Rust en Vrede are proud World Wildlife Fund Conservation Champions, which means that we implement biodiversity guidelines, and we work hard to conserve critical ecosystems on the farm.
Twelve hectares of undisturbed natural habitat was identified by the WWF, and the Engelbrecht family have made long-term commitments to conserve and maintain these areas. Most of this area forms part of the Bonterivier river system which runs through the property.
During initial years of planting, pine trees were removed from fynbos and natural forest areas, and in 2014 another big alien removal operation took place. We do annual removal of alien vegetation, as well as the replating indigenous flora to encourage biodiversity. As conservation Champions, our work is ongoing to maintain the natural habitat that forms part of the Rust en Vrede Estate.
Rust en Vrede Estate lies south of Stellenbosch, approximately 15km from False Bay. The As part of sustainable farming practices, pesticides and insecticides are kept to a minimum, and natural predators are protected. We practise biological control of pests by the augmentation of natural predators – specifically for mealybug.
Cover crops help improve the soil structure and create a positive environment for soil organisms to flourish while limiting the erosion effects of rainwater. Cover crops are replanted seasonally, rotated, and green mulched for optimal soil health. We also use compost tea as natural fertilizer which is supplied to the vines via drip irrigation.
Most farming activities are done by hand and tractors are banned in newly planted vineyards blocks for the first three years to prevent compaction of soil. Recycling processes are in place, no waste dumped on the premises and a record of all fuel consumption – and carbon outputted – is also kept.
In terms of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, we only use IPW approved substances to fight vine maladies. Furthermore, we only use synthetic fungicides for powdery & downy mildew, and then only during flowering. For other maladies we use minimal contact herbicides.