Apart from being known for their commitment to producing top quality wines with structure, finesse and a high level of drinkability, Backsberg Estate Cellars is also renowned in the wine industry for their commitment to sustainable practices.
In 2006 Backsberg was certified carbon neutral. At the time, it was the only farm in South Africa to be certified as such and one of only three wineries globally. This status was achieved after years of research and application of methods to reduce and offset the wine farm’s emissions. To mention just a few, these have included switching to energy efficient lighting, downscaling to smaller tractors and vehicles, bottling in lightweight glass bottles and planting thousands of trees. Furthermore, Backsberg is in the midst of a five-year biofuel project, with the hope of becoming an entirely off-the-grid operation.
Carbon neutrality, however, is only one part of Backsberg’s sustainability stance as they seek to care as much for their people as they do for the environment. “For us, sustainability means operating under what we call an umbrella of care: care for the environment, for our product and for the people who work for us. South Africa unfortunately has a troubled socio-political past and this is something my family has always acknowledged. During the Apartheid years, my father ran a night school, which was illegal under the prevailing regime,” explains Simon Back – 4th Generation Owner and Company CEO. This was some time ago, but Backsberg did not lose speed after democracy dawned in 1994; since then, the company has funded over 100 years of tertiary education for underprivileged students, some of them the children of Backsberg’s workers. In addition, Backsberg has assisted many of their farm workers in obtaining the deeds to their homes, effectively freeing them from dependence on the winery.
Backsberg is also a certified WWF Conservation Champion and has implemented environmental initiatives including setting aside a portion of their land to protect the endangered fynbos biome, an insect predator programme to reduce the need for chemical sprays and a queen bee project to protect the local bee population and promote pollination. While all Backsberg wines are not certified organic, the company shares much of the philosophy and methodology of this movement. “Although staying on the frontier of sustainable practices can be challenging, it is a challenge we gladly accept and we remain committed to doing what we believe is right”, ensures Back.
Not only in light of the current drought in the Western Cape but as general practice, Backsberg takes careful measures to decrease their water consumption on the farm. Apart from using borehole water, Backsberg uses drip irrigation and varispeed pumps to ensure minimal evaporation and better control of water usage. A mulching program has also been put in place to reduce weeds and evaporation, thus nurturing cooler soils and more microbial life.
Going forward, Simon Back and his team are committed to finding ways to improve their sustainable practices and put the environment first, all while maintaining their standard of excellence.
“Ultimately, our goal at Backsberg is to produce wines which are first and foremost delicious, while leaving our land, people and community better off than before. We hope, too, that our commitment to sustainability can inspire others to do the same.”
For more information on how Backsberg Estate Cellars strives to protect the natural environment and its people, visit: http://backsberg.co.za
In 2006, Backsberg was certified carbon neutral. It was the only wine farm in South Africa, and one of only three wineries globally at the time, to achieve this status. Since then, the estate has continued to strive ahead with forward-thinking holistic practices. Backsberg is not only carbon neutral but a WWF Conservation Champion too. Essentially, the notion is that grapes grown in harmony with nature render wines that are balanced and well-integrated.
Keeping in mind its sustainable objectives, and a recent brand refresh, the estate have decided to try something a little different this year as part of its annual Checkers festive gifting collection. From the middle of October 2018 until the end of March 2019 Backsberg’s recently revised Sauvignon Blanc 2018 will be adorned with a seeded necktag in Checkers stores nationally. This is an exclusive promotion and ties in perfectly with Checkers recent Little Garden campaign.
These seed necktags are rather special, having been handcrafted by the guys and gals at Growing Paper. Established in 2010, Growing Paper aims to produce 100% recycled paper products embedded with seeds of various florals and herbs that once planted bloom into life. Since papermaking uses large amounts of water to produce, the company re-utilise this water for farming activities on the property where the factory is located. An added bonus, all products are printed using water-based ink. In this case, Backsberg’s necktags feature Buck Bay Vvgies and African Daisies. We’d like to regenerate the Cape’s largely-threatened fynbos kingdom.
Added value – Win Wine for a Year
When purchasing a bottle of Backsberg’s Sauvignon Blanc, customers will be treated to a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year ahead. However, we’ve added an extra layer of enticement. Customers will have the opportunity to win a year’s supply of Backsberg wine to the value of R15,000 too.
Competition Entry Mechanism
On the front of each necktag, customers will note the competition entry mechanism; namely, to plant the necktag, snap a picture of their florals blooming and tag Backsberg in the image across any social media platform. On the reverse of the tag, planting instructions will be emphasised. On Monday, 1 April 2019 Backsberg will select one lucky competition winner and contact them directly via social media. Official announcements will be made the following day. Terms and Conditions: These will be available on the Backsberg website, as mentioned on the reverse of the necktag, for the duration of the campaign.