Meininger's International Wine Conference: Different Concepts of Sustainability

Organic viticulture? Or a zero-carbon footprint? Biodiversity or social sustainability? These crucial topics and the best ways to combine them with economic sustainability, will be addressed at Meininger's International Wine Conference on Sustainability to be held on 18 March Dusseldorf.

Solar panels in New Zealand vineyards (Photo: NZW Inc. Yealands Estate)
Solar panels in New Zealand vineyards (Photo: NZW Inc. Yealands Estate)

Sustainability is now a widely-employed term across the wine world, but its meaning varies depending on where it is being used. 

  • New Zealand, for example, a pioneer in environmentally responsible viticulture and winemaking where almost 100% of the country's vineyard area is already sustainably certified, has gradually increased its focus on cutting its carbon footprint.
  • Thanks to its history, South Africa, on the other hand, has had to take greater account of social sustainability and the need to create fair conditions for all within the industry.
  • Chile, like many other countries, has had to worry far more about water conservatrion than regions of Northern Europe.

Irrespective of the part of the location on the atlas, however, any effort has to be combined with economic sustainability which, for the wine industry ultimately means making and selling wine profitably over the long term to people who want tro buy it.

High-profile debate

"Which sustainability path should the industry take? Ecological, economic and social sustainability in the spotlight." Under this title, three representatives of the wine industry will debate different approaches at the Meininger's International Wine Conference.

Siobhan Thompson has long experience in marketing alcoholic beverages. In particular, she has been the CEO of Wines of South Africa for nine years and is very familiar with the development of the country's own sustainability certificate "Integrity & Sustainability".

Since 2014, Belinda Jackson has been the marketing and sales manager of the New Zealand winery, Lawson's Dry Hills in Marlborough. One of the main focuses of her work is to communicate the topic of sustainability, to consumers and also to encourage other wineries to engage in sustainability.

Marc Dressler

“Can we afford sustainability? 
Sustainability is indispensable to give direction to decisions in the context of the corporate mission statement and the strategic orientation in a continuously changing environment."

Prof. Dr Marc Dressler
Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences/Weincampus Neustadt

Dr Marc Dressler is Professor of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences. He heads the Wine, Sustainability & Sales master's programme at the Neustadt Weincampus. The topic of economic sustainability is one of his key interests and the subject of his 2021 book "Nachhaltiges Unternehmertum" (Sustainable Entrepreneurship), which deals with strategic management throught the lense of the wine industry.


Glass bottles are responsible for around 40% of the wine industry's carbon footprint. Efforts are being made to cut the weight of the traditional bottle to which the wine industry and market are accustomed, but other innovative ideas are emerging on how wine can be packaged in new or more sustainable ways. Three of them will be examined more closely at Meininger's International Wine Conference.

Reusable concept from Baden-Württemberg

Seventeen wine producers from Baden and Württemberg under the leadership of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative Association, several cross-regional beverage industry associations, two trade partners and the Neustadt wine campus are working on a concept for a large-scale returnable system for 75cl bottles. Ute Bader and Simon Lauinger from the BWGV and Tobias Bielenstein from the Genossenschaft Deutscher Brunnen eG reveal the details.

The Frugal paper bottle

Frugal Pac's paper bottle is made of 94% recycled paper and weighs just 83 grams. The company's commercial Director, Paula Kendall is joined by winery owner Ceri Parke of Cantina Goccia in Umbria, one of the first producers to use the bottle.

The flat plastic bottle from Packamama

Packamama's flat plastic bottle is made of 100% recycled PET and weighs only 63 grams - many times less than the conventional glass bottle. Large customers already include Accolade. Company founder and CEO Santiago Navarro presents the concept.


Click here for the full programme and registration.




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