A South African winemaker, Vergenoegd Löw, The Wine Estate, is using 1 000 Indian Runner ducks to forage its vineyards where “they happily dine” on snails while keeping the farm pest-free and natural.
The wine estate is located in the Cape of Good Hope and is close to the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the owners, they have always been dedicated to great wine, innovation and environmentally friendly farming practices.
“So when it came to protecting our precious vineyards from pests, we asked: Is there a way to do it without harming the farm’s delicate ecosystem? Our working flock of 1000 Indian Runner ducks forage in the vineyards, happily dining on snails and keeping our farm pest free, naturally. We are one of Africa’s proud pioneers of a very unique, integrated pest management programme, a practice we have been refining since 1984,” they said.
“We have always loved our ducks here at Vergenoegd, but we have decided to take it a step further and show people that we actually love ALL birds! Our ducks are a big part of why Vergenoegd Löw proudly carries a WWF biodiversity certification seal as well as being awarded the Conservation Champion status.”
They added; “Every process on our farm is designed to leave as light a footprint as possible. This starts with a deep respect for the land and every creature that calls it home. Our working flock of Indian Runner Ducks form part of a natural pest control solution integral to the quality of our wines. We follow environmentally conscious principles such as recycling, solar electricity, composting and low-water drip irrigation systems. This is why we are proud of our WWF Conservation Champion status, and IPW biodiversity certifications.
“We care about our people as much as we do about the environment. As a proud member of the Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA), we are committed to creating a safe, supportive and uplifting working environment that enables our farm workers and surrounding communities to benefit.
As part of their commitment to sustainability and to safe valuable amounts of water in the vineyards, the estate makes use of drip irrigation. This is a type of irrigation system saves water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of grape plants with the goal to place water directly into the root zone and therefore minimise evaporation.