Bec Hardy Wines & Sustainability
For us, ‘sustainability’ is a life long journey that underpins everything we do. At every stage of the business, we reflect on whether we’re acting in a way that is positive for our planet, our flora and fauna, and for the generations that will live beyond us.
My grandmother, Dr Barbara Hardy AO was a founding member of the not-for-profit Nature Foundation. Growing up around such an inspirational influence made me super conscious of the responsibility we have to the land around us.
We’re so fortunate to live and work in one of the most beautiful pockets of the world, but we can’t pretend winemaking doesn’t have its impact on the environment. As a small, family business, it can be even harder to operate sustainably, as often the responsible choices are the more expensive ones.
Here are some of the ways we try to incorporate a philosophy of sustainability in everything we do:
In the vineyards
South Australia has an enviable climate for grape-growing, but as the driest state in the country, vines do on occasion need additional water to thrive. We continue to look at ways to reduce our reliance on irrigation, as well as ways to reduce the use of herbicides and fertilisers.
Our Lot 94 vineyard in Blewitt Spings is dry grown. When Bec's father Geoff, one of Australia's leading viticulturists planted this vineyard around 30 years ago he recommended planting on drought-tolerant rootstock so no irrigation was required.
Since our acquisition of the vineyard at Tipsy Hill in Blewitt Springs in 2016, we've been reducing our water usage each season as we learn more about the tolerances and behaviour of the vines, gradually moving away from reliance on irrigation.
Sheep grazing in winter and spring reduces the need for herbicides and fertilisers to improve soil health. Plus, beetles from sheep dung burrow down below the surface, taking nutrients with them. Sheep grazing also reduces the use of fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from running a tractor down the vines.
In the Cellar Door
At Bec Hardy Wines, we have an emphasis on local, seasonal and sustainable. We're fortunate to live in the food bowl that is South Australia and have so much sensational produce on our doorstep - so it wouldn't make sense to go anywhere else. Lowering
our food miles is a key consideration when we are creating our menus.
All food waste from the cellar door and office is composted. Paper, cardboard, glass, soft plastics and other recycling is separated and recycled accordingly so that only a small amount of general waste is produced.
At Tipsy Hill
We open our private home and gardens in Blewitt Springs regularly to the public and it’s important that we practice what we preach here.
Plants: We've replaced a lot of the previous owners' European plants that (while beautiful) required a lot of water and pesticides to flourish. We've substituted several with native plants, more accustomed to the soil and climate of South Australia, as well as being more drought- and disease-proof. This transition at the garden continues.
Pesticides: We’ve fully eliminated the use of insecticides in the gardens at Tipsy Hill from 2022. We have recently competed the removal of 60 non-native pencil pones and replaced with the native Lilly Pilly (Syzygium) Straight & Narrow. This has reduced our water consumption by
2,000 litres of water each week.
Waste: Tipsy Hill has nine compost bins and 5 green waste bins! We compost all kitchen and garden waste and return this to the garden over time, improving soil health and water retention. Larger garden waste is mulched, which helps retain moisture in the soil and return nutrients.
Power: We've installed solar panels which has the additional benefit of reducing our energy costs by 70%.
Bottling: We’re researching alternatives to wine closures without jeopardising quality, looking for options that have a lesser impact on the earth. We’ve historically used ‘Diam’ closures which eliminate cork taint, but these contain microplastics and glue, which is not compostable.
Packaging: In 2022 we moved to lighter weight bottles
across all of our range. This change has reduced our consumption of glass by at
least 15,600kg per year. We also use uncoated carboard cartons so as not to unnecessarily cover them with laminate. Packaging options continue to innovate
and we review improved sustainability outcomes with our packaging supply partners each year.
Office & Vehicles: We heavily restrict our use of paper. We use consumer recycled laptops.We operate a minimum number of vehicles and in 2024 begin the transition of these to hybrid initially with a view to fully electric as soon as practical.
Through Our Partners
We're proud to have partnered with Koala Life as a wine sponsor. In 2023 we launched a limited-edition Koala Life Cabernet Sauvignon with a proportion of the sales going directly to the organisation. To date, Bec Hardy Wines has donated more than $1200 to Koala Life from the sale of this wine.
Koala Life is a not-for-profit organisation established to support research into koala management and conservation to secure the survival of the
koala in Australia.
We’re also working with Biodiversity McLaren Vale to help improve the sustainability and biodiversity of our new Lot 94 BSR Vineyard which we acquired in 2022. We have removed invasive, non-native plants such as olives, prickly pear, willow trees, almond trees, African Lovegrass and other invasive weeds.
We will soon begin a trial of regenerative viticulture by eliminating non-native grasses and plants between the mid-rows of the vines and replanting with native grasses and groundcover all in an
effort to attract more beneficial birds and insects to the properties as well as improve soil health.
Bec Hardy Wines has been certified as a member of ‘Sustainable Winegrowing Australia’ (SWA). We are the 536th company in Australia to achieve this accreditation, which is great for a relatively new small family business.
SWA is Australia’s national program for grape growers and winemakers to demonstrate and continuously improve their sustainability in the vineyard and winery through the environmental, social and economic aspects of their businesses. The program takes a holistic approach to managing, supporting and promoting sustainability. It fosters stronger relationships between growers, wineries and their regions.
This is a very important accreditation to us personally and sets us apart from the majority of our colleagues in the Australian wine industry.
The Hardy family have a generational commitment to conservation and whilst we celebrate this success, it paves the way for what’s ahead because, for us, sustainability will grow and continue as does our business.
2023 TELSTRA BEST OF BUSINESS AWARDS
In February 2023, Bec Hardy Wines was a proud state finalist in the Promoting Sustainability category at the Telstra Best of Business Awards.