Announced at an awards ceremony in London on 22 April Michael Back, owner of Backsberg Estate Cellars, has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Green Awards convened by UK liquor trade magazine The Drinks Business, while the property itself won the Amorim Sustainability Award. Backsberg became the first carbon neutral winery in South Africa and the third in the world in 2006.
The Drinks Business Green Awards runs an annual programme of drinks industry awards, and is the world’s largest programme to raise awareness of green issues, and in doing so recognise and reward those who are leading the way in sustainability and environmental performance.
The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will have excelled throughout their career in furthering environmental, sustainable or ethical practices in the drinks industry to the benefit and education of others.
Wineries and distilleries now have to consider sustainable practices in their production and market positioning. The Amorim Sustainability Award recognises the efforts made by a company, generic or brand to employ the most efficient and effective sustainable practices in their business (in production facilities or their agricultural practices).
Michael Back is renowned for challenging conventions in terms of environment action and sustainability. He is also well respected for his community work and passion for social responsibility.
The focus on the farm for the last decade has been on reducing the emissions impact through reduction in fuel and electricity usage. Simultaneously Backsberg initiated an environment impact study and has made sustainability core to the business. The farm is developing biomass energy crops and the cleaned methane from the bio-digester will be harnessed to power converted farm vehicles and to power an electricity generator.
Backsberg Estate Cellar is a member of the Franschhoek Wine Valley and is situated at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains.
Franschhoek was voted Number 3 in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Top 10 Destinations in South Africa.