Wine lovers are a unique breed. They are people who are not only interested in the final taste of their wine but also in the individual parts that make up the whole and the care that goes into creating a wine that reaches the highest quality in both drinkability and, for some, ecological sustainability. Several wineries in South Africa have adopted an eco-friendly slant on their process for making wine, making it a great holiday destination for those who are conscious of the environment around them, but also love to drink delicious wine.
The Cape winelands in South Africa have exceptional biodiversity and, according to the Wine and Spirit Board, reside in the Cape Floral Kingdom with 9,600 plant species, 70% of which are not found anywhere else on Earth. With so much to protect for future generations, winemakers in this region have adopted many sustainable practices.
In 2004, the South African wine industry partnered with the Botanical Society of South Africa to establish the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI). As an example of the numerous effects of this partnership, some of Cape Point Vineyards’ sales go towards the conservation of the native western leopard toad while a percentage of River Edge wine sales go towards saving the breede river yellowwood and the cape whitefish, threatened with extinction. Across the region, some 120,000 hectares have been given over to conservation with the goal of restoring the land to its unspoiled nature.
Backsberg Estate Cellars is one of only three wine producers in the world to achieve carbon neutral status. After completing a carbon audit that analysed the vineyard’s overall energy consumption and the CO2 released during fermentation, they produced a range of carbon neutral wines. In addition, they switched from the traditional glass bottles to lightweight bottles that utilise recycled material and reduce CO2 emissions.
The Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association was formed in November 2002 to bring together stakeholders in the South African wine industry to discuss and promote ethical trade practices. Their code includes a belief in the right to a healthy and safe working environment, reasonable working hours, and a prohibition of child labour.
As part of the Integrated Production of Wine Scheme, implemented in 1998, the South African wine industry put forth guidelines on sustainability that a large majority of growers and cellars follow to ensure that people will be able to grow vines in this region for years to come.
As the world continues to be adversely affected by humanity’s interaction with it, we are all looking for ways to help conserve and protect the environment. As a purchaser with an abundance of choice, it’s good to take note of which wines come with a fair trade and sustainability guarantee. No matter whether you are looking to visit vineyards with eco-friendly policies or you simply wish to purchase Tesco wine at home, it’s easy to support farmers that make an effort to support the Earth.
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