Trees & Seas Presenting Partner Leads the Way on Environment

Montes Wines, at the heart of environmental protection and sustainability since its inception in 1987.’

It’s a sentence which feels like it belongs in a press release or a marketing campaign, except that it’s not a gimmick or a slogan. It’s the way it is … the way things have been at Montes Wines for over thirty-five years. 

The Chilean company was established in 1987, and since then has become one of the most respected wine producers in the world, winning numerous awards, high ratings and a distribution map that now includes over 100 countries.

When the company began, the thing which was clearest of all to its founders was that the wine comes from the grape, which in turn comes from the vine, which comes from the soil, which comes from the environment – and that without this … there is nothing.

Montes Wines vineyard

The Apalta Vineyard is one of the many stunning and well cared for land holdings of Montes Wines.

Remarkably, it still seems like a revolutionary statement, this far removed. Back then the Berlin Wall was still intact, Ronald Reagan was US President and environmentalism meant some guy chained to a tree.  

But even in that context, Montes, as a company, had its place in the world clear:

There is no product without the environment.

There is no profit without the environment. 

There is nothing without the environment. 

“With a deep care for our planet, and for the communities in which they operate, Montes make exquisite wines,” says Tod Hardin, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Plastic Oceans International. “It’s that simple. They are demonstrably a company that has the right to be proud of their commercial successes. They are a clear leader in their field, not just in Chile and Latin America, but also internationally. And – since 1987 – they have managed to be so while holding a holistic perspective of their place in the world.”

And holistic doesn’t just mean good intentions for Montes, it means concrete programs. The company directly conserves 400 hectares of historic forest in the Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Region, to the extent that the carbon consumption produced by the company’s processes is directly offset by the areas they care for. In addition to the conservation area, Montes is also responsible for generating and maintaining biological corridors across its production territories, allowing for the free transit of native species, as well as being at the vanguard of encouraging native birds of benefit to agriculture to perch and roost in their fields. This latter example is particularly groundbreaking as to date only a small subsection of academia has studied and advocated for the net benefit of encouraging the presence of key bird species within agriculture to control pests and discourage the presence of other more harmful avian species. 

In addition, Montes also employ grazing animals to control weeds and reduce the need for more harmful forms of plant control, and have established such a focus on reducing water consumption that their vineyards currently use between 10 and 25% less water. 

alpacas of Montes Wines

Montes Wines has a herd of over 350 grazing animals, allowing them to more sustainably manage their vineyards.

“Our collaboration with Montes has made very clear who these people and this company are,” continued Hardin. “They are a beacon of possibility that demonstrates, day by day, root and branch, how a company can genuinely bring environmental best practices and policy into the very heart of its business model. For us, working with Montes reminds us of what can be done, of what is being done, and should be celebrated in commercial business.”

Hardin points out that the Montes Wines relationship was established last year when the company came on board to support Plastic Oceans’ Trees & Seas Festival. He says their team saw a partner that was not afraid of rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty, noting that even their founder, Aurelio Montes, was there with his team planting trees, cleaning beaches and joining panel discussions. In other words, they walk the talk.

Montes Wines

Montes Wines’ co-founder, Aurelio Montes (L), and sustainability consultant, Javier Garcia (R), reforesting during Trees & Seas 2021.

“Our commitment to the environment has been constant,” says Danilo Buvinic, Marketing Director for Montes Wines. “We have always sought out sustainable options in order to achieve our objectives. That is why, since 2021, 100% of the energy we use has been obtained from renewable sources. We are fully active across all environmental sectors, and define ourselves as an eco-friendly winery, implementing sustainability measures such as saving 840 million liters of water per year, replanting 800 native trees and reducing our energy consumption by 25%.”

Buvinic, in fact, speaks less like a brand manager and more like an environmental activist: 

“The world will carry on after our generations have passed and it is our responsibility to try and leave this planet in better shape than we inherited it. That is our fundamental thinking. We are convinced that always prioritizing sustainability in decision-making is the only way to continued success.”

Raise a glass, and toast the sentiment, and revel in the hope that these practices might demonstrate to other corporations the way forward.


CLICK HERE To learn more about the Trees & Seas Festival, Presented by Montes Wines

Jon Bonfiglio is a broadcast and print journalist, as well as Managing Editor for Plastic Oceans International’s written content.

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