Sustainability can be summarized as a system that is sensitive to the environment, responsible to the community, and economically feasible to implement and maintain. These three principles provide a framework and direction to guide our decision making. Sustainability is an ever-changing target, even a state of mind: improvements can always be made to lessen one's impact on the planet.
The McLaren Vale Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (MVSWGA) program has its origins in the early 2000’s. Since that time, the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association (MVGWTA) developed a series of viticultural initiatives with the objective to improve viticultural practices, fruit quality and financial viability within the region. These initiatives included seminars and workshops, a growers bulletin (CropWatch) which provides information from nine weather monitoring stations, pest and disease alerts for the region, as well as research trials and information days. The Association also released a Financial Benchmark for McLaren Vale growers in 2005, and a Pest and Disease Code of Conduct in 2006, which was voluntarily endorsed by the growers in 2007. In the same year, the Soil Management, Water Management and Preservation of Biodiversity Codes were also released.
The Sustainable Australia Winegrowing, McLaren Vale (SAW McLaren Vale) is the only sustainability assessment program for wine growing of its kind in Australia and is now accessible to any grower across Australia.