Sense and sustainability: How wine producers are protecting the environment

Johan Delport, chief winemaker, Waverley Hills 

“Waverley Hills has been at the forefront of sustainable and organic farm practises for years, and produces quality certified organic wines.

Situated in the Tulbagh Valley in the Western Cape in South Africa, the area receives around 550mm of rain per year. Seven years ago the estate embarked on a programme to conserve irrigation water by laying down shade cloth on the soil in the vineyards. Strips of 1.5 metres are laid underneath the vines and are kept in place by applying small amounts of soil on the ends of the cloth. With this process the sun gets blocked out by the shade cloth, which prevents weeds from growing underneath it.

The permeability of the cloth allows the irrigation water to go through to the soil and feeds the vines’ roots. The cloth also prevents evaporation, keeping the soil moist and cool, which helps preserve the amount of irrigation water that needs to be given to the vines. The project has been a pioneering initiative for the South African wine industry.”

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