Vivid Producer of the Month: Journey's End
Few wineries do as much for the environment as Journey's End - but what really sets this Stellenbosch star apart is how its sustainable ethos extends far beyond the winery walls. Alongside notable work encouraging biodiversity in their vineyards, the Journey's End team are deeply involved in their local community, establishing and running incredible projects to support those in need.
They say helping the environment starts at home, and nowhere is that truer than at Journey's End. A unanimous focus on sustainable farming governs everything here, and is deeply integrated into the team's viticultural practices.
15 hectares of the Journey's End farm have been set aside for the sole purpose of re-wilding the natural environment. This land consists of wildflower meadows, and indigenous flora and fauna are encouraged to grow and flourish. Incredible wildlife thrives here, from the rare blue crane - the national bird of South Africa - to peacocks, to geese. Egyptian runner ducks traverse the vineyards eating insects, and spotted eagle owls catch rodents, eliminating the need for artificial herbicides and pesticides. Beehives located throughout the winery encourage the natural pollination of food crops, promoting a biodiverse ecosystem - as well as producing some truly delicious honey. The presence of bees also signifies a clean and healthy farm.
The winery proudly holds HACCP, IPW, BWI and WEITA accreditation. The team have innovative green practices in place, such as the planting of cover crops in between vineyard rows, to detract flies and aphids away from the vines. Post-harvest, this crop is flattened into the ground, where it acts as a natural fertiliser in something akin to a circle of life. To save water, drip irrigation is used, which pulls rainwater from 3 catchment dams situated across the vineyard.
Journey's End also holds the title of being the second farm in South Africa to be entirely solar powered.
Fairtrade certification was gained in September 2017. Key to the Journey's End mantra is an understanding that, without the tenacious characters and hardworking individuals who make up the winery family, the wine simply wouldn't get made. Working towards, achieving, and maintaining Fairtrade certification is, in the winery's opinion, testament to a commitment to bettering the lives of workers in whatever way possible. After all - happy, motivated workers mean excellent quality wines.
Charity and the wider community
Involvement in the local communities that surround the farm are key to the winery's ethical mantra. In November 2018, Journey's End completed renovation on the local school hall, and the team continue to support Hettie Orffer's hands-on 'Beat the Bully' initiative, which works to reduce bullying incidents in school, and has now been integrated into the curriculum.
Hot water geysers were also fitted onto the roofs of all workers' houses in 2018, but Journey's End's commitment to continually work for the good of the community didn't stop there. In 2020, the Journey's End Foundation was launched - a charity, established with the aim of supporting those worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Foundation, nine soup kitchens have been set up across the Helderberg region, providing daily meals to those in need. Since its inception, the Foundation has hit its extraordinary target of providing 10,000 meals per week - equal to a phenomenal 520,000 meals per year.