MARGARET River wine producer Evans & Tate this week announced a sponsorship deal for its Margaret River Action Plan, also known as the Shorehaven Project.
The project is a response by the multi-million dollar company to growing pressure on the State’s wine industry to become more water efficient and is recognition by Evans & Tate of the commercial value of a pro-active environmental stance.
Under the sponsorship deal with Landcare/Coastcare, Evans & Tate will spend $100,000 on the initiative during the next three years.
The Margaret River is one of the last rivers in WA still considered to be a source of potable water, however extensive land development and agriculture in the popular region is threatening the ecological health of the river system.
Evans & Tate executive Franklin Tate said that, as WA’s largest public wine company, Evans & Tate had a social responsibility to ensure the area was preserved and improved.
“Water is such a critical element in successful grape growing and wine making that we regard contributing to the appropriate management of the region’s water assets as the number one environmental priority for our business,” he said.
Water has become an increasingly important topic for the wine industry, and as pressure mounts for producers to become more water efficient, there is potential for further increases in water fees and production caps.
Mr Tate told WA Business News he saw Evans & Tate’s pro-active approach to water efficiency as a competitive advantage.
In 2002, Evans & Tate commissioned a $1.5 million waste water treatment plant. The plant treats all the winery’s waste water, producing potable water and solid waste that is used in the production of slow-release organic fertilisers for the vineyards.
Mr Tate said there was a significant incentive to make these environmental initiatives work in order to avoid excessive regulation within the industry.
He said there was a potential risk for the implementation of production caps, particularly vineyards located near to Margaret River town.
“Wineries make an impact on the environment,” Mr Tate said.
“Either manage that impact or it will be done for them.”
Involvement in sponsorship programs such as the Shorehaven Project yielded more value than that of a generic advertising campaign, according to Mr Tate.
“The future of the Margaret River and the long-term viability of the region’s viticultural industry and its international brand reputation are closely linked,” Mr Tate told WA Business News.
“It is the responsibility of all those with interests in this region to acknowledge the issues and assist in providing the solutions.”
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