BWI - Biodiversity & Wine Initiative
Vergelegen was the first producer to be awarded BWI 'Champion' status in March 2005, having made remarkable progress with its large-scale alien clearing and fire management programme to restore 2240 hectares of their 3000 hectare Estate.
Nearly 95 % of South Africa's wine-growing takes place in the Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK), the richest and also the smallest plant kingdom on the planet. Recognised both as a global biodiversity hotspot and a World Heritage site, it has come under increasing threat from agriculture, urban development and invasive alien species. In 2004, faced with just 4% of the CFK’s unique renosterveld remaining and much of its lowland fynbos ecosystems under threat, the wine industry developed a conservation partnership with the Botanical Society of South Africa, Conservation International and The Green Trust, which led to the establishment of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI). Widely praised as a pioneering partnership between the country’s wine industry and conservation sector, its mandate is not only confined to protecting natural habitat. It also encourages wine producers to farm sustainably and express the advantages of the Cape’s abundant diversity in their wines.