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Wine & Climate Change: Understanding Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Wine grapes are an extremely sensitive crop, making viticulture one of the agricultural sectors most vulnerable to climate change. Of course, the wine sector is not just affected by climate change—it also plays a contributing role.

GHG Emissions across the Wine Value Chain

At IWCA, we consider the climate impacts of wine through its full life cycle, which includes all direct and indirect emissions. The emissions of a company are separated into three scopes:

  • SCOPE 1 covers direct emissions from activities under a company's control.

  • SCOPE 2 emissions are indirect emissions related to a company's purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.

  • SCOPE 3 emissions are related to all the indirect emissions derived from the company's activity: that is, any emissions not under the direct responsibility of the firm.

Overview of GHG emissions across the wine value chain.

GHG Emissions Hotspots

We know what activities in the wine life cycle contribute GHG emissions. But how do these activities stack up against each other? We compiled our members’ data to examine GHG emissions “hotspots.” Take a look at the most significant emissions by activity and scope (averages based on our members’ 2018 data):

Measuring and Reducing Emissions

One of IWCA’s foundational goals is to develop a standardized methodology for wineries to account for annual GHG emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3, from the vineyard to the final disposal of waste once the product is consumed. With this detailed inventory, wineries can identify their emissions hotspots and implement targeted strategies, then track their progress in achieving emissions reductions over time.

IWCA has begun on developing our own GHG calculators. Our methodology, which is region-specific, helps wineries account for annual GHG emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3. We have completed the U.S. version of the calculator, and plan to develop versions for other regions, as well.

Most importantly, all of our members are committed to the same overarching goal of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and are taking action across all Scopes to reduce their emissions.


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