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Alisdair Tulloch’s family has been producing wine in Australia’s Hunter Valley for five generations. But now climate change is making it harder for him to grow his grapes. Despite the challenges, he knows that he can be part of the solution, which includes net zero emissions, from grape to glass.

Created with

A new documentary series by
Tim Arnold and Eefje Suzanne Kragten

Article by:
Anne-Marie Hoeve

“My earliest memories are in the vineyards of the Hunter. It’s a very important part of me. I remember walking through the vines with my father and grandfather. Learning about the growth of the vines, about the relationship with the sun, the earth and the water. And tasting the fruit.

The vineyards themselves are planted alongside a small creek, which winds in and out of the vines throughout our property. I love this part of the vineyard, it teaches me how interconnected nature is.”


The Tulloch winery is located in Hunter Valley
– the heart of Australian wine country.

Just north of Sydney, the region is renowned for its world-class wines, steeped in a tradition that goes back 180 years. Stretching across the gently rolling landscape in neat rows, the vineyards create a lush setting to enjoy the fruits of this fertile soil.

Hunter Valley,
New South Wales



Seasonal extremes

Each year, the winter is shorter, and the summer is drier and hotter. In the searing sun, the fruit is slowly cooked on the vine, spoiling before it’s even ripe. Rainfall is erratic, and when it arrives, it’s more extreme. Hail storms batter vines that used to thrive.

In 2020, the bushfires that made global headlines came so close that over 50% of total fruit harvest was lost. It had been tainted with smoke.

Animals also affected

Changing weather patterns not only threaten crops, local wildlife is also struggling to survive.

“Seeing birds, bats and kangaroos desperate for food and eating the vine shoots or grapes is troubling as well. These aren’t naturally part of their diets and it shows how disturbed their ecosystem has become.”

Alisdair Tulloch

But Alisdair is not giving up. He is committed to finding a better way to farm. One that minimises emissions and supports the land that he and his family rely on. And other families like his.

“As a farmer, I feel a responsibility to give back to nature.”

Alisdair is committed to minimising the winery’s environmental impact and in 2020, Tulloch Wines became the first certified carbon neutral winery in the Hunter Valley, with net zero emissions from grape to glass.

Taking action

Solar panels
Investing in solar energy has reduced the reliance on grid electricity by more than 85%.

Lighter bottles
Reducing the weight of the glass bottles has immediately reduced the carbon footprint of each bottle of wine, saving in the amount of fuel required for transport.

Natural systems
Planting living mulch such as clover under the grape vines provides natural nutrients, avoiding the need for chemical fertilisers.

Boosting biodiversity
Restoring the native biodiversity surrounding the vineyard supports the local ecosystem.

The difference
farmers can make

0% of all greenhouse gas emissions are linked to food.

0% of the world’s available energy is consumed by the agri-food system.

0% of non-CO2 emissions like methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated greenhouse gases come from agriculture.

Agriculture is part of the problem. And that’s exactly why it can also be part of the solution. When farmers embrace more sustainable practices, they can help reduce their environmental impact.

“The fact that sometimes the tasks are difficult, or that you have to choose the slower or the more expensive option, for me it’s not a choice. It’s an imperative. I draw resilience through the possibilities.”

What can YOU do?

You don’t have to be a farmer to help tackle climate change. Your decision in the shop ultimately impacts the environment too.

  • Know your producers

    And support farmers who take responsibility for the environment.

  • Drink local wine

    The biggest source of emissions in the wine industry is the transport of bottles from the winery to consumers.

  • Support businesses who are transparent

    It’s all about being transparent about ingredients and where they are from.

  • Pay a fair price

    When you buy a bottle of wine, think about the price of fresh grapes and all of the resources, labour and craft needed to make it into a sustainably produced wine.

“What do we need to do to make sure that we can continue to reward ourselves for the fruits of the natural world?”

The Positive Alternative is a new documentary series by film director Tim Arnold and writer/producer Eefje Suzanne Kragten.

Inspired by rapidly changing climate conditions, they wanted to share resilient and positive stories to make climate change a communal problem and inspire positive action.

“We believe that Alisdair’s story, and the stories of other brave and inspiring farmers like him, can be the catalyst for change in our current climate change trajectory.”

Watch the documentary teaser featuring Alisdair Tulloch below:


Discover the first story in the series, with farmer, scientist and climate activist Anika Molesworth, below: "The Australian Farmer Fighting for Climate Action".


Continue watching

See the documentary-makers describe
the moment that sparked the entire series.