Restoring and managing ecosystems
In 2007, a pilot project saw 1,000 square metres restored to renosterveld, as this area falls within a critically endangered habitat of Swartland Granite Renosterveld.
In some instances, vineyards were uprooted and replaced with renosterveld species and renosterveld corridors were created to allow movement of non-flying insects between vineyards and natural areas.
Neethlingshof’s alien vegetation removal efforts have been an ongoing process since the early 2000’s, and also include the removal of major environmental concerns such as Blue Gum, Port Jackson and Black Wattle. Other species being removed includes Cluster Pine, Rooikrans, Beefwood, Grey and Matchwood poplar.
Alien clearing takes place annually in our forest and fynbos (conservation) areas.
Neethlingshof has planted multiple (50+) indigenous trees which includes White Stinkwood, Dogwood also known as ‘Assegai’ and Wild olive species.
Planting indigenous trees can improve the soil quality and can increase the water retention of the soil, therefore decreasing soil runoff. Benefits of planting indigenous varieties include the fact that it is often much hardier, provide shelter and food for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and insects and attractive more local wildlife.
When re-planting optimal performance in terms of production and quality is a priority to ensure that our vines are perfectly matched to the soils in which they are planted along with the surrounding climate.
Cover crops are used to increase organic content, suppress summer weeds, lessen chemical use, conserve soil moisture and keep soil loose for optimal growth. In addition to the organic material leads to less temperature fluctuation in the soil.
In our effort to be environmentally friendly, we only use substances that are accepted by IPW (Integrated Production of Wine certification) and that have a low impact on the environment.
We opt for a more biological approach and the use of complementing products. We have placed owl boxes in trees on our premises as well as several owl posts in the vineyards. At night owls occupy these posts whilst during daytime predatory birds like falcon make use of the posts to stalk prey resulting in a 24-hour watch to encourage a self-regulating ecosystem of natural predators for vineyard prey and pests.
As part of our commitment to sustainability and to safe valuable amounts of water in our vineyards we make use of so-called drip irrigation. This is a type of micro-irrigation system that saves water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants with the goal to place water directly into the root zone and therefore minimize evaporation.
We use practices for canopy management like shoot thinning and leaf removal around the cluster zone to improve air circulation (within the canopy), reducing relative humidity and making the canopy less conducive to pests and diseases whilst improving bunch light exposure.
Water and waste management
The estate strives for environmentally conscious principles which of course includes our packaging too. When choosing packaging solutions, we give preference to suppliers who provide recyclable packaging solutions. In addition to that we source our material from local suppliers within a 20-kilometre radius from the estate.
Winery waste specifically yeast lees and tartaric acid crystals from wine tanks are collected and disposed by Bren-O-Kem who specializes in transforming winery waste, such as skins, seeds and lees, into value-added natural products which are used in the wine industry, pharmaceutical industry and other markets.
The water used in our cellar is recycled. The water quality is carefully monitored to meet regulatory standards which after it is used for irrigation on a specific selection of vineyards.
Waste removal and recycling is done by Top Waste which recycles scrap metal, glass, plastic and paper.
Grape pomace (skins, pulp, seeds) leftover from wine processing and pressing is transformed into compost which is returned to the field as a soil amendment. When it is tilled back into the soil, the pomace provides additional organic material and nutrients to the vineyard and other fields.
In addition to the endeavours mentioned above, we strive to:
- Ensure that substances added to wine such as precipitants, fining agents as well as filtration materials are selected to have a minimal impact on the environment.
- We are continuously converting to greater energy-efficient lighting (LEDs and other alternatives) in order to conserve energy. We also calculate our Carbon Footprint annually to facilitate continuous improvement in the supply chain.
- Offer eco-tourism activities to supplement income and help with job creation. We have recently been listed as an access point on the Bottelary Hills MTB Trails. In addition to that we have bi-annual trial runs on the estate along with recent outdoor actives like yoga classes.
Social and Economic Upliftment
Each member of staff is greatly valued. Via skills training and fair employment practices, Neethlingshof seeks to contribute to the social upliftment of the people of the estate and their families.
Neethlingshof offers fully maintained accommodation for over 30 families and a fully equipped after-school village crèche in which children can spend their afternoons in a safe, learning and play-conducive space under the supervision of a caretaker. Working closely with the Anna Foundation, a non-profit organization, the creche addresses the educational and social needs of the children and offer them lifelong learning in order to build positive self-worth and self-respect.
WIETA & IPW
The estate has Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA) accreditation, due its high level of good-practice standards.
Our Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) certification offers a visual guarantee, not only for the integrity of origin, vintage and cultivar, but also for the sustainable production of wine and traceability from the vineyard to the bottle.T