Winery - Sustainability
We at Burch Family Wines believe we have a moral obligation to preserve our rural environment. We believe that a continued focus on good environmental management is positive not only from a sustainability and good business practice point of view but will also help us create a better and a more healthy product.
Burch Family Wines is committed to high standards of environmental performance across all of our business activities with a focus on the Winery & Vineyard sites. We comply with the regulations set by the Department of Environment and have voluntary commitments with the Australian Packaging Covenant and the WFA Entwine program. We see this process as one of continuous improvement with an aim to minimize our environmental impacts.
Winery Environmental Plan
As stated in our Environmental Policy Burch Family Wines is committed to minimizing our environmental impacts, we have changed our thinking and our approach to growing grapes and making wine, moving towards biological farming practices.
The change has been both philosophical and pragmatic in terms of sustainability and environmental responsibility but also by improving our soils, the result is healthier fruit producing a much better quality wine. There are a number of ways we have approached this, as listed below.
We have joined the voluntary organizations of:
The Australian Packaging Covenant – a national organization that ensures that we minimize all packaging used on site.
Download Action Plan Australian Packaging Covenant 2010 - 2016
Winemakers Federation of Australia’s Entwine initiative – an initiative directed at wineries and vineyards that makes us focus on our overall impact on the environment. It specifically mentions the areas of pollution prevention & waste minimization.
Department of Environment
license number: 7413 / 6
Burch Family Wines also has done the following:
Recycling - A recycling program in place for all paper, cardboard & plastic – with individuals in each department charged with monitoring the staff & collection. We also recycle all our dividers from cellar door for reuse. We have also invested in a press for plastic & paper, so that we can compress our waste for easy collection by the recycling companies.
Considered the environment in product creation – We have moved to lightweight bottles for the majority of our MadFish products – both the original series & Sideways. These bottles are up to 28% lighter & as such provide significant energy, water & freighting efficiencies per bottle. We also use 100% recycled board for the Sideways range.
Sheep – We have fencing running through the middle of the property to house about 500 sheep from the wheatbelt. The sheep are here from Autumn to Spring & help maintain the weeds between the vines in lieu of machinery.
Wastewater - The waste water from the winery is recycled for use in irrigation of some trees onsite. We monitor & report our wastewater loading rates on the treelot via irrigation & the soils within the treelot. We are licensed to operate under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 by the Department of Environment & Conservation. Burch Family Wines also estimates & reports emissions to air, land & water as part of the governments National Pollutant Inventory legislation.
Rainwater - All the rainwater off our roof is used to fill our water tanks, when that runs out we have a calcite filter that allows us to alternate to dam water without compromising the site water quality.
Marc pit - All solid waste (marc & sludge) generated by the winery is composted on the marc pad. The compost is then applied onto the vineyard to increase organic matter & soil moisture nutrient retention. It is also used for further composting for Biodynamic preparations.
Reducing our dependence on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides - adopting Integrated Pest Management strategies (IPM) and by utilizing the best available technology to apply and contain vineyard sprays.
Organics / bio-dynamics are now a big part of our vineyard management practice. We have adopted, and are integrating bio-dynamic practice and organic methods as part of our overall goal of achieving continuous improvements in the sustainability of our vineyard operations.
Since the development of Leston Vineyard began in 1995, the Burch family have maintained the philosophy to minimize the impact of viticultural practices on the natural environment and to endeavor to work in harmony with nature. Initially the land was turned from a pastoral property to a vineyard with parts of the land remaining nature reserves to provide habitat to the wildlife. One such area has become known as the Leston Vineyard Bird Sanctuary.
When staying at the cottage at the Leston Vineyard, in Margaret River the Burch’s noticed the bird life settling in a wetland area along the Wilyabrup waterway. With the onset of dusk the birds would perch themselves on a position in the large peppermint trees that bounded the creek line. Often Herron could be seen feeding in the creek bed and the cacophony of birds arriving and departing to this site continued to flourish.
So in 2003 Amy asked Dr Ian Rooke, professor of ornithology to monitor the population along the banks of the Wilyabrup waterway in an attempt to understand the inhabitants of the Bird Sanctuary. He identified 26 species including the Willy Wagtail, Silvereye, Brown Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Purple Swamphen, Red Wattle Bird, Australian Magpie, Inland Thornbill, Maned Duck, Laughing Kookaburra and Grey Teal. There are also four species breeding, including the New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattle Bird, Maned Duck and Coot.
Burch Family Wines aims to continue to grow our knowledge of the vineyard environment in a manner that is committed to the preservation of the areas unique wildlife, as well as enhancing visitor knowledge and enjoyment. The long term plan is to create a Bird Sanctuary that can be enjoyed by all visitors to the Howard Park winery.