1. Why are there two seals?
The original seal only certifies origin, vintage and varietal. The new seal also certifies sustainability. At this stage, producers can choose which seal they want to use. The wine industry is aiming to add an ethical element to the sustainability seal by 2015. In the meantime, wines meeting ethical production standards can carry either a Fairtrade or Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) accreditation.
2. How does South Africa define the sustainability that it is certifying?
This is defined in the guidelines as determined by the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and the Wine and Spirit Board (WSB). These can be downloaded from www.ipw.co.za
3. Are the IPW (sustainability) standards ever changed?
The WSB, along with industry leaders, is constantly refining and improving the guidelines. As from 2011, the guidelines also include climate change/carbon footprint. In the future, we expect to include more on the conservation of water which is a very scarce resource in South Africa.
4. What percentage of South African wine carries the new seal?
In 2014, 91.7% of certified wines qualified to carry the new seal.
5. How come South Africa has such an advanced system when it is such a newcomer to the global wine world?
Prior to the advent of democracy, the South African wine industry was controlled by a monopoly. This strict control meant that an efficient bureaucracy ensured that industry regulations were followed by producers. Since 1994, the industry has been totally deregulated but the best of the old systems have been retained.
6. What is the pass mark required to achieve IPW accreditation?
The pass mark is 65%.
7. What percentage of the fruit must be IPW accredited in order to us the sustainability seal?
To use the seal, 100% of the fruit must be IPW accredited. This includes each link in the production chain, from cellar to bottling plant.
8. What happens when producers purchase grapes or wine from different cellars?
Each link or unit in the production chain (farms from which all grapes have come, as well as the cellars which made the wines and the facility where the wine was bottled) must be IPW accredited in order for the sustainability seal to be used.
9. What if the grapes or wine are acquired from non-IPW facilities of members?
These must be kept separate from IPW-compliant fruit or wine.