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.
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.
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.
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:
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!