Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nedbank Green Awards - red and white can also be green

Nedbank Green Awards - red and white can also be green
27 October 2010 by Nedbank Green Wine Awards

South Africa was the first country in the world to adopt an industry-wide system to promote sustainable grape growing and environmentally sound cellar practices.

The country is again leading the way with the promotion of environmentally friendly wines thanks to the second annual Nedbank Green Wine Awards which will be announced on November 18.

Local vineyards have found a mu ltitude of ways to go green - not just by switching to organic grape-growing but by taking advantage of other green initiatives: from the use of indigenous cover crops, recycling of winery waste water, to using horse power in preference to tractors and even harnessing the power of the sun rather than relying on fossil-fuel derived electricity.

All of these initiatives have been adopted not only because more and more local and international consumers are looking for wines made with eco-friendly and sustainable production practices but also because it's the right thing to do.

These wineries will be honoured at the Nedbank Green Wine Awards, held in association with WINE magazine. Awards are given in two categories - for the Best Organic Wine as well as the Best Environmental Practice Award.

Organic viticulture can be defined as grape growing that shuns man-made pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilisers. Winners for the Best Organic Wine will be made from 2009 or earlier vintages, or blends of various vintages. Wines must be in market-ready condition and will have been accompanied by valid certification, such as that issued by the Société Générale de Su rveillance (SGS), an internationally recognised organic accreditation body.

The winners will be chosen at a blind tasting done by a panel of wine tasting experts including Christian Eedes (chair), Miguel Chan (Southern Sun sommelier), Roland Peens (wine broker and Master of Wine student), Ginette De Fleuriot (Cape Wine Master, Allan Mullins CWM (Wine Selector for Woolworths) and
Rianie Strydom (Haskell Vineyards winemaker).

The overall winner in 2009 and winner in the white category was Lazanou Organic Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2008 while the best red wine was a red blend from Stellenbosch winery, Laibach. Appropriately called The Ladybird Red, this 2007 vintage wine was named after the red-and-black bugs which are used for natural disease and pest control.

The Nedbank Green Wine Awards Best Environmental Practice Award is judged by a panel of environmental experts. It is open to all farms with the minimum requirement for entry being a 70 percent rating from the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW), the voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established in 1998. Organic certification is also accepted for entry into this category, but must be accompanied by several government authorisation documents such as water use authorisations and plough permits.

The judges for the Best Environmental Practice Award are Inge Kotze (project coordinator of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative), Lourens van Schoor (head of Enviroscientific, auditing body for the IPW), Tom McLaughlin (good business journey Specialist at Woolworths) and Johan Reyneke (Reyneke bio-dynamic wines in Stellenbosch).

Last year's winning winery was Oak Valley Wines from Elgin with Waverley Hills Organic Wines of Tulbagh named as the runner-up .

In a world first, biodiversity guidelines were included in the IPW scheme from 2005. South Africa has a unique wine heritage with the the oldest viticultural soils in the world. It is also the most biodiverse place on earth with more than 9 600 plants. Currently 90 percent of exporting producers representing 95 percent of grapes harvested have joined the scheme, demonstrating to consumers worldwide that the country is serious when it comes to sound environmental practices.

Nedbank's sponsorship of the Organic Wine Awards further supports its aim to be the leading "green bank". Nedbank has a long history of involvement in the wine indu stry including its 14 year sponsorship of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) and its involvement in the CWG Development Trust helping families of farm workers. The Nedbank Green Trust has been pivotal since 2004 in establishing the Biodiversity Wine Initiative, which is aimed at encouraging responsible land usage and farming within the wine industry.

"These awards provide a platform for the recognition of local winemakers and encourage environmentally sustainable farming and production practices. It also allows consumers to make a conscious choice when making wine purchases," says Greg Garden, Divisional Executive Group Marketing at Nedbank.