Event Details

Where: Zoom Webinars
When: 22 March 2022 | 12pm-1pm AEST
Price: FREE

Climate Change and Organic Viticulture

Hosted by AOL Technical Officer Josefine Pettersson, this webinar is part of the 2022 AOL Climate Change Series. As the peak industry body for organics in Australia, AOL has developed a series of webinars focusing on climate change in organic agriculture. These webinars will help organic operators to stay ahead of the sustainability curve and minimise the negative effects of climate change on their business to better prepare them for the future.

Wine grape production faces many challenges. Climatic extremes like heat and declining water resources are already putting pressure on the industry. Higher temperatures increase sugar levels and in-turn alcohol percentages in wine. Longer periods of wet weather increases the risk of fungal diseases, whilst increased longevity of drought highlights the ever-increasing importance of soil organic carbon. Rising input costs and consumer concern around how grapes are grown and potential damage to the environment are also putting pressure on growers to improve environmental practices.

As part of the interactive panel discussion, we will be joined by three experts in their field to help you prepare for climate change and learn from their triumphs and mistakes within the carbon market and industry. From Western Australia, we will talk to Vanya Cullen, pioneer of Australian biodynamic wine, about how she has built her renowned sustainable business model and created a successful carbon positive venture. Hayley Purbrick from Victoria has transformed her family’s organic vineyard into a carbon-neutral business with an impressive set of environmental initiatives that encompass the whole business. Last, but not least, we will be joined by Nuffield Scholar and third-generation farmer Richard Leask, who operates two wine brands in South Australia with a focus on soil and regenerative agriculture in the face of climate change.

Join us for the second webinar in our Climate Change series, with an industry-by-industry breakdown of the potential changes organic businesses can make to be prepared for and potentially benefit from this changing climate and the carbon market.

Topics include:

  • Current wine industry emissions breakdown
  • How will climate change affect Australian organic wine?
  • Carbon sequestration potential in organic wine production
  • Potential other changes businesses can make to reduce emissions
  • Opportunities to benefit from the carbon market in organic wine


About Josefine Pettersson

Josefine Pettersson has a Masters of Organic Agriculture coupled with industry experience in both cropping and livestock. Having worked in the EU and Australia, she brings a new perspective of organic agriculture and insight to advancing opportunities of Australian producers. As part of her Technical Officer role at AOL, she is focused on standards development, sustainability of production and market access to further advance the organic industry.

About Vanya Cullen

Recipient of innumerable wine, viticulture and environmental accolades, Vanya is a wealth of knowledge for navigating the carbon market, sustainability, soil and outstanding wine. Vanya Cullen has been winemaking at her family’s Biodynamic Wilyabrup estate since 1983. She was appointed to Chief Winemaker in 1989 and Managing Director in 1999. During that time, she rigorously experimented in the vineyard (especially with soil and trellis management) and in the winery, all the while looking to give her wines greater complexity. Cullen Wines while remaining family-owned, has since evolved making quality wine from a certified Biodynamic, Carbon Positive and naturally powered estate.

Cullen Wines have seen a 1.9% increase in soil organic matter over the past 5 years. One of the biggest impacts of any organisation is its greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and its influence on climate change. To that end, Cullen Wines have engaged a Western Australian consultancy company, Carbon Neutral, since 2006 to generate full organisational GHG inventories. In addition to this, they have introduced sustainable packaging initiatives including the introduction of carbon reduced bottles among many other initiatives.

About Hayley Purbrick

Hayley is the Chief Environmental Officer for Tahbilk Winery in the Nagambie Lakes region of central Victoria. Established in 1860, Tahbilk is one of Australia’s most beautiful and historic organic family-owned wineries. Hayley has brought the family business into the 21st century, ensuring the family leaves a sustainable legacy for future generations to come.

For the best part of the last two decades, Tahbilk has been committed to restoring the delicate environmental balance, moving in a positive direction towards reducing carbon emissions. Since 2013 they have reduced their emissions by 45% across the organisation and are carbon neutral. With the help of some 160ha of native revegetation on the Estate and the purchase of offsite carbon credits, they continue to be the only winery in Australia accredited carboNZero at a product and organisation level. She is committed to Landcare with an emphasis on increasing biodiversity. The contribution to the environment through Tahbilk initiatives has attracted some amazing people into the business who are equally aligned and passionate.

Hayley wants more of an industry focus on climate change so that the wine industry can do better collectively to highlight the benefits of organic wine collectively compared to just one company.

About Richard Leask

A third-generation farmer, Richard and his family own and operate 50 hectares of vineyard, a vineyard management business and wine brand Hither & Yon in South Australia. Richard is a 2019 Nuffield Farming Scholarship recipient, which gave him the opportunity to travel the world investigating regenerative agriculture as a farming system.

Richard is extremely focused on soil and regenerative agriculture. He sees regenerative agriculture as a sustainable way to combat some of the effects climate change is having on Australia’s vineyards. At its core, soil health involves two key players: soil carbon and soil microbiome. Their Hither & Yon wine business and products are 100% carbon offset through the Climate Active program with vast experience in the renewable energy sector. With a strong focus in reducing energy use on-farm to encouraging the fungal microbiome ration in the soil to consistently aiming for plants with a high Brix, Richard is not certified organic, however, highlights the sustainability changes required for the organic sector to continually improve in this space.