Sustainable Practices for the Wine Industry

The Impact of Climate Change

Wine lovers try not to panic! But global wine production could be severely hampered by climate change.

Production is set to fall by 5% this year, according to the International Organisation of Wine and Vinen (OIV). What’s more, this year will rank the lowest wine production rate on record for the last two decades. Data shows steep drops in production in most of the southern hemisphere. This can be attributed to rising temperatures, which means crops are more likely to be damaged or die.Wine Production

Countries particularly affected are Chile and Argentina. Here wine production is expected to fall 35% and 21%, respectively. Bad news, especially if yo
u enjoy Malbec!

To mitigate the impact of climate change, businesses are urgently implementing environmentally sustainable practices.  After all, our future lies in managing our limited water resources, and reducing our greenhouse gas generation.

Challenges Faced by the Wine Industry

The wine industry faces multiple challenges. One of the biggest is global warming, which is severely affecting the stability of wine production.

Likewise, world population is rapidly increasing, and the scarcity of suitable land for agricultural food production continues to intensify. These factors, together with a changing climate, are putting pressure on grape producing areas for the use of land, and finite resources.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions have pushed harvest dates forward across the globe. In the long term, if the temperature continues to rise, this will have detrimental effects on the growth and maturation of grapevines.

It takes heat to ripen grapes. But, too much heat can be disastrous for grape producing areas. For instance, if the growing season is extremely warm, the grapes may be more susceptible to drying out, over-ripening and diseases and pests. This will affect the grape yield.

Equally, the quality of the wine may be affected. Wine producers are heavily reliant on their grapes to have a distinct type of colour, flavour and sugar content. Thus, overly ripe grapes will become grapes that taste unbalanced, and possibly bland.

Water Shortages

As global warming accelerates, many regions are finding themselves exposed to water deficits more often. One region that has been hit particularly hard by the severe droughts is California, which is entering a sixth year of drought.

According to a report by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the 2012-2015 period have been the driest four consecutive years on record for water supply in California. The report, which examines drought conditions for the 2016 water year, also states that precipitation was at a mere 1580 mm (62.2 inches) over that period.

And it’s only going to exacerbate, and occur more frequently as a result of climate change. The 2017 water year looks extremely uncertain for California. While no one can predict the exact amount of precipitation that the state will receive in 2017; California is progressively running out of water.

Therefore, this needs acting on urgently, and water conservation needs to be a way of life.

Tackling Climate Change Through InnovationWine Production

So, yield and water shortages are a big problem for the wine industry. But what measures are businesses implementing in order to offset the potential impact of climate change?

De Bortoli Wines, an Australian family run company, is extremely committed to sustainable business initiatives. They have introduced an environmental management plan, namely their ‘Carbon Economy Project’. This comprises of policies on water use, climate change, wastage and greenhouse gas minimisation. And so far, this seems to be working well for them. Along with the environmental and sustainable benefits, it’s also resulted in healthier fruit, that in turn produces better quality wine.

For many wine producers, water conservation is extremely high on the agenda. In a project by HPS, our long-standing client Orlando Wines, estimate that they are finding water savings of 40 Mega Litres per annum by installing HPS pigging technology. They have also made significant savings on their wine yield, of around 440,000 litres per year.

Similarly, HPS also assisted Wineworks, to increase their yield and use less water. Here’s a case study illustrating how innovative product transfer solutions helped them.

Wine Production and Pigging

As well as increasing yields and reducing water usage, pigging has a wide range of benefits. A large proportion of wine is lost each year during product changeover and pipeline flush and cleaning processes, as valuable product is flushed away. That’s where pigging helps, as it recovers saleable product which may otherwise have gone to waste (recovery up to 99.5%), along with speeding up product changeover times.

Because pigging and product recovery systems greatly reduce waste, and increase yields and efficiency, they also deliver a high return on investment. A typical system commissioned by HPS, usually pays for itself, extremely quickly in less than 12 months.

You can find out how much a pigging system could save you by using our quick and easy Pigging Systems Savings Calculator.Wine production and pigging

Find Out More

HPS is the world’s leading specialist in Liquid Product Recovery, Product Transfer and Pipeline Pigging.

HPS has successfully commissioned thousands of systems throughout the world. If you work with HPS, you have the assurance that organisations, both large and small use our systems every day. These include the likes of Mars, Orlando Wines, Coca-Cola, WineWorks, Nestle, P & G, Unilever and many others.

For more information about improving your yield and reducing water usage through product recovery, pigging and liquid transfer solutions, please contact HPS.