Backsberg on CNN
[click here if the video doesn't load] I got back to the office one morning a few weeks ago with a message to call CNN back. Not being in the habit of receiving phone messages from CNN, I returned the call immediately speaking to the features producer at the CNN Johannesburg Bureau. Brilliant news: they wanted to do a feature on Backsberg, our environmental initiatives and specifically the launch of Tread Lightly in PET.
It was a couple days after that initial call that cameraman Peter Rudden came out to the farm to catch a bottling scene. Peter gave me a run for the money in the crazy hair stakes, but I took him in the beard department. I hopped into his car, and we headed down the road to the bottling plant where the bottling was taking place.
The bottling was underway when we arrived at the plant, though you wouldn’t have guessed as much – it was so quiet. Usually workers on the bottling line have to wear ear protection to guard against the very loud clanging noise of glass bottles. With the bottles being PET, however, bottling was a silent event. The amusing part was that it took everyone a little while to realise the difference, and many of the staff were still wearing their ear protection. Peter set all his camera equipment and got the requisite shot.
A couple of weeks later CNN correspondent Robyn Curnow and Johannesburg Bureau Chief Kim Norgaard came down from Joburg to visit the farm and do an interview. Robyn is the anchor for the Marketplace Africa show on CNN International. They were also accompanied by Peter, with oodles of equipment.
We took a drive around the farm, and I explained some of the background of our environmental program, the process of going carbon neutral and our latest venture of launching our Tread Lightly brand. We did the classic ‘walk and talk’ interview – never done one of those – which seemed to go off alright. Fortunately, the weather was playing ball, and the Cabernet and Shiraz vineyards which flanked us, and the Simonsberg Mountain in background, all played their part too.
I asked Robyn and Kim about their take on social media and and the changing landscape of journalism, and it was interesting to hear their views. One need only look to the likes of CNN’s iReport to see how the news channel has taken citizen journalism to heart. The challenge, however, remains managing the trade off of getting quick information straight from the source to still ensuring that that information is accurate and of a certain quality.
Anyway, back at the winery we moved to our historic vat cellar where the show continued. Peter made quite sure the lighting was perfect – watch out Cannes. We continued the interview and then conducted a tasting of the Tread Lightly wines. Robyn illustrating that the bottle was indeed shatterproof brought the day to a close.
P.S. Kim also let me know that the insert on Backsberg, was picked up and aired by CNN USA – ‘the mother lode’ – which was great news.