HL chatted to the man that makes it his mission to market his family’s eco-friendly wines, Simon Back of the famous Backsberg Estate Cellars. With vineyards located in the majestic Simonsberg Mountains, mid-way between Paarl and Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands, Backsberg produce some of the most popular wines in South Africa. Here’s how Simon introduced their new range of eco wines, Tread Lightly, and enlightened us about the world of green wine-making… @houseleisureSA: So let’s go back to the origins of @Backsberg. Your great grandfather arrived in SA in the 1900s. How has family influenced your eco-friendly vision? @simonback: Indeed, sustainability has always been something my family has believed in, be it on an environmental or social front. That said it was really my father – who eats, sleeps and drinks green – that has been the biggest influence on the farm. @houseleisureSA: Wonderful. Tell us more about the “tread lightly” approach you take when producing your wines? @simonback: Just to explain first, Tread Lightly, was a brand we recently developed which was the 1st SA wine bottled in PET. But the name really encompasses our approach at Backsberg, that of making wine with respect for the land. @houseleisureSA: Fantastic. And which wines dominant the Tread Lightly range? @simonback: Currently the Tread Lightly range is made up of a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Merlot. @houseleisureSA: That sounds delicious. What would you pair these with? @simonback: Being in Sweden (and it being summer) at the moment, the Sauvignon Blanc with some fresh salmon would be spot on. @simonback: With it being winter in SA though, I would say the Merlot with a lamb bredie would be the way to go. @houseleisureSA: Actually today we’d choose the salmon and Savignon Blanc. It’s lovely and sunny! @houseleisureSA: So, onto the technical part of your job, what makes Backsberg a carbon neutral winery? @simonback: Every year we do a carbon audit, where we look at all our carbon emissions and then we offset those emissions. @simonback: We also try reduce our electricity and fuel usage, e.g. using smaller bakkies or me using skype more/flying less. @simonback: The main way we offset our emissions, however, is through tree planting. We plant 1000s of trees annually. @houseleisureSA: Excellent! Is packaging your wines in Mondi’s new, innovative PET soft bottle also part of this effort? @simonback: Yes, the PET bottle is significantly lighter in weight, so your transport and distribution impact is a lot less. @houseleisureSA: That’s brilliant. @Backsberg is also a Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) member. Tell us more? @simonback: In fact, we are BWI champions! You need to fulfill a number of criteria related to conservation and sustainability. @simonback: Part of the BWI programme has led to us setting aside about 10 percent of the farm for fynbos preservation. You can check out more about the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative programme here. @houseleisureSA: Great, will do, thanks. @Backsberg is also deeply committed to social responsibility. What projects are underway? @simonback: Currently, the main focus is sponsoring students, who don’t have the resources, through tertiary studies. @houseleisureSA: What a wonderful initiative! @houseleisureSA: Finally, what is your personal favourite @Backsberg eco-friendly wine? @simonback: The last while I have been drinking plenty of our Family Reserve White (a blend of Chard, Roussanne and Viognier). @houseleisureSA: Nice perk to being part of the family 🙂 @houseleisureSA: Thanks so much for taking the time out to chat with us and for opening our eyes to the many benefits of eco-farming. @simonback: Absolute pleasure. Please pop by @backsberg for a tasting when you are next in the winelands. @houseleisureSA: Thank you. We will certainly take you up on that offer! If you want to know more about the Backsberg unique range of Tread Lightly wines please visit treadlightly.co.za and backsberg.co.za. Interviewed by Kim Grové.
Win with Backsberg!
Are you as much of a wine lover as you are a supporter of green initiatives? Then you’ll love Backsberg’s new range of Tread Lightly wines. The farm’s “Tread Lightly” philosophy is based on the principles of caring for the earth and its people, starting with being certified as a carbon-neutral winery. They believe in practising eco-friendly farming methods, from the size of their tractors, to ensuring energy-efficient production, and even thinking green when it comes to bottling their wines.
Want to taste the unique Tread Lightly range for yourself? HL is giving away a case of Backsberg Sauvignon Blanc and a case of Backsberg Merlot, all to the value of R1080! Please note that there will be two winners drawn for this prize and each will receive a case. Simply answer this question to stand a chance of winning: What is the name of Backsberg’s new, eco-friendly wine range? Email your name and answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 September 2011.