The family has since the early days developed the farm in a dynamic yet sustainable manner, emphasising the conservation of the unique wetlands on and around their land.
The vineyards have evolved in equilibrium with preserving the sensitive hydric soils and all other areas of the farm. Merwida Winery, named a Conservation Champion of the World Wildlife Fund in 2006 for the more than 600 hectares of marshland preserved on the farm, prides itself on the Papenkuils wetland with its rich vegetation and wildlife.
Extensive cleaning of alien invasive plants has allowed the abundant palmiet and other endemic species to thrive.
The palmiet plays a vital role in stabilising the riverbanks, slowing down floodwaters, and acting as a shelter and a food source for various faunal species that grow along the river. The Papenkuils Conservation area is regarded as one of the freshwater jewels of the Western Cape, as it is the largest and best-preserved wetland adjacent to the Breede River system.
In addition to the WWF recognition, the area is also regarded by the United Nations’ organisation UNESCO as a priority area with high conservation status.
The endangered ‘Broad Alluvium Fynbos,’ preserved in the area, is considered unique and invaluable ecological value. The biome conserves biodiversity and offers a natural corridor between the farmlands and the Breede River.
Fairtrade is the most widely recognized ethical label globally and Merwida is one of the largest Fairtrade Wine producers in the World, producing nearly a quarter of the Fairtrade Wines produced in South Africa and earning just over 30% of the total Premiums generated for our workers.
For every litre of Fairtrade wine sold, a Premium of 60 cents is paid directly to the Farm Workers. These Premiums are invested in improving farm practices, education, healthcare, and upliftment programmes that benefit our workers, their families, and the local farm communities.
As proud Fairtrade producers we are committed to following sustainable, environmentally friendly farming practices, adhering to globally accepted labour standards, and ensuring that our products are sold at prices that reflect the costs of sustainable production.
Together we have built two pre-schools, a community centre, and a clinic, as well as providing healthcare and transport to everyone on the farm.