Chilean wineries have unveiled a carbon offsetting project and an aid package for indigenous people.

Cono Sur has announced it will be offsetting the carbon emitted by sending its products to market – allowing it to carry the CarbonNeutral trademark on its bottles of Cono Sur and Isla Negra wines.

The winery, which has been at the forefront of the development of eco-friendly vineyard management in Chile, has teamed up with London-based The CarbonNeutral Company, which works with government, individuals and businesses like Sky, Honda and Barclays, to offset carbon emissions.

Cono Sur winemaker Adolfo Hurtado told decanter.com that being seen to manage emissions is ‘a point of difference in terms of sales, especially in Scandinavia, where this is a big issue.’

Meanwhile Undurraga winery in Maipo has announced it will be giving a percentage of global sales revenue from its newly-launched Aliwen line to OIES, an NGO which specialises in promoting social development in Mapuche communities in Chile.

The Mapuche people are indigenous to southern Chile and many now live in extreme poverty. OIES estimate that less than a third of Mapuche children finish secondary school.

High-profile Chilean wineries have made extensive use of the Mapuche culture, symbolism and language in labelling their wines. Aliwen, for example, means ‘sacred tree’ in the Mapuche tongue. But few if any Mapuches are involved in the wine export business and thus remain largely excluded from its economic benefits.

Undurraga, an historic Chilean winery, is under new ownership following a bitter ownership dispute and intends to grow exports from 850,000 cases to 1.5m cases within five years.

Written by Peter Richards