More and more South African wine-lovers are becoming familiar with the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative (BWI) logo appearing on the labels of many of their favourite wines. Avondale was one of the first Cape wine producers to obtain BWI certification. Founded by the Botanical Society of South Africa, and nowadays formally incorporated into the World Wildlife Fund’s South Africa’s activities, the BWI is a partnership between wine farmers and conservationists to protect the unique natural heritage of the Cape Winelands. At Avondale, we actively strive to re-establish indigenous fynbos species not just around, but in amongst our vineyards. We make use of only indigenous plants as wind breakers, for beautification and as cover crops. The measure of the robustness of any ecosystem can be found in its biodiversity. Multitudes of life forms reduce vulnerability, protect the ecosystem from shocks and enable it to restore and regenerate more quickly. Avondale was one of the first South African wine producers to be awarded the Biodiversity in Wine certification. While we do have an ongoing restoration project to clear alien vegetation on the farm and plant hundreds of indigenous trees, we do not confine our efforts to promote biodiversity to just the marginal uncultivated areas of our land. We strive for biodiversity throughout the farm, and particularly in our actual vineyards. Our intricate cover cropping system throughout the seasons, which includes the nurturing of indigenous fynbos plants, fosters micro-life in the soils and attracts an abundance of beneficial insects. The land also supports a variety of naturally occurring birds, frogs, reptiles; small and larger mammals. The Cape Foxes which breed on the farm, the shy foraging of Common Duiker, Grysbok and Steenbok, the night-time wanderings of Red Caracal, Porcupine and Spotted Genets, and the pair of Black Eagles that soar down from the mountain cliffs to hunt Rock Hyrax are all testimony to the health of our environment.
The latest blogpost in our Camera! Lights! Avondale’s Biodiversity in Action! series shows the return of an old friend who was scarce after our big fire more than ten years ago.