The importance of sustainable agriculture is fully understood and recognised by the Griers, the owners of Villiera Wines. Their holistic approach to sustainability has made them an environmental leader in both the conservation and energy categories. The various programmes implemented on Villiera, rectify past disturbances on natural vegetation and also contributes to the reduction of their present and future carbon footprint.

Villiera’s conservation efforts include the rehabilitation of old vineyards and fallow land to provide a wildlife sanctuary of some 220 Ha for game. This sanctuary addresses conservation of both game and vegetation and also comprises an indigenous tree planting project. Over 100 000 indigenous trees have been planted in an attempt to green fallow land and provide mitigation for their carbon footprint.

The wildlife sanctuary is certified by Cape Nature, and is stocked with a variety of game species including Eland, Zebra, Springbok, Gemsbok, Bontebok, Giraffe, Kudu, and Black Wildebeest amongst others. It also includes 12 dams plus marsh areas which attract a huge variety of bird-life. The game within the camp gradually reduces the alien invasive vegetation by actively feeding on these plants. Visitors can enjoy a scenic two-hour game drive through the Sanctuary.

Their ecological philosophy extends to the vineyards where minimal amounts of herbicide for weed control and only a small area of vineyard has been sprayed once in the last 15 years. Vineyard pests are controlled and kept to a minimum by a large number of ducks.  Naturally, these conservation efforts include our scarcest resource, water.

Vineyard moisture is measured using “Neutron Probes” and the vines are only irrigated when absolutely necessary. Villiera’s water conservation efforts include, an extensive rainwater harvesting system. Approximately 8,500 m2 of roof is connected to the rainwater harvesting system which diverts water from the roofs through rudimentary filters into irrigation dams. In a normal rainfall year this will provide 6000000 liters of quality rainwater.

Villiera’s pioneering solar installation in 2010 has made a positive impact to their energy footprint. The initial solar installation covered 950 m² and during the latter part of 2017 the solar panel installation was increased to a total of 1155 m2. Villiera produces a large portion of its own energy requirements from this completely sustainable source which also provides sufficient energy to power pumps for the dams. In addition, the cellar receives its lighting requirements through solar domes to further reduce Villiera’s reliance on carbon-based energy production.

Villiera has been recognised for their energy and conservation initiatives, winning the coveted Drinks Business Green Company of the Year Award in 2017. The Drinks Business Green Awards is the world’s largest programme designed to raise awareness of green issues in the drinks trade and reward leadership in sustainability and environmental performance.

For more information about the Game Drives in the Wildlife Sanctuary contact tel: 0218652002/3 or email [email protected].

Website: www.villiera.com

Picture/s: supplied

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