Cullen Wines have been voluntarily offsetting their carbon emissions since 2006, buying credits almost exclusively for projects in WA which focus on pulling carbon emissions out of the atmosphere. Over the past nine years, Cullen have been responsible for 3921 tonnes of CO2 offset through reforestation carbon sinks, and the planting of 1705 native trees and shrubs. In 2010 they were featured in a Case Study by the Carbon Reduction Institute who said they had a ‘powerful case for demonstrating leadership to other wineries to take action to combat climate change’.
Cullen Wines’ carbon offset program is managed internally by Production Manager Trevor Kent, who has done an outstanding job in maintaining the standard of Cullen’s Carbon Neutral status since 2006.
Cullen proudly display the logo of Perth-based company Carbon Neutral and are certified under the Carbon Neutral Pty Ltd methodology, which is held to the highest standard. Carbon Neutral conducts its assessment of Cullen’s GHG emissions inventory in accordance with the GHG Protocol as adopted under the Commonwealth government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). These principles are consistent with those outlined under the Australian and International Standards including the GHG Protocol and AS ISO 14064: Greenhouse gases Part 1, 2 and 3.
The latest project Cullen contributes its carbon offsets to is an Australian first. Through Carbon Neutral, Cullen Wines’ offsets since July 2015 have been Gold Standard, supporting the recently accredited Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor Project, 400 kilometres north of Perth.
Not only is this the largest biodiverse reforestation carbon sink project in Australia, but recently it was awarded the prestigious Premium Gold Standard certification by the Geneva-based Gold Standard Foundation, becoming the only project in Australia to have done so.
The certification took project managers Carbon Neutral two years to prepare for, and eight months to be assessed by an independent international auditor, Rainforest Alliance, to pass the stringent qualifications.
‘Vanya and her team set a new benchmark in their dedication to the environment,’ said Kent, Executive Director of Carbon Neutral. ‘They have a strong history of matching their carbon offsets, and when you consider this is all done on a voluntary basis, the achievement is all the more impressive. They are one of the first companies to support the Gold Standard project, and certainly the first winery in Australia to do so.’
As far back as 1971 when Cullen Wines was first established in Wilyabrup, they believed in minimal intervention. In 1998 they became totally organic, and 2003 they achieved their A Grade Organic Certification, before being certified A Grade Biodynamic in 2004 under Chief Winemaker and Managing Director Vanya Cullen. In addition to being 100% carbon neutral (in both production and products) and water self-sufficient, they are also solar powered up to 40% through their own panels and the remainder through Synergy Natural Power, which is generated via solar and wind renewable sources.
‘We are so lucky to be in such a beautiful location here in WA, and the wonderful soil gives us our extraordinary wines, so it important for us to know we are caring for the earth and doing no harm in what we do. It’s become a way of life for us,’ Vanya says. ‘We are very excited that other wineries are also choosing to become Carbon Neutral as this is a significant commitment and we applaud their efforts.’
Cullen Wines flagship wine, the 2013 Diana Madeline, was this year named by wine critic James Halliday as the winner of the ‘Best of the Other Reds’ category and achieved a score of 98 points out of 100. Their most recent release, the 2012 Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 99 points in November 2015.