Drinking wine supports conservation

Feb 17, 2017Biodiversity, Community Conservation0 comments

By Noloyiso Gwanqa


In celebration of National wine drinking day (18 Feb 2017) we thought we would take a look at biodiversity and wine in South Africa. Here are some interesting facts and figures our conservation & gardening guru, Noloyiso Gwangqa, managed to dig up!


South Africa is the world’s eighth largest producer of wine and nearly 95 % of the country’s wine-growing takes place in the Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK), a global biodiversity hotspot and a World Heritage site. This is the only Kingdom that has the highest concentration of plant species in relation to its size. In terms of biodiversity, it is one of the ‘hottest hotspots’. Did you know that World Wide Fund (WWF) formed a partnership with South African wine industry and conservation sector? This was to establish Biodiversity Wine Initiative (BWI) by using a voluntary membership model. This is to promote awareness and participation in driving conservation-minded farming practices.

The Biodiversity and Wine Initiative focused on:
  • Minimising the loss of threatened natural habitat in the Cape winelands.
  • Increasing the total area of well-managed natural habitat set aside in contractually protected areas.
  • Promoting changes in farming practices that enhance the suitability of vineyards for biodiversity and reducing farming practices and their impact on biodiversity, both in vineyards and surrounding natural areas.
  • Positioning the biodiversity of the Succulent Karoo and Cape Floral Kingdom – and industry’s proactive stance to environmental sustainability and conservation – as a unique selling point.

BWI has received international recognition for the South African wine industry as leaders of the global wine sector in demonstrating the balance between nature and farming. Did you know that twenty of the estates are considered conservation ‘champions’ because they have committed more than 10% of their land to conservation?

In 2012 in Cape Town nearly 126.000 hectares have been conserved by BWI producers. For every hectare under vineyard an additional hectare of natural vegetation is committed to conservation.Some biodiversity species (such as Sugarbird on top of protea tree, Cape Leopard, Owl Post Pinotage etc.) have been used as striking logos on wine bottles. Therefore this creates a great success on their marketing as this might draw attention to consumers.

So GA friends … Let`s raise our glass to those many local winemakers who love nature and who put their love into action!!