De Grendel celebrates conservation milestone

De Grendel wine estate’s long-standing commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable farming has been recognised with Conservation Champion status by the WWF, the world’s leading independent conservation organisation.

For the historic Durbanville farm, becoming a WWF Conservation Champion recognises the respect for nature and the environment developed over four generations of the Graaff family’s stewardship of De Grendel.

De Grendel joins more than 50 of South Africa’s leading wine farms that have voluntarily committed to farm regeneratively, enhance biodiversity, and maintain a healthy ecosystem that provides valuable ecosystem services that extend beyond individual farms. As Conservation Champions, these landowners also implement energy and water efficiency measures, while the WWF assists with developing environmental management plans, priority actions and targets.

De Grendel was an early member of the WWF Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) and has long been certified for Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the SA wine industry’s environmental sustainability standard.

A sustainable agriculture enterprise on De Grendel is balanced with conservation, with 25% of the 880ha farm set aside as a conservation area to protect the Renosterveld habitat, eradicate invasive alien species and return indigenous game to the area. Visitors to De Grendel can experience the farm’s natural environment and conservation efforts on guided farm tours.

Farming activities on De Grendel are purposefully diverse in order to support biodiversity and reduce pressure on the ecosystem. In addition to wine growing and production, De Grendel farms blueberries and other fruit, grain, sheep and horses, and is home to a cattle stud and a dairy.

De Grendel is certified carbon neutral and the farm’s solar photovoltaic plant, which already powers more than a third of the operations, is being upgraded to more than double its present capacity.

Selected vineyard blocks are undergoing organic certification, while De Grendel has shifted to lighter-weight packaging for a number of its wines and runs a comprehensive waste management and recycling programme, including composting of organic waste from cellar operations.

Irrigation on De Grendel uses only treated wastewater and soil-monitoring technology ensures irrigation only takes place when needed, while stormwater is captured during the wet season and directed to a storage dam for later use.

Recognition as a Conservation Champion is the latest step in an ongoing journey at De Grendel, one of South Africa’s oldest working farms, to build a sustainable enterprise that endures for future generations.