Spotlight on Sustainability

bee hive Backsberg

“Wine is natural, right?”  Well yes, but often no as well!  There is however an increasing movement of passionate winemakers who are keen to affirm this.

Often with inspiration from simpler methods of the past, they are making sure their wines are more responsibly produced and distancing themselves from large-scale practices which often rely heavily on chemical interventions. From a consumer’s perspective though, there are many terms to interpret whether it’s organic, biodynamic, lutte raisonée, or simply ‘natural’. Most are regimes focused on the growing of grapes and, to a lesser extent, the production of wine.  We have an increasing number of wines and wineries falling into one or more of these philosophies and we will look more closely at them in future editions but for now, we will look at the concept of ‘sustainability’.

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Sustainability is, by definition, a holistic approach which embraces business and social elements in order to meet the ‘triple bottom line’ – social, environmental and economic.  It is an approach which can be adapted by any company in any industry and so, as an importer and wine merchant, we at Ellis can reflect the great practices carried out in the vineyards by our suppliers.   We aim for a grape-to-glass approach, starting with our producers, with their many and varied environmental and sustainability programs, to our office and warehouse facility and ultimately to our delivery fleet of vehicles.  In this way, we constantly look at ways to improve and reduce our environmental footprint as well as practicing industry-leading programs for our staff and wider community.  Some of the highlights include: transporting approx. 800 pallets per year by rail from Italy, energy efficient warehouse and office lighting, increasing recycling through more separated waste streams, initiating ISO and Investors in People programmes, in-house WSET and other relevant courses, named charity support and route optimisation and eco-engines for our delivery fleet.


Ellis Wines is proud to represent Backsberg, the first carbon neutral winery in South Africa.

“Our goal at Backsberg is to produce wines which are first and foremost delicious, while leaving our land, people and community better off than before.” Simon Back, CEO Backsberg Estate

Great wines and fantastic customer service are the watchwords at Ellis but we are also passionate about doing the right thing and ensuring that our impact on the environment and our community are as positive as possible.  Please feel free to contact us for more information on any of our programs.