Carbon Neutral Wines

Backsberg has become the first wine producer in South Africa and one of only three in the world to gain Carbon Neutral status by sequestrating its carbon emissions.

Proprietor, Michael Back, who joined the family business in 1976, is passionate about the environment, believing that each generation is the custodian of the land for a limited period of time only. “Care for the environment means care and concern for succeeding generations. As custodians of the land, it is our duty to understand and recognise potential threats, and to mitigate against them for the benefit of the next generation,” says Back whose forward thinking has already rescued several plant species from extinction by reserving 10% of his land for non-development and preservation of the endangered “Fynbos” biome.

Backsberg has completed a comprehensive carbon audit initiated to understand the carbon emission consequences of its farming and wine making activities. The carbon audit reviewed all activities from overall energy consumption, to CO2 emitted during fermentation. The level of detail considered in the audit allows Backsberg to deliver a range of Carbon Neutral fruit and wine to clients, both domestically and internationally.

The carbon standard applied at Backsberg follows the Kyoto Protocol on Green House Gas emissions. The scientific nature of the carbon audit allows Backsberg to understand the magnitude of the sequestration solutions it needs to seek and develop, in order to reduce its carbon footprint and maintain a status of carbon neutrality going forward.

The sequestration solutions developed by Backsberg will involve a greening program within the nearby village of Klapmuts. This program will be managed by the internationally respected Jeunesse Park, CEO of Food and Trees for Africa, the non-profit national greening organisation driving the Carbon Standard offset program in South Africa. This collaboration will see Backsberg use the Food and Trees for Africa Carbon Standard logo.

“We are indeed proud to be associated with Food and Trees for Africa,” said Back, who believes that a whole new market sector with the emphasis on care, not only for the wine and the consumer, but also care for the environment is about to open. Backsberg will now deliver to wine lovers throughout the world, fine wines, individually crafted within our wine making philosophy of producing wines with a high level of  ‘drinkability’ which are also Carbon Neutral,” added Back.

“Trees are the most efficient and simple means for us to store carbon, providing us with the air we breathe and absorbing the carbon dioxide we exhale and that is emitted in large quantities by our carbon based society,” says Park, who was honoured with an International Chevron Conservation Award in California in October last year for her efforts to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged South Africans through natural resource improvements. Since the start of the Public Benefit Organisation 17 years ago, Food and Trees for Africa has distributed over 2,5 million trees throughout South Africa.

Whilst tree planting is crucial to the absorption of greenhouse gas emissions, it is equally important to develop more conservation oriented practices by becoming more energy efficient for long term sustainability.

Backsberg sees tree planting as part of a package of solutions to climate change and is currently either applying or reviewing a number of these solutions. This “package” includes conversion to bio fuel, setting aside land for development of additional biomass, reviewing packaging (especially in terms of glass weight) and the development of methane digester technology.

Fortunate to have both an environmentalist and a horticulturist in its employ, the Backsberg “Green Team” is helping to create a paradigm shift of care for the environment.

Backsberg Estate, situated along the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, midway between Paarl and Stellenbosch, has been producing quality wines for over 70 years and enjoys international acclaim as one of the Top 100 Wineries in the world as rated by Wine & Spirits Magazine in New York.

Backsberg offers a wide range of fine wines enjoyed throughout the world, not just for their structure and finesse, but for their seamless ‘drinkability’. Backsberg is open seven days a week for wine tasting, sales and lunches. For more information call us on + 27 21 875 5141.

Contact details for further information:

John Spiers, CEO of Backsberg Estate Cellars
Tel: (021) 875-5141
Email: john@backsberg.co.za

Michael Back, Proprietor
Tel: (021) 875-5141
Email: michael@backsberg.co.za

Jeunesse Park, CEO of Food and Trees for Africa
Tel: (011) 784-6399
Email: info@trees.org.za
Website: www.trees.co.za

Harmke Immink, Environmental Engineer and Carbon Neutral auditor
Tel: 083 228-1781
Email: immink@mweb.co.za