Solar power plants
The solar power plants, installed by Sustainable Power Solutions, generate 2800kWh daily, enough to run the winery with the surplus fed to the grid supplying the rest of the Estate.The solar plants contributed to Lourensford being named Best Farming Practice Winner in the Leadership in Energy Conservation category at the Nedbank Green Wine Awards 2016 for the second consecutive year.
Energy Saving in the winery
- Smart metering installed (real-time computerised measuring of electricity usage to guide future practices)
- Procedures put into effect regarding the switching on and off of the compressors
- Refrigeration chiller software adjusted for more effective energy use
- ‘Time of use’ communication to staff on ‘red’ expensive times of energy use
- Installing energy saving bulbs in the winery
Energy Saving on the broader estate
- All homesteads on the farm have switched to prepaid electricity
- Timers and blankets installed on geysers
- Tracker units gathering live data were installed on tractors and farm vehicles to monitor performance and reduce fuel consumption
- Inverters installed on pumps to ease start-ups
- Annual Earth Protection Awareness training sessions for staff
WWF Conservation Champion since 2006
A WWF Conservation Champion since 2006, the estate actively manages its 1200 hectare biodiversity area, which is made up of Cape Winelands Shale Fynbos and Boland Granite Fynbos, both of which are endangered vegetation types and hold many red-listed species. The farm also holds mapped areas of the critically endangered Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos and pristine pockets of Afromontane forest. These areas are monitored by the estate as well as the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers and 300 species of plants and trees have so far been recorded.
The estate has well over 100 bird species recorded with surveys and updating of mammal, reptile and amphibian species lists happening on an ongoing basis.
The Cape Leopard Trust’s Boland Leopard Project
In association with The Cape Leopard Trust’s Boland Leopard Project, a monitoring programme for the Cape Mountain Leopard is ongoing. With seven motion sensitive camera traps in place, the estate contributes to one of the projects objectives of determining how many leopards still roam the mountains of the Boland. The estate forms an important corridor for the movement of the leopard and other wildlife, allowing connectivity between protected areas. The estate is also involved in the Leopard Trusts’ environmental education programme.
Alien vegetation clearing project
An alien vegetation clearing project was started in the mid-2000s to rehabilitate the upper reaches of the Lourens River as well as restoring wetlands and indigenous Afromontane forest; with alien vegetation being one of the biggest threats to biodiversity, this plan continues today and provides employment to the local community.
Lourens River declared a Protected Natural Environment
The source of the Lourens River and its pristine upper reaches lie on the farm; of all the rivers in South Africa, the Lourens River is the only to be declared a Protected Natural Environment and thus the responsibility of managing the river responsibly is taken seriously. The watercourses and natural areas are also a vital tool for environmental education whereby school groups and farm workers are encouraged to take ownership of protecting the environment in their area. This is also reinforced on interpretive signboards on the estate.
Other focus areas include:
- Strenuous fire and erosion management
- Encouraging higher education institutions to conduct research on the estate
- Improving the coherence of and access to information on biodiversity
- Actively seeking to engage in new conservation and sustainable development projects
- Continually working towards more effective land use planning and reducing our carbon footprint
- Regular environmental assessments and audits
Our commitment to Conserving Water
Lourensford is in the very fortunate position to be self-sufficient with water supply. We have a network of catchment dams on the property, and have no water connection from City of Cape Town.
The areas higher up against the mountain is also one of the highest rainfall areas in the Cape, and we have had sufficient rains in winter 2017 to fill our dams to full capacity. We draw no water from the Lourens- or Landdrost-rivers.
However, this does not mean we are reckless with water usage: our main activity is agricultural, and we need to plan our irrigation or water usage very careful to be able to protect crops, vineyards and orchards. This is done very scientifically with computerized neutron moisture meters in the soil, to calculate minimum water requirements. The gardens, which uses less than 10% of our water supply, are also on a computerized irrigation system.