With the 2012 edition of Cape Wine behind us, the organisers’ efforts to give it a Green focus, again made me think about what the general perception is about “green” wine.
According to WOSA’s Su Birch, “Another feature to generate widespread interest in the show is the strong accent on environmental sustainability, in keeping with the country’s very progressive approach to eco-friendly winemaking.” And while the green theme was being translated into many facets of the show, what I find interesting is exactly how the wine industry being eco-friendly is translated to the consumer.
Do consumers understand all our efforts to be sustainable, organic and green?
While Organic on a label will definitely ring the bell for green practices, does the average wine consumer understand the difference between an organic wine and one made from organically grown grapes, what the biodiversity seal and the IPW (integrated production of wine) seals stand for? And if indeed, do they see these sustainability and biodiversity claims and especially Organic certification as something of real value?
All these different green initiatives can be quite confusing and made me wonder, does our message ring clear when it comes to green and organic wine?
In 2007, we have started with organic farming practices on La Motte. Farming organically with wine grapes means much more than ultimately having a seal on a wine bottle or having an added offering to your portfolio of products. Farming organically means bringing the natural balance back to the environment. It takes time and effort and commitment. Initially costs are high, crops are lower and the process and certification standards are often queried. But after all that, when the soil and the plants and the environment again reach its natural balance, it starts making sense – when birds return to help with insect control and the grapes have a natural healthy analysis and winemaking naturally requires less additives like sulphur. Eventually the whole cycle will be natural and healthy and so will be the product.
We might have some work to do in communicating the message, but in the meantime we have a responsibility towards the land – conservation and development have to be in balance in order to be sustainable and that is the real deal.