Graham Beck | Environmental
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Sustainable

Initiatives

A passion for quality, a commitment to tomorrow


The definition of sustainability is “the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance”. Deeply embedded in the Graham Beck ethos has been this environmentally responsible approach to farming and wine production.


The very act of raising a glass of Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique allows us to celebrate what matters. To the team at Graham Beck it is imperative that our commitment to quality and integrity, in each step of pursuing the perfect bubble, involves the long-term safeguarding of the health of our planet


That is why we have established pioneering programmes to nurture, protect and conserve our precious natural heritage, whilst continuing to craft Cap Classiques of class, distinction and excellence. These sustainability initiatives not only hold us accountable, they have also served as encouragement and examples to others.


Two components which play a pivotal role in farming are water and energy.


Water: Our Most Precious Resource


Nearly three quarters (although only about 3% of that is freshwater for meeting the needs of people, plants and animals) of the Earth's surface is water, so it is often called the Blue Planet. Ironically, water has become one of our most precious resources.


At Graham Beck we are consistently implementing strategies to measure and reduce our energy and water consumption in an effort conserve these limited resources. One of these advances involves the recycling of all the sewerage water from the farm and cellar. This includes the sewerage from one of our neighbouring farms, Highlands Stud. All the recycled water is utilised for the irrigation of the vineyards. The recycled water amounts to about 3 million litres per month.


Bright sparks


With regards to energy reduction, in 2016 Graham Beck initiated the installation of an extensive solar system to support our electrical usage and saving. During the project, 1200 panels were installed on the roof of our Madeba 3 cellar. The system is able to generate a total of 312 kWp, while the lifespan of the panels is 25 years. It forms part of our continued commitment towards sustainability as a cellar with Conservation Champion status, and Graham Beck’s overall environmental footprint. The average electricity generated per day from our solar plant is equal to one ton of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) if it was generated by a coal plant. Therefore, there is a direct, tangible environmental benefit.


Eco-warriors - Leading by example


Over the years Graham Beck has been instrumental in improving and uplifting the lives of others in the surrounding communities. Local projects are aimed at education and awareness surrounding ethical farming and the conservation of indigenous fauna and flora. One such ground-breaking initiative is the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy.


Nestled at the base of the Langeberg Mountains, between Worcester and Robertson, lies an area supporting some of the last remaining Karoo and Renosterveld vegetation. Graham Beck was one of the first farms to be awarded WWF Conservation Champion Status, and together with 27 neighbouring farms, they started the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy on 30 November 2006, a geographical area affiliated and registered with Cape Nature.


The goal is to protect 16 000 hectares of the unique Cape Floral Kingdom’s natural fauna and flora. Designated as one of 34 global ecological ‘hotspots’, the area is home to some 8 500 higher plant species that are largely endemic. Several plants are classified as: Critically Endangered (9), Endangered (18), Rare (27), Vulnerable (38) and Near Threatened (35).


Iconic species such as the Cape leopard inhabit the area. The region provides the ideal habitat for the Riverine Rabbit (Critically Endangered), with confirmed sightings of brown Hyena and honey badger (Vulnerable). Restricted populations of the Endangered Breede Redfin Minnow occur in upper stretches of the Vink and Noree streams.


As an extremely threatened area that has lost 70% of its natural vegetation, the focus is on rehabilitation and restricting any future impact on the ecology, through a comprehensive strategy for restoration and conservation of our biodiversity.


  • Minimal Intervention
    Using state-of-the-art technology, Graham Beck endeavours to practice environmentally friendly pest and disease control methods as far as possible. Experimental vineyard blocks are farmed according to purely organic principles. Since implementing such changes, the biomass cover of the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve has risen by 34% since 2001, while our erosion problems have been reduced by up to 42%.
  • Promoting Conservation Awareness
    The Beck Family Development Trust facilitates the management of our philanthropic projects and promotes conservation awareness. The Trust offers financial support to the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy. Graham Beck has an impressive 1,978 hectares under conservation, the aim is to assist the area in their aim to support sustainable resource utilization, as well as the conservation of fauna and flora and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations (through active participation, communication and education).
  • Eco-Warriors
    As passionate custodians of our rich natural heritage we strive for a healthy balance which returns the ecosystem to a state that benefits both the farm and the fragile local bionetwork. Graham Beck focuses on veld and game management, control of soil erosion, bio-energy solutions, waste management, environmentally sensitive pest and disease control, environmental education, conservation incentives, external auditing and upskilling in the community.

Working in harmony with ecology is not just a healthy philosophy; it’s a strategy that makes sound business sense.


As a leading international sparkling wine brand, we at Graham Beck are acutely aware that we have an exceptional opportunity to share our journey with our consumers. An important part of this story is our dedication to conservation and the protection of the South-western Cape’s unique natural biodiversity.


  • Tread Lightly Upon the Earth
    Treading lightly upon the earth is one of our core values and we constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our direct actions on the environment, the people and the planet. Our goal is to craft premium Méthode Cap Classique while working in collaboration with Mother Nature, not at the cost of nature. For this reason, Graham Beck believes in minimal intervention in winemaking.
  • Planning & Protection
    To protect the natural biodiversity of the environment, the entire Graham Beck process (from grape to glass) involves meticulous and strategic planning. This features a comprehensive environmental adaptive management plan and a full set of best practice guidelines.
    Along with a variety of environmental educational projects, and continued restoration programmes, the team are constantly researching and monitoring all conservation projects. Today, Graham Beck uses less herbicide /pesticide than ten years ago, and we have initiated and funded a complete catchment situation assessment for the Vink and Noree River system. This project required Graham Beck to provide space for the Vink River to traverse the farm, to maintain healthy river function. This resulted in a river management plan for the entire catchment area.
  • Blossoming Results
    We are proud to report that for every hectare we use for agricultural or living and wine-producing activities, we conserve 8 hectares of natural vegetation. The natural vegetation we conserve is regarded as one of the geographical priority areas for conservation in the Western Cape (Central Breede Valley). We are the only organisation to formally conserve a large portion of Breede Sand Fynbos (a critically endangered vegetation type). Over a period of 18 years, we managed to stabilise and restore all erosion problems in a 2000 hectare area back to natural vegetation. As custodians of many rare and endangered plant species, we’re thrilled to share that one rare plant species exists solely on our property, namely the exquisite Esterhuizenia Grahambeckii.

Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


To implement effective waste management beyond business-as-usual, Graham Beck has applied the 4-R principles in a number of innovative ways.


One of these involves using approximately 500 tons annually of grape pulp (pomace), acquired during harvest, in the vineyards as organic fertilizer. We apply around 60 litres of spot pomace treatment at the feet of the vines, should the vines be showing evidence of struggling. In terms of our water-saving efforts, these vary each season. At the moment, we are allowed 7450 m³ per hectare of vineyards per year, according to the Water Board‘s Crop Index. We have reduced our water usage down to a maximum of 6000 m³ per hectare each year. This is due to the following initiatives:


  • Constant and regular Neutron Moisture Probe readings (each vineyard block is measured on a weekly basis to support our irrigation programme).
  • Cover crops are planted in the rows between vineyards to suppress weeds and to reduce the compaction of the soil. The cover crops also elude unnecessary evaporation in between the rows.
  • Weed management at the feet of the vines is extremely important to avoid the proliferation of additional weeds which could absorb water.
  • In certain blocks, we utilise the pomace by covering the feet of the vine completely with the mulch to avoid evaporation.

Sharing our conservation success story and generating eco-awareness


We believe wholeheartedly in offering guests to our estate an immersive experience. This extends to sharing our journey with those far and wide, providing wine lovers with peace of mind regarding our ethical approach to community and conservation.


In an era of business transparency and accountability, Graham Beck takes great pride in communicating our conservation initiatives. After all, deep-seated care for people and nature has always been embedded in our core values.


Our conservation efforts are explained during cellar tours, tastings, and tours of our vineyards. We also communicate these efforts through our digital channels. In addition, Mossie Basson, Graham Beck’s much-loved Conservation Manager (and raconteur extraordinaire) shares our initiatives with our agents and special guests to the farm, with a fascinating drive through the spectacular Graham and Rhona Beck Nature Reserve.


In conclusion, it is our fervent hope that what truly matters to us - the triumphs we toast along our journey towards the perfect bubble - become moments and causes that matter to you too. Because that’s something to celebrate!




Celebrate What Matters

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