About 90% of wine production in South Africa occurs within the Cape Floristic Region, especially on Lowland Renosterveld, of which only 9% is remaining. Clayey soils under Renosterveld are higher in nutrients than sandier soils under Fynbos and are ideal for vineyards. Key threats to biodiversity include invasive alien species, unsustainable harvesting, habitat transformation (due to agricultural and urban expansion) and poor land-use planning. In turn, declining biodiversity and ecosystem services (erosion control and groundwater recharge) threatens farm production. In response to the conservation threat, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative was launched in 2004.
- BWI Best practice guidelines encourages stewardship in critical priority sites and good agricultural practice.
- BWI assists farmers to assess the conservation value of their farms and implement farming guidelines.
- Seven years later, these guidelines have been integrated into the industry body, Integrated Production of Wine (IPW).
- The IPW audits the BWI members to check compliance with the guidelines.
- Benefits to farmers include: gaining a marketing advantage in the global wine market through the BWI wine bottle labelling scheme; assistance with adoption of sustainable farming practices that aim to increase long term productivity; and new tourism opportunities and wine products.
- There are now 207 members (with 19 champions) covering ca. 205 000 ha, 62% of which is natural, and with 19 894 ha in land stewardship agreements. About 78% and 86% of their NFEPA wetlands and rivers are remaining, respectively (GreenChoice Biodiversity Baseline Study 2010). In addition, there have been improvements in the management of alien invasive plants, water and fire.
- Wines bearing the BWI label are sold abroad and locally at Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay, Macro and Checkers.
BWI Project Manager