Drivers of organic, biodynamic, and/or sustainable wine production in South Australia

Author: Monal Khokhar

Khokhar, Monal, 2018 Drivers of organic, biodynamic, and/or sustainable wine production in South Australia, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The increased fear of environmental pollution and damage, especially associated with conventional farming, is advancing the growth of environment friendly farming methods. In that context, similar trends have been seen in the wine sector worldwide. Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wine in terms of value and the Australian wine industry is an important contributor to national economy; more than half of the share in the wine sector comes from South Australia. The research aims to analyse the key drivers of adopting organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices in wine production by South Australian wineries. Six wine regions of South Australia were selected for study: the Barossa Valley; McLaren Vale; the Clare Valley; Eden Valley; Coonawarra and Langhorne Creek. Details of 624 wineries from all six wine regions were recorded through a content analysis of the winery websites. Online questionnaires were sent to 202 wineries and of those, 20 wineries responded. Further telephone interviews were conducted with 10 wineries. Based on these data, it can be stated that the main motivating factors for the adoption of organic, biodynamic or sustainable practices were those of environmental concerns. The decision makers implemented these methods in order to improve the health and the biodiversity of soil, and to embrace chemical-free surroundings thereby resulting in better quality fruit. In addition, the certification of organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices was also studied. Views on the certification of wineries and vineyards were asked of the certification and producer organisations, and of the winemakers, in telephone interviews. Most of the responses suggested that the main driver for certification was economic benefit: that is, national and international recognition as high-quality organic, biodynamic or sustainable producers that make perfectly balanced wines that may attract profit through premium prices and higher sales volumes.

Keywords: Wine Industry, Wine production, South Australia, Organic, Biodynamic, Sustainable, Certified organic, Certified biodynamic, Certified sustainable, Certification process, NASAA, PIRSA, SAW, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek

Subject: Earth Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2018
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Andrew Millington