Five great wine estates working in harmony with nature

When it comes to good wine farming practices, conservation and sustainability is always a high priority for these wine farms. From conserving water and energy, maintaining healthy soil, to preserving local ecosystems and wildlife habitat of vineyards and wineries, these wine estates are committed to protecting the biodiversity in their surrounding areas.

GROOT CONSTANTIA WINE FARM has been recognised as a WWF Conservation Champion, and rightly so, as they focus on
- Minimising the loss of threatened natural habitat;
- Increasing the total area of well-managed natural habitat set aside;
- Promoting changes in farming practices that enhance biodiversity, both in vineyards and surrounding natural areas;
- Positioning the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom – and the estate’s proactive stance to environmental sustainability and conservation – as an important selling point.

As one of my favourite wineries in my neighbourhood, it is wonderful to know that they are dedicated to doing their part towards saving the environment AND making fine wines while they do so!

BOSCHENDAL in Franschhoek – one of the Cape Winelands icons – offers wholesome produce and great wines. Working together with their natural environment, their renewing and sustainable farming practices ensure they leave the soil better than they found it and deliver quality products to enjoy. They have cleared more than 500 hectares of invasive alien vegetation over the past 15 years which has had a notable and positive effect on the birdlife, the free movement of wildlife and most significantly on the flow of the small rivers that are fed by the mountains. To speed up the recovery of the natural areas, indigenous trees have been planted, such as yellow woods, wild almond, wild peach, wild olive, which has had such a positive impact on birdlife and wildlife in this area.

This continuing conservation effort by Boschendal Wines certainly makes it a champion in anyone’s books!

JOURNEY’S END is another local wine farm, situated in the Stellenbosch region, that is committed to sustainable and ethical wine farming. They actively conserve critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld and vulnerable Boland Granite Fynbos. Where vineyards have been uprooted, they plan to restore these areas by sourcing indigenous plant species. The vineyard was also the second in South Africa to convert to solar power. Notably, their Journey’s End Foundation, which is a meal programme that aims to tackle hunger and extreme poverty in the Helderberg Region of Stellenbosch through a network of soup kitchens, has received awards for its community work.

GRAHAM BECK has set aside a substantial portion of their land as a private nature reserve near the Robertson wine region. Along with 27 other neighbouring landowners, they created the Rooiberg-Breede River Conservancy which is home to many indigenous species of fauna – including the highly endangered and rare riverine rabbit – as well as the highly sensitive Succulent Karoo vegetation. This wine farm also focuses on veld management, control of soil erosion, waste management, environmentally-sensitive pest and disease control, and environmental education and upskilling in the community.

That’s definitely an achievement to be proud of!

LA MOTTE is another magnificent wine farm in the Franschhoek wine valley making great strides as a WWF Conservation Champion. They are home to threatened mountain fynbos and have actively cleared alien plants, thereby creating an indigenous nursery to transfer indigenous species back to the mountain. This beautiful farm has a strong focus on arts and culture as well as conservation. It is also home to a five-kilometre hiking trail – opened in 2010 – to encourage visitors to explore the beautiful and pristine mountain fynbos.

Definitely add this conservation champion to your list of wine farms to visit and support.

To view a list of other amazing wine farms on the WWF Conservation list, visit:

- Blog by Letishia Charles