Boschendal wine estate has been awarded Conservation Champion status by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
The farm lies in the beautiful Drakenstein Valley and is flanked by the dramatic Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains and is located in the centre of the illustrious Franschhoek and Stellenbosch vineyard region. It is some 60 kilometres from the city of Cape Town and the towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl are all within 20 kilometres of the farm.
The WWF's Conservation Champion status is awarded to South African wine farms that are committed to addressing environmental concerns in a holistic manner, and meet a set of rigorous conservation criteria. These include demonstration of exceptional environmental commitment and leadership, and a comprehensive environmental management plan with detailed targets to encourage continuous improvement.
"Making a positive impact on the environment, on the well-being of our community and on the lives of our guests is at the core of what we believe at Boschendal. We are delighted that we now have Conservation Champion status - it underscores our continuing commitment to ethical and integrated agriculture and the conservation of biodiversity," says senior farm manager, Andre Lambrechts.
Boschendal is located within the Cape Floral Kingdom, the richest and also the smallest plant kingdom on the planet. Recognised both as a global biodiversity hotspot and a World Heritage site, this plant kingdom has come under increasing threat from agriculture, urban development and invasive alien species. "Our sustainability drive therefore focuses on biological farming practices that enrich the soil and promote a habitat of biodiversity both in the vineyards and surrounding vegetation," says Lambrechts.
Boschendal is a member of the WWF Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI), and a key sustainability initiative on the farm is the active conservation of over 1,000ha of land, protecting indigenous trees in the ravines and clearing vast areas of invasive alien vegetation to return the land to its original state.
All farming on the estate is done in sustainable way with minimum negative impact on the natural environment. Farming practices include raising free-range animals to reduce food miles and contribute to soil productivity, the use of cover crops in the vineyards to enrich the soil, inhibit weed growth and preserve soil moisture, and water saving strategies such as conservation-efficient irrigation systems for vineyards and fruit trees.
The estate is currently in the process of developing the capability to generate sufficient alternative energy from hydro-electricity, solar and biomass to meet most of the farm's energy requirements. "Being awarded Conservation Champion status by the WWF is an endorsement of all our efforts over the years to conserve biodiversity and to protect our special environment at Boschendal. We will continue our focus on environmental responsibility and innovation, to ensure we leave a legacy for future generations," concludes Lambrechts.