Graham Beck Wines – Changing the game plan with the game reserve

It was the world-renowned British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough who said, "People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile."

With this in mind the team who created the latest offering in the Graham Beck Wines portfolio proudly launched The Game Reserve to South African media on Thursday April 4, the only wine brand in the world associated with a private nature reserve that can demonstrate measurable actions taken to conserve the natural environment.

The Graham Beck property, Madeba, located in Robertson, is situated in the heart of the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem in the Breede River Valley, an area extremely rich in plant and geological diversity.  Of the 1 500 species of vegetation in the area, 115 are endemic and, of these, 77% are succulents.  Only 2.4% of the region is formally conserved. 

Graham Beck Wines is proud to be one of the earliest pioneers in the initiative to conserve the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The winery was appointed the second BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) Biodiversity Champion and is currently still one of around only 28 wineries in South Africa that can lay claim to this prestigious status. 

Bordering Madeba is the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve, an area that extends to the eastern slopes of the Rooiberg.  The reserve was set aside in the 1990s shortly after the Becks purchased the farm, in the hope of reversing the devastating effects of 200 years of over-utilization of the natural resources. 

The man who is making things happen in the veld is Mossie Basson, formerly of the Department of Conservation, and Graham Beck Wines’ conservation manager.  He and his dedicated team embarked on an extensive conservation management plan and successfully launched numerous ground-breaking projects such as alien vegetation clearing, stabilising eroded areas and re-establishing indigenous plants.

By May 2006, 1 885 hectares of land had been registered with Cape Nature as a voluntary conservation site and in September 2006, Mossie and his team confirmed that the Riverine Rabbit, a critically endangered species once thought extinct, was residing in the Breede Sand Fynbos section of the Graham Beck Nature Reserve; the most endangered veld type on the site. 

In July 2007, 27 neighbouring landholders pledged to join the conservation effort.  The Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy was born, and remains a strong focus of the efforts, comprising no fewer than 13 500 hectare of natural vegetation. For every 1 hectare of land utilized for producing wine or stud horse farming on the Graham Beck Estate at Robertson, 4,5 hectares of land are today conserved.
The Game Reserve concept is all about creating an environmentally responsible inspired wine brand for wine lovers who care about sustainability in order to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.

The wines are made by Graham Beck Wines’ award winning Cellarmaster, Erika Obermeyer, and the range comprises nine wines with each animal or plant depicted on the label endemic to the region and nature reserve on the property. Each wine therefor provides wine lovers with a captivating glimpse into the world of the indigenous Fauna and Flora. 

Erika says, "Just as in wine our fragile ecosystem is wholly dependent on balance, harmony, continuity and longevity.  It truly is the case of ‘the sum of the parts’ when it comes to farming sustainably and responsibly.  When we practice environmentally responsible viticulture and winemaking, we not only ensure the quality of our product, we guarantee the future of our planet as well."
The list of wines and Fauna and Flora depicted on the labels are:

  • The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc – The Riverine Rabbit
  • The Game Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – The Fish Eagle
  • The Game Reserve Chardonnay – The Cape Eagle Owl
  • The Game Reserve Viognier – The Honey Badger
  • The Game Reserve Rosé – Esterhuysenia grahambeckii  
  • The Game Reserve Pinotage – The Bat Eared Fox
  • The Game Reserve Merlot – The Cape Clawless Otter
  • The Game Reserve Shiraz – The Eland
  • The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – The Cape Leopard

The white wines retail for around R60 per bottle and the reds for around R85 and are available from wine shops and restaurants across South Africa, as well as the Graham Beck Signature Wine Club ( Supporters of The Game Reserve wines can regard their purchase with pride, knowing that, in addition to buying a premium quality wine, they are supporting South Africa’s rare ecology in a tangible way.

For more information, please visit