“I’ve been in and around the wine industry since I was a child, and it’s hard not to be passionate about restoring or giving back to the environment when you are surrounded by it and it is quite literally on your doorstep.”
Natalie Burch, 2nd generation vigneron and current General Manager / Marketing Director
Howard Park is a family-owned, West Australian winery; they have been crafting beautiful wines for over 35 years in the region, with a commitment to quality and the creation of wines that are expressive of the region’s terroir (environmental conditions).
Over the last few years, they have implemented a number of sustainability initiatives.
In 2022 they began a program with Carbon Positive Australia to donate $1.5 of every bottle sold to tree planting from their Arbor Novae range.
Natalie Burch, General Manager and Marketing Director, talks about their connection to the land and how this has influenced their environmental path, with contributions both financially and in person to landscape restoration projects, alongside carbon reduction strategies within the business.
What are the inspirations behind your brand?
Expression of terroir starts in the vineyard, from the soils that the vines grow into the surrounding environment and unique ecosystem of a region. All are contributing factors to how the fruit will develop and what ends up in the glass.
The natural environment has been, and will always be, our biggest source of inspiration, and its preservation is paramount to our business.
The release of our Arbor Novae range was an additional way to acknowledge this. The collection of wines celebrates terroir in the truest sense – not only in expressing site-specific regional character in the glass but also through active reinvestment back into the land.
Why is caring for the environment important to you?
It just is. As it should be. As a business, our success depends entirely on the quality of our fruit. But quality only comes from nurturing the soils organically and ensuring that every aspect of our approach is sustainable for the future.
How are you partnering with Carbon Positive Australia? What motivated you to work with us, and what are your long-term goals? How long has the program been running?
We are donating $1.50 from every bottle of wine sold in our Arbor Novae range to Carbon Positive Australia. The partnership began in April 2022. Whilst our partnership is still in its infancy, our long-term goal is to have this woven into the very fabric of our business so that, in some capacity, the collaboration will endure in order for us to contribute to some really meaningful outcomes.
What environmental goals would you like to achieve?
We have recently achieved accreditation with Sustainable Winegrowers Australia for both our winery and vineyards.
As well as this milestone accreditation, we are working on the following: full Carbon audit, and packaging reviews every year as part of our APCO commitment – getting on board with the 2025 National Packaging Targets. We have the grant to look at energy saving in our winery. Most of our sustainability commitments (except for carbon auditing) are captured in the Sustainability Action Plan, developed as part of our SWA certification.
The Australian grape and wine community collectively set a goal to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the roadmap is essential in helping achieve this while also supporting the commercial needs of grape and wine businesses.
It is our desire to reach a zero-emission target well before the collective goal.
Is your organisation working on any other environmental or social initiatives?
We have been planting native trees on our Leston Vineyard to create a wildlife corridor.
Howard Park Wines is located in the Wilyabrup catchment, the second-largest water catchment in the Cape to Cape region. The property is home to a number of threatened species, including the brush tailed phascogale and the western ringtail possum. There is a total of 11.2ha of remnant vegetation on the property, including upland and riparian zones. Over 65% of the remnant vegetation is degraded to completely degraded and we are working towards increasing the quality of our remnant vegetation by minimising disturbance, managing environmental weeds, and encouraging the regeneration of native species through replanting.
Our long-term plan is to re-establish a wildlife corridor from one end of the property to the other. We started with planting along Wilyabrup Brook, as this is a highly valued and sensitive environmental area where the existing vegetation was showing signs of stress.
Nature Conservation Margaret River conducted a biodiversity assessment in August 2022 and helped us establish priorities. They have provided support and advice to Howard Park wines on our sustainability journey, and we love working with them and learning from their experience.
20 Employees, led by our gardening team, planted 350 native species such as Marri, Banksia, Swamp bottlebrush, Peppermints and Paperbarks to provide food, nesting sites and connectivity for the movement of species such as the Western ringtail possum. We have established photo monitoring sites and will take photos every couple of months to measure our progress, and we intend to plant more.
To find out more about Howard Parks Wines and their Arbor Novae range please click here.