As 2019 draws to a close it is time to look back and reflect on the past year, and we certainly had a lot to celebrate! South Africa became Rugby World Champions for the third time when Siya Kolisi lifted the Rugby World Cup in Japan and Zozibini Tunzi became the third South African woman to be crowned Miss Universe. At Simonsig our Redhill Pinotage claimed the trophy for one of South Africa’s Top 10 Pinotage’s for the seventh time. Our maiden vintage of our Kaapse Vonkel Satin Nectar Rosé won the inaugural Trophy for the best Cap Classique in the Demi Sec style. And, to top it off, we had our best ever showing at the Veritas Awards; winning 4 Double Gold and 3 Gold medals! Our dams were also full for the first time since 2014.
There were some less happy moments too, starting on 1 January when a flare ignited the Betty’s Bay Fire which burned for two weeks. As our dams were filling up, the drought in the Karoo worsened, destroying people’s livelihoods and in other parts of the country floods are causing the blackouts we are currently experiencing (if Eskom is to be believed).
We cannot ignore the fact that our weather is getting more extreme every year, which is why we are looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint at Simonsig. As a region Stellenbosch signed the The Porto Protocol, taking a pledge to take Climate Change seriously and putting practises in place to put less strain on the environment and doing better every year.
In 2019 the SOLA Group installed solar panels on our cellar roof, saving 160 tons of carbon emissions; the equivalent to taking 34 cars off the road per year. The Bottelary Hills Conservancy, of which we are a member, cleared 300 hectares of invasive alien plants from the endemic Renosterveld which is home to owls, foxes, caracals, porcupines and many more small animals.
Our farming methods are also becoming greener every year. We are using mechanical weed control, reducing our reliance on herbicide. We also released beneficial bugs into our vineyards, acting as natural predators, which reduce the need for pesticide. Our gardens have also been transformed with indigenous Fynbos, being a lot more water wise.
We will work on becoming even more sustainable in 2020 and hope everyone joins us in taking better care of the Earth in 2020 – it is after all the only planet which can produce wine.
After good rain in November our own vineyards are in excellent condition and growing fast. We look forward to start the picking season in mid-January with Pinot Noir grapes for Cap Classique.
We wish you all a very happy festive season and the best start to the new decade, with Kaapse Vonkel of course!
The Malan Family and Team at Simonsig