Somebody page Tim Minchin because we’re dreaming about ‘Drinking White Wine in the Sun’. The heartwarming ode to an Aussie Christmas touches on many deeply relatable themes: love, family and the sheer satisfaction of savouring a delicious glass of vino on a hot summer’s day.
This festive season, and really at all times, we encourage you to drink responsibly – both in terms of consumption and wine selection! There are many wonderful winemakers out there who are going the extra mile to make a bevvy that satisfies not only the mouth but your moral standards – protecting the earth that nourishes the vines.
So you can be the belle of every bacchanal by bringing a bottle of the goodest good stuff, we’ve put together a list of a few of our favourite local sustainable wine brands to sip upon this holiday season. Read on and raise a toast to Mother Earth!
Founded all the way back in 1849, Yalumba is a family-run business based in the beautiful Barossa Valley of South Australia. For over a century, they’ve worked with the land, allowing Mother Nature to guide their process, and championed vineyard biodiversity – a ‘less is more’ mindset making them pioneers in low-intervention winemaking. Yalumba bottled their first 100% organic wine in 2005 and are accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing Australia across all their estate vineyards. They’re a member of International Wineries for Climate Action and this year launched a collection of Australian Certified Organic and sustainably made wines under the label Yalumba GEN.
Temple Bruer has been a trailblazer in sustainable winemaking since it was founded in 1973 by David and Barbara Bruer. Certified Organic for over 25 years and preservative-free since 2006, the brand uses natural methods to ensure fertile soil and to protect its grapes – like cover crops of legumes for nitrogen and cereals for organic matter, and a flock of pest-controlling guineafowl who faithfully patrol their vineyards naturally nabbing any nasties nibbling on their vines. The wine is vegan-friendly and low intervention, with zero synthetic chemicals used throughout the grape-growing and wine-making processes.
The creators of Minimum Wines come from a background in organic vegetable and flower farming and they’ve brought that approach with them to their viticultural process. For over four years their vineyards have operated with organic, regenerative farming techniques, including green manure cover crops, compost teas, mulching, under-vine cultivation and advanced water-saving practices. The end product is Certified Organic, vegan and 100% wild fermented, plus their packaging is 100% recyclable or compostable. They also practise minimum (ha!) waste methodology, composting spent grape marc (all the leftover solid bits when you squish the grapes real hard) so they can return it to the soil.
Round Theory was founded with the express goal “to make great wines that have a positive impact on our planet”. The wines are sustainably grown and sourced from Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand-accredited vineyards in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay and are all vegan certified. As part of the brand’s climate-positive quest, it has partnered with Carbon Click, offsetting at least double its carbon emissions, and contributing to conservation and preservation projects worldwide. Round Theory believes that “small steps made frequently can have an enormous impact over time” which is why the signature squat bottle is 30% lighter and 35% shorter than your typical wine bottle, and made from lightweight clear glass for improved recyclability with labels made from recycled stock printed with environmentally friendly inks.
THE HIDDEN SEA
Under the hills of The Hidden Sea’s South Australian vineyards lies the fossilised remains of an ancient whale, a remnant from 26 million years ago when the Limestone Coast was submerged by a vast ocean, and home to a thriving marine ecosystem. This distant past influences the rich alluvial soil and unique, natural filtration system that helps The Hidden Sea’s award-winning grapes grow. It also inspires its unique mission – for each bottle of wine sold, The Hidden Sea removes and recycles 10 plastic bottles from the ocean. Partnered with the ReSea Project, The brand has already removed 18,534,637 bottles from the sea since 2020. Sounds like a whale of a time to us!
Taking its name from the French expression glou glou – translating roughly to “glug glug” in English – sustainable wine dispensary Glou was born from the disconnect between how wine is made and sold. While not technically a brand, they bypass the single-use bottle and go direct from winemaker barrel to in-store keg, slinging vino in refillable bottles and in turn reducing the weight involved in transporting by nearly half.
Tread Softly makes modern, moderate-alcohol wines as gentle on the environment as they are on your palate. Made by Fourth Wave Wine, a family-owned, Australia-based wine business, Tread Softly wines are crafted from varieties grown and sourced with minimal impact on the environment through expert vineyard and water management. Plus, for every six bottles sold, an Australian native tree is planted in a regeneration program in the Yarra Yarra biodiversity corridor. Since launching the project in 2019, the Tread Softly Forest has restored vital habitat for hundreds of wildlife species and, as of October this year celebrated the milestone of planting over one million trees!
A certified B Corp, Unico Zelo was founded in 2013 by Brendan and Laura Carter, two winemakers incredibly passionate about the power of Australian soil and produce. They aim to work with, not against our unique sunburnt climate, utilising grape varieties that can be dry-grown in desert-like environments, allowing lower water use in the vineyard and minimal intervention practices in the winery. Unico Zelo has also taken steps to reduce refrigeration where possible, resulting in a 70% reduction in energy usage, and has installed solar panels, with an ambition of Net Zero emissions by 2030 – staying warm to keep it cool!
As the festive season rolls around and party invites start to pile up, having a decent non-alcoholic wine up your sleeve can be a smart move whether you choose to abstain completely or just want a break from the booze. Produced in Victoria, NON markets as a vegan, gluten-free wine alternative rather than your typical non-alcoholic wine. Think unique flavours like Salted Raspberry and Chamomile, Toasted Cinnamon and Yuzu, or Stewed Cherry and Coffee. Your taste buds will thank you.
Another brand doing some damn tasty things in the wine-alternative space is the Ghiddy team. The four Sydneysiders behind the label – Tom and Sienna Egan of Jed Wines, Tim Triggs of zero-alcohol distiller ALTD and Thor Bergquist of PS Soda – bring their own distinct pedigree to craft a drop that uses the building blocks of wine to rethink the wine experience.