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Managing environmental concerns in wine making

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Australia is a world class wine making country, with exports climbing 10% in 2018 to $2.8 billion, but industry operations may have environmental impacts, and require proactive management.

thumbnail wine making environmental risks2Activities such as irrigation, the use of chemicals to control pests and disease, waste disposal and the associated odours and noise from pumps, crushers and chillers could contribute to pollution and contamination. If this occurs water and soil quality in your vicinity can be affected.

“Even when your procedures are perfect and your staff well trained there are no guarantees,” says Gallagher wineries insurance expert Stephanie Fox.

“Tanks are designed to be highly resilient but occasionally if internal processes are not adhered to, they can fail ‒ leading to substantial losses.”

Key risks

For wine makers the major risks are around wastewater management, compost facilities and integrity of product. Winery wastewater comes from a number of sources that include

  • cleaning tanks and equipment
  • ion exchange columns
  • spent wine and product losses
  • bottling and filtration
  • laboratory wastewater
  • diversion of stormwater.

Protocols such as regular monitoring, particularly of wastewater, staff training and having tested contingency plans are critical to risk mitigation and management, and can help prevent you from being on the wrong end of an Environmental Protection Authority action.

Penalties for EPA violations can be as high as $125,000 and $60,000 a day for a continuing offence – which may not be within your ability to contain urgently.

Under EPA legislation all wine makers have a duty to prevent or minimise any environmental harm resulting from their activities. Site choice and plant location and design, including bunding, contribute to this, but if something does go badly wrong do you have a tested drill that all your staff know how to follow?

Is your business protected?

StephanieFox_webAnd, more importantly, do you have insurance protection against costs arising from environmental pollution or contamination incident? Natural resource damage is a relatively new area in the insurance industry and it covers a very broad range of impacts, from wildlife to air quality.

“An environmental impairment insurance policy covers wine makers for all of the above issues, and then some ‒ such as the costs associated with penalties, compliance and defending a legal action,” Fox says.

Our winery experts can also audit your operation and advise on risk mitigation and management, as well as tailoring a policy to cover your exposures.

To find out more about how Gallagher can help protect your wine making operation click on the button below.

Talk to us about tailored insurance for wine makers


 

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