An overview of the different systems of sustainable viticulture in Austria.
For many years now, sustainability has been an important theme in matters of agriculture. And winegrowing is an extremely concentrated and highly focused form of agriculture, since it involves the careful application of substances dedicated to the protection and care of plants, along with fertilisers in widely varied forms – not to mention its use of many machines and the energy they consume, as well as requiring a great deal of water. Meeting the goals of sustainable viticulture demands that resources be conserved as much as possible, and that production must transpire with the lowest possible level of emissions. And viewing sustainable viticulture from the holistic perspective, its scope expands to include the production chain, the distribution chain and finally the consumer as well.
After the Second World War until the end of the 1970s a backlog demand for foodstuffs persisted. During this period, mechanisation underwent significant development, as did the use of new treatments designed to protect plants from disease and pests. These developments contributed to an increase in production, as well as to safeguarding the supply. Particularly in the area of fertilisers, a great accumulated need had had to be met. On the other hand, mistakes were made during this time in the excessive use of technology and chemicals, along with the accompanying ignorance concerning the effects they would have. Only gradually – in the course of a general consciousness-raising in matters of ecology – did a counter-trend develop, through the implementation of practical, environmentally compatible production methods, like:
Means of production keenly focused upon sustainability are gradually establishing themselves to a greater degree in our vineyards, even as these methods undergo continued and continual development. 6,500 ha (15%) of Austria’s total area under vines is already being cultivated organically*; with this, Austria plays a leading role on the world stage. One fifth of the organic area (1,290 ha) is farmed biodynamically.** 12.4% of the area under vines has been certified as sustainable, while the rest is predominantly being cultivated according to the precepts of integrated viticulture.***
Author: Ing. Karl Bauer, Krems
* Source: Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, as of July 2020
** Source: associations respekt-BIODYN and Demeter, as of January 2021
*** Source: Austrian Winegrowers' Association, qualifying date: 30 May 2020
Sustainable wine glass
The glass "Sustainable Austria" already proved itself as an allrounder in restaurants as well as in hotels. The whole production process of the glass is entirely sustainable and climate-neutral. Orders can be made in the online shop of the Austrian Wine Institute.
This refers to a procedure, to which all economically, ecologically and toxicologically sustainable methods are applied, in order to keep the extent of damage to a minimum and beneath the economic damage threshold.
The most important characteristics of organic agriculture include the prohibitive use of easily soluble mineral fertilizers and herbicides; a conscious cultivation of the vineyard, to naturally promote the health and fertility of the soil, and a respect for its natural cycle.
The biodynamic economic wisdom of a wine estate is based on Rudolph Steiner's techniques.
Sustainable Austria - Certified Sustainable
For many years, sustainability has been an important topic in agriculture and is becoming an increasingly more important issue in viticulture.