DGB: Looking Beyond the Bottle


As South Africa’s leading independent wine and spirits company, DGB has incorporated sustainable practices into our everyday life. The first step along our path to becoming responsible industry champions was to adopt the three R's – reduce, reuse and recycle. All three principles help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away and to conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy.

Because, pleasure without responsibility is a hollow reward with a bitter aftertaste.

The logic of reducing is simple to understand – if there is less waste, then there is less to recycle or reuse. At DGB, our efforts to reduce include, but are not limited to, water and energy reduction and conservation programs. At present a large portion of our electricity usage is generated through our roof solar panel systems at our wineries resulting in avoiding 1265 tonnes of potential CO2 emissions. Great strides have been taken in reducing and repurposing of water, through the use of effluent systems, across the winemaking journey. The commitments made to water reduction is reflected in the minimal 2.62L of water used for every bottle produced, which is substantially lower than the industry norm.

As shareholders in a glass recycling company, we have ensured that most of our new bottles consist of 40% repurposed glass content and achieving a Drinks Business Green Award for our innovative lightweight bottle initiative. We are currently replacing 10 million bottles per year with these lighter alternatives, resulting in a 30% reduction in carbon emissions equating to avoiding 5.89 tonnes of CO2e emissions. This holistic view ensures everything from grape skins, packaging by products and stalks to food waste are recycled and returned to the earth as compost or recycled greywater.

preserving our habitats and landscapes is also key to our survival. Our wine region, here in the Western Cape, is part of the world’s most species-rich floral kingdoms. Since the inception of Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) in 1998, we have been part of a wine community that voluntary sets aside hundreds of thousands of hectares for conservation and actively restoring them, so that today unique biomes like Protea and Fynbos and natural wildlife can coexist surrounding our vineyards. We show 100% commitment with all of our wines certified under the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) seal stating our wines are made with Integrity and Sustainable practices across all fields such as keeping open spaces for animals, removing alien vegetation, using natural pesticides and responsible water use.

Alas, even this alone cannot totally remove our carbon impact – which persists even indirectly through every activity we undertake. But we can try to offset it, and in 2012 DGB was awarded the global “Drinks Business (Ethical) Award” for a pioneering Carbon Neutralization project using Bamboo – a fast-growing species with one of the highest capacity for oxygen release and CO2 absorption. Located in the Sintsa area of our country’s Eastern Province this project is also helping to create jobs and economic activity in a poor, isolated rural community.

As is clear, sustainability is about encouraging an ongoing circle of life to keep turning. We at DGB have made great strides in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and are committed to continuous innovation and adaptations to further apply these principles. We continue to dedicate our efforts to produce wines and spirits that are in harmony with nature and empower future generations.