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  • Delaille Raubenheimer

A Wine Bottle Sticker To Pay Attention To...

Award stickers on wine bottles can be quite overwhelming. Especially when the bottle starts to resemble a 6-year-old's sticker book. Award stickers will continue to have an impact on consumer choices and it often sparks a debate among wine enthusiasts. I'm not here to tell you why one golden award sticker is superior to another. Instead, let me introduce to you something a little less flashy - a sticker you should be paying attention to.

Have you spotted the WWF Conservation Champion logo of an indigenous Cape sugarbird? What does it stand for? Let's find out.

WWF works with the environmental leaders in SA’s wine industry, known as the Conservation Champions. These landowners commit to biodiversity-friendly farming practices, conserve their natural areas and continually improve their water and energy efficiencies.

"South Africa has the potential to be seen as a global leader in conservation and sustainability, which can translate into more support for and fascination with South African wines." Shelly Fuller WWF South Africa’s programme manager for the portfolio of sustainable fruit and wine projects.

About 95% of SA’s wine growing takes place in the Cape Winelands. WWF Conservation Champions own some 45 000ha of land between them, of which 22 000ha is conserved as a pristine part of the world-famous Cape Floral Kingdom comprising fynbos and Karoo succulent plants. A diverse selection of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles are also found on this land. The members work closely with the WWF in their conservation endeavours, undertaking annual assessments to ensure they meet the specifications required of a Conservation Champion.

WWF supports these farms in their environmental efforts by co-developing detailed environmental management plans, setting tangible targets and helping them to prioritise actions to address their most pressing environmental risks.WWF's work also supports the existing wine industry environmental certification scheme and this, in turn, is jointly marketed through industry bodies.

The programme was initiated in 2004 was originally called the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI). Over the subsequent decade, the BWI team worked with over 250 landowners and cellars to set up their environmental management plans and put systems in place to meet market requirements through the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) certification scheme. By 2015, over 90% of the South African wine industry was able to certify their wine as being environmentally friendly through the BWI and IPW partnership. With limited resources, the programme then re-structured to focus exclusively on working with and supporting the industry leaders – WWF’s Conservation Champions

With an increase in sustainability awareness within the international wine market the WWF Conservation Champions are at a unique position to turn the good-will and conservation support into economic gain, not only for WWF Conservation Champions themselves, but for the South Africa wine industry as a whole.

Explore South African WWF Conservation Champion wine farms using this Android or iOS app. Wine lovers, locals and tourists are encouraged to use this guide to discover nature at it’s finest – from fynbos walking trails and cycling tracks, to seasonal menus at scenic restaurants and special places to relax. Click to download the Champion Wine Guide App

All images © 2020 LadyWineland


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