performance from other
(c) In addition to addressing these two organisations (eg. other growers,
basic needs, the main motivation for wineries, government);
implementing an EMS should be that it
makes good business sense. An EMS can • Reduces the likelihood of increased
be a cost-effective means of managing government regulation for well-
environmental impacts with significant managed organisations/industries;
potential benefits. These benefits, relative May lead to development of solutions to
to the associated costs, should provide the environmental problems which may have
incentive to implementing and maintaining commercial benefits; and perhaps most
an EMS. importantly,
Ensures long term sustainability to the expectations for EMS are important drivers
resource (and the business). for action to be taken today.
These drivers provide a strong argument in Given that individual growers and wineries
favour of the use of EMS. The real are more likely to be focused with issues on
explanation for lack of adoption probably a short to medium term basis, it perhaps
lies in the fact that awareness and falls to the Industry peak bodies to use their
understanding of the drivers is not sufficient whole of Industry perspective to address
and /or widespread in the Industry. In such a longer-term view.
particular, there needs to be recognition
that future stakeholder demands and
Websites: CCVT developed the Positive Points
Wine Institute brings together the resources System, the first description of a regionally
of 624 wineries and affiliated businesses to based, collaboratively designed,
support legislative and regulatory advocacy, sustainable vineyard.
international market development, media The PPS is a tool to educate and guide
relations, scientific research, and education growers towards more sustainable and
programs that benefit the entire California reduced-risk growing practices. It
wine industry. addresses six categories of vineyard
Code of Sustainable Winegrowing operation:
• Pest Management
• Soil Management
• Water Management
• Viticulture Management
• Wine Quality
• Continuing Education
The Central Coast California Environmental Protection
Vineyard Team Agency’s EMS pilot project on wineries:
(CCVT) is a
based partnership wine0600.htm
of winegrape growers,
wineries, University of California New Zealand Industry
Cooperative Extension farm advisors, Guide to Zero Waste:
consultants and the Department of
Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
Central Coast Vineyard Team: Go to http://www.nzbcsd.org.nz/