The Drinks Business Green Awards is the world's largest programme designed to raise awareness of green issues in the drinks trade and reward leadership in sustainability and environmental performance.
Villiera scooped the prize alongside stiff international competitors after being been shortlisted in this category with SIP Certified (USA), Bodega Matarromera S.L (Spain), Angove Family Winemakers (Australia), and Viña Concha y Toro (Chile).
Villiera's holistic approach to creating the perfect balance between agricultural production, environmental conservation and sustainability has made them an environmental leader in both the conservation and energy categories. The Griers have given great environmental consideration to rectify past disturbances on natural vegetation and implemented extensive programmes to ensure the reduction of their present and future carbon footprint.
Villiera's conservation efforts include the rehabilitation of old vineyards and fallow land to provide a wildlife sanctuary of some 220 Ha for game. This sanctuary addresses conservation of both game and vegetation and also comprises an indigenous tree planting project. Over 100 000 indigenous trees have been planted in an attempt to green fallow land and provide mitigation for their carbon footprint. The wildlife sanctuary is certified by Cape Nature, and game within the camp gradually reduces alien invasive vegetation by actively feeding on these plants.
Their ecological philosophy extends to the vineyards where minimal amounts of herbicide for weed control and only a small area of vineyard has been sprayed once in the last 15 years. Vineyard pests are controlled and kept to a minimum by a large number of ducks. Naturally, these conservation efforts include our scarcest resource, water. Vineyard moisture is measured using “Neutron Probes” and the vines are only irrigated when absolutely necessary. This year Villiera also installed a rainwater harvesting system. All roof water is now diverted from the roofs through rudimentary filters into the irrigation dams. In a normal rainfall year this will provide 6 000 000 liters of quality rainwater.
But it is Villiera’s pioneering solar installation in 2010 that has contributed to their significant sustainable energy footprint. Solar panels were installed at enormous cost but the cost of the initial installation of 950 m2 has already been covered by the electricity supplied to the farm. Earlier this year the solar panel installation was increased to a total of 1155 m2. Villiera is currently producing a large portion of its own energy requirements from this completely sustainable source. In addition, the cellar receives its lighting requirements through solar domes which were installed to further reduce Villiera’s reliance on carbon-based energy production.
"We are a fourth generation family business and by preserving the environment and improving our operational efficiency across all facets of our business we are ensuring future generations have a sustainable and eco-friendly environment", says Cathy Grier Brewer (CMW), Director. "Receiving The Drinks Business Green Company of the Year Award is a great honour for the entire team at Villiera."
Matthew Grier (Jeff Grier's son) received the coveted award in London on behalf of Villiera Wines.
For more information visit www.villiera.com.