Major wineries in central Chile are investing up to US$12m each in waste treatment plants and methods to reuse by-products. Their aim is to meet or beat rising environmental standards, both at home and in ever more demanding foreign markets where ISO 14.001 standards are the norm.

Santa Emiliana, Concha y Toro, Cousino Macul, Undurraga, Morande, Echeverria, Domaine Oriental and Torreon de Paredes are among the wineries participating in the effort.

So far, Vina Santa Emiliana is the only winery to meet ISO 14.001 standards. The winery began production of "green" wine on February 6 in the Maipo, Rapel and Casablanca Valleys.

Three more wineries are expected to be similarly certified by the end of this year.

Government funds are helping to spur the investment, with state agencies financing as much as 70% of the development costs.

Nearly 20 wineries have presented the National Environmental Commission (Conama) environmental impact declarations stating their aim to environmentally upgrade their facilities. Conama hopes that soon all the country's wine export producers convert their operations to meet international environmental standards.