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business of wine, WOSA

SA sustainability seal – what is all about? #SAgoodwine

So what that new sticker on the bottles of SA wine – no more bus ticket now rather a green ticket

There is a lot of blah blah here but essentially SA wine that carry the new seal are saving the natural envelopment and supporting labor though fair labor practices – and that a good thing!




    • to serve as a basis for the application of the principles of integrated production in the growing of grapes and the production of   wine;
    • to regulate the registration of farms where grapes intended for the production of IP wine are grown, and of cellars in which such   wine is produced;
    • confirm the correctness of indications relating to integrated production which are used in connection with the sale of such wine;
    • to establish confidence in such indications when they are thus used.



A great advantage for South Africa and a world first. (Chile have decided to follow suit)

South Africa will have a visual guarantee, not only for the integrity of origin and/or vintage year and/or cultivar, but also for sustainable production and traceability up to product level.

The Wine and Spirit Board (Board) currently runs two certification systems: Wine of Origin (WO) and Integrated Production of Wine (IPW). For WO a certification seal has been in existence for many a year, but there is no seal for the much younger IPW system for sustainable, environmentally friendly production. After wide consultation it was decided to make an alternative seal, which covers both WO and IPW, available as from the 2010 harvest year.

The existing WO seal, which certifies origin, vintage year and cultivar, will still be available to producers who do not wish to make use of the new seal or who only comply with WO requirements and not IPW requirements. The new seal is an alternative seal, which will certify for both IPW and WO. This means that there will still only be one seal on a container, depending on which aspects are wished to be certified for – only WO (current seal) or both WO and IPW (new seal).

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers to all the genes, species, ecosystems and processes that allow life to persist over time. When biodiversity is intact, species and ecosystems are resilient, enabling them to adapt to environmental changes. When biodiversity is lost, nature responds unpredictably, making it difficult for growers to plan production and protect natural resources.

The Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI)

The Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK) is the smallest yet richest plant kingdom on earth, and has earned international recognition as a global biodiversity hotspot and as South Africa’s newest World Heritage Site. However, the CFK is under increasing threat from agriculture, urban development and invasive alien plant species, with less than 9% of the unique Renosterveld and Lowland Fynbos ecosystems remaining, and much of the Succulent Karoo also under threat. Since 80% of the CFK is privately owned, landowner participation in conservation efforts is essential.

South Africa is a large producer of wine, and approximately 90% of this wine production occurs within the CFK. Because of the growth of the South African Wine industry in the years since 1994, concern began mounting that some of the region’s most vulnerable natural habitat might be targeted for vineyard expansion. Following an initial study by the Botanical Society of South Africa and Conservation International, the wine industry and the conservation sector embarked on a pioneering partnership to conserve the rich biodiversity of the CFK.


The BWI was established as a partnership between industry and conservation in November 1994. It is an initiative based within the South African office of the global conservation organisation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The BWI aims to:

1. Prevent further loss of habitat in critical conservation priority sites;
2. Increase the total area set aside as natural habitat in contractual protected areas; and
3. Promote changes in farming practices that enhance the suitability of vineyards as habitat for biodiversity, and reduce farming practices that have negative impacts on biodiversity, both in the vineyards and in surrounding natural habitat, through the sound management of all natural resources and maintenance of functioning ecosystems.

To become a BWI member, producers must have at least two hectares of natural or restored natural area on the farm that can be conserved. Members must be registered with the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme and will therefore be compliant with the industry-prescribed environmental responsibilities. Members might not necessarily have implemented all the required management actions for retaining biodiversity (eg alien clearing, erosion control, rehabilitation of wetlands and rivers, appropriate fire management, etc), but do have time-based plans and schedules in place to ensure a process of continual improvement. BWI members are committed to keeping their demarcated natural area(s) conserved, and must not develop new vineyards in these areas.

BWI Champions are exemplary producers who have earned additional recognition and status for their excellent track record as leaders in environmentally responsible farming practices. They can be regarded as the flagship farms within the industry with regards to the conservation of biodiversity. These farms have a comprehensive conservation management plan in place with dedicated staff members implementing these plans, including extensive alien clearing, fire management and voluntary conservation agreements committing their natural areas to long-term conservation. Champions have all the necessary permits and authorisations in place because they have successfully passed an external IPW audit.

The impact of the BWI on the vineyard-growing areas of the Cape has been phenomenal, and has become an international benchmark for conservation and business partnerships. As of March 2010, there are 15 champions, 12 producer cellar members and 142 members enlisted in BWI. The total area conserved among all the members and champions is 118 500 hectares, which represents almost 120% of the total vineyard footprint in the Cape winelands.



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