Villa Maria has been an active and accredited member of Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ) since its inception in 1995. The vineyards and winery practices are audited annually, and all Villa Maria’s wineries and vineyards are accredited by SWNZ. The viticultural team has worked hard to get all contract suppliers accredited as well. A number of Villa Maria’s own vineyards are now certified organic by BioGro, with the ambition to continue rolling out organic vineyard management.
All Villa Maria’s wineries are compliant to ISO9001 and ISO14001 environmental standards. In March 2010, Villa Maria marked a milestone in sustainability, achieving Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) certification, as part of its strategy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. CEMARS is an internationally recognised carbon reduction programme and focuses solely on measuring and managing an organisation’s carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions profile.
Heat recovery systems have been installed in the Marlborough and Auckland wineries to use waste heat from refrigeration plants in winemaking and bottling processes. The Auckland winery has a night air cooling system installed to keep stored bottled wine at an optimal temperature. Both wineries are designed to make maximum use of natural daylight. Waste grape marc is recycled as stock food or composted as nutrient for the vineyards.
Villa Maria has worked with its glass supplier to produce a lighter weight bottle, helping to cut CO2 emissions. Approximately 70 percent of the packaging used for a bottle of Villa Maria Private Bin wine is made from recycled materials.
In New Zealand nearly 70 percent of the nation’s electricity is generated using renewable sources.