Even in these belt-tightening times, consumers worldwide are going green, showing – with their wallets – an increased interest in products that have been produced in an environmentally conscious manner.
Since its inception in 2009, the main thrust of the Nedbank Green Wine Awards has been to reward and elevate the quality of wines made from organically grown grapes, honouring those wine producers that put our well-being and the well-being of the planet first.
Although the organic category remains an integral part of the Nedbank Green Wine Awards, evolution is all about change. This year’s innovation was to introduce a WWF Biodiversity and Wine Initiative wine category, open to all BWI members, to recognise the massive strides made in conserving our environment and natural resources, while producing greener, better wines.
A total of 190 wines were judged across the two categories, by a panel led by internationally renowned wine judge Fiona McDonald. Reyneke Wines scooped to honours in the organic category, with its Reyneke Reserve Red 2009 winning awards for Best Wine Overall and Best Red. Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2012 won Best Wine Overall in the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Category. (See full list of winners below.)
“The panel was delighted to see that, overall, standards have improved in the organic category,” said Fiona. “Winemaking is more adept and the quality of wine is markedly better. The gap has narrowed between wines made from grapes grown in organic vineyards and wines made using more ‘conventional’ farming methods.
“In the BWI category, there is also a lot to be positive about. Not only are the wines drinking beautifully, but with more and more producers signing up to join the BWI, there’s a real sense of conservation and doing things for the right reasons.”
Aside from the wines, the Best Conservation and Environmental Good Practices category remains a key part of the competition and continues to promote sustainable farming and conservation of the Cape winelands. A minimum condition of entry is an Integrated Production of Wine rating of 70%, with entrants also required to write a letter of motivation outlining the aims, methods, achievements and goals of their site-specific management plan.
This year saw a record number of entries (a total of 16) that were screened by Inge Kotze (project coordinator at WWF-SA), with the top farms judged by a panel of experts who conducted in-depth site inspections. It was encouraging to see just how many producers are doing their bit to reduce their impact on the environment by using creative, novel conservation programmes, with Spier winning the overall award, Innovative Leader in Conservation and Environmental Good Practice. Other producers were honoured for excelling in specific areas such as water management, energy conservation and eco-tourism.
from the fringe to the norm
Greg Garden, group brand executive of the competition sponsor Nedbank, was thrilled to see the Green Wine Awards grow from strength to strength. “As leading bankers to the wine industry and one of South Africa’s environmental and sustainability leaders, our sponsorship of the Nedbank Green Wine Awards makes for great synergy with our 22-year partnership with WWF-SA and 15-year partnership with the Cape Winemakers Guild. We are delighted that what started out as a fringe initiative aimed at encouraging the organic wine movement has grown so quickly, and we have no doubt that green wine and green winemaking will in due course be standard practice rather than a niche.”
Full results and a complete overview of the competition are available in South Africa’s Green Wine Guide. A total of 85 000 copies of the guide are bagged with the December issue of Getaway magazine (all copies) and Complete Golfer (subscriber and certain newsstand copies).
Wines made from Organically Grown Grapes:
- Best Wine Overall: Reyneke Reserve Red 2009
- Best Red: Reyneke Reserve Red 2009
- Best White: Reyneke Chenin Blanc 2011
- Best Value: Stellar Winery Live-a-Little Really Ravishing Red N/V
- Bloggers’ Choice: Green Shebeen Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Best Biodiversity and Wine Initiative Wines:
- Best Wine Overall: Paul Cluver Riesling Noble Late Harvest 2012
- Best Red: Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2011
- Best White: Gabrielskloof Magdalena 2010
- Best Value: Wedderwill 12ºC 2010
- Bloggers’ Choice: Gabrielskloof Magdalena 2010
Best Conservation and Environmental Good Practice Awards:
- Innovative Leader in Conservation and Environmental Good Practice Award overall winner: Spier
- Runners-up: La Motte, Cloof/Burgherspost and Waverley Hills (tied)
- Best Contribution to Water Management: Waverley Hills
- Best Contribution to Energy Efficiency: Bartinney
- Best Contribution to Cape Winelands Eco-Tourism and Conservation: Cloof/Burgherspost
- Best Contribution to Environmental Initiatives and Awareness Programmes: Spier
Cheers to our pioneering farmers – we drink to your health! Let’s be selective this season and support those who have the courage to chart new parths to conserve our future.
1. Andrew Milne & Frans Smit (Spier)
2. Wolfgang von Loeper & Nico Vermeulen (Wedderwill)
3. Bartinney: wine made on a mountain.
4. Jacques van der Merwe, proud Conservation Manager of Kloof Estate.
5. Green Wine Awards venue Greenways Hotel, Cape Town.
6. Best Value winner Stellar Winery’s Live-a-Little Really Ravishing Red label.
7. Bloggers’ Choice winner Green Shebeen Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.