Wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd hosted its first ever producer forum last week with a focus on how the wine industry can work towards a more sustainable future.

Held at London’s Bafta on June 29, the forum –  ‘Our Future Is Now’ – brought together 60 producers from across eight countries to discuss the latest sustainability practices in winemaking. The event was also held as part of celebrations to mark Berry Bros’ 325th year.

The event saw a variety of roundtable discussions on sustainability initiatives in the industry. Barbara Drew MW, content officer at Berry Bros & Rudd, said many producers mentioned glass bottles as an area of focus, particularly when it comes to reducing carbon footprint.

“There was a really lively discussion in the room on the topic of glass, with representatives from the glass industry discussing how to decarbonise this energy intensive material. Currently glass accounts for around 40% of the total carbon footprint of a bottle of wine,” said Drew. 

“Yet, it was really heartening to see how much research and investment is going into bringing this figure down.”

As well as reducing emissions, the forum found that many producers are on a mission to reduce waste products across the board by recycling and reusing.

Drew mentioned Château Montrose, which has developed a system to capture and recycle all CO2 produced during the fermentation process. A portion of the CO2 is then used to turn water into sparkling water, which is then used to clean the fermentation tanks. As sparkling water allows for a more effective clean, this in turn reduces the volume of water needed for the cleaning process.

Elsewhere, attendees discussed sustainability in viticulture. Drew said that a common practice amongst producers, regardless of soil type and climate, was planting trees around their vineyards.

“[The producers] credited much of the success of their soils and vine health to these trees. This was certainly an idea that hit home with many of those present in the room.”

 Speaking of the event Lizzy Rudd, chair of Berry Bros, said: “As a merchant we are in the unique position to bring people in our industry together. 

“We heard fascinating conversations embracing the challenges we all face, and we look forward to future collaborations to ensure that collectively, the industry is resilient for generations to come and playing its part in sustaining our planet.”