Lourensford Wine Estate ups their conservation efforts

I was privileged to work at Backsberg over the time that they made headlines with their innovation and became South Africa’s first Carbon Neutral winery. Michael’s passion for this purpose taught me a lot and I have always kept an eye out for other developments along this line.

Recently we’ve received the news that Lourensford has also reinforced its reputation for conservation of the beautiful natural environment of their wine estate in Somerset West by investing in solar energy. Lourensford is a 4 000 hectare estate with the cultivation of fruit, wine grapes and forestry as main activities. Emphasis is placed on the conservation of the estate’s unique biodiversity and rich fauna and flora heritage. The estate has a conservation area of about 1 200 hectares consisting mainly of the Lourens, Landdros and Amandel Rivers, wetlands, indigenous woodlands and fragments of the endangered Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos.

More than R7 million has been spent on the installation of a modern 500 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant on the roof of the winery. The installation of the system is part of the long-term strategy to generate more natural energy, and in this way contribute to sustainable energy and the protection of the ecosystem. The 2 000 PV modules on the roof help save electricity costs and shrink the estate’s carbon footprint drastically. It will supply 100% of the cellar’s annual electricity needs and will once again confirm the estate’s status as a long-term environmentally friendly and innovative producer.

Lourensford belongs to successful South African businessman and entrepreneur, Dr Christo Wiese, the driving force behind the PV system. It is an extension of a well-established programme of sustainable agriculture, nature conservation, recycling and the eradication of invasive plants.

“If one is exposed to the incredible natural beauty of Lourensford Estate every day, one cannot but develop a desire to conserve the environment,” says Koos Jordaan, GM of Lourensford Estate. “Dr Wiese encouraged us to have studies done to evaluate the most sustainable format for the creation of alternative energy. As shareholder of a number of national enterprises he is acutely aware of the need to do business in a more environmentally friendly manner and to obtain alternative sources of energy. Using solar power made practical sense, as the roof of the cellar faces north, and solar power is non-mechanical, quiet, clean and invisible. It is also practically maintenance free with a performance guarantee of more than 20 years on the PV modules.”

You can treat yourself to a Lourensford Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinotage or Merlot – stocked at your nearest Checkers store, and know you are doing your bit for the environment!