Wine growers help wetlands in Australia

15/03/1998

(15 March 1998)


[Banrock Station Wines in South Australia has come up with an interesting programme for promoting their products whilst at the same time assisting wetland conservation and restoration efforts throughout the country.  The first text comes from the tag hanging round the bottles' necks (pictured here), and the second comes from the "history" page on the Banrock Station Web site (http://www.banrockstation.com.au/).]


Enjoy a fine drop and help conserve our wetlands

banrock.jpg (18175 bytes)A fine drop

South Australia’s Riverland region continues to grow in stature as a source of top quality fruit and thus fine quality wines.

A particularly fertile pocket of the Riverland is the intersection of Banrock Creek and the River Murray. This is Banrock Station, an 1800-hectare property featuring some of the region’s most picturesque scenery along its 12km river frontage.

The property’s soil is ideal for growing premium grape varieties. Banrock Station wines reflect the richness of this region.

Protecting our heritage

The good earth is the starting point for all fine wines and we, like all Australians, believe our soil should be protected at all costs.

We are working with environmental groups to restore and preserve our land and, in particular, the wetland areas that adjoin and form part of Banrock Station. These wetlands are vital to the fragile environmental balance of the Riverland.

What is being achieved at Banrock Station

Wetting and drying cycle  A wetland should have a natural, seasonal cycle of flooding and drying. This provides the right habitat for different flora and fauna at different times of year. For example, fish find flooded areas ideal for breeding. At Banrock Station we’re watching the water flow and can dam areas if necessary to ensure enough time for this breeding to take place.

Ensuring fresh water flow  Together with environmental groups, we’re making sure there’s always a fresh flow of water through the wetland to prevent stagnation.

Keeping out the carp Fish barriers have been installed around a central lagoon area to keep out adult European Carp, which have a voracious appetite for native aquatic plant life.

Replanting natives  Livestock which previously trampled the property have been relocated. Salt-resistant native vegetation, such as Swamp Paperbark and Old Man Saltbush, are being planted to stabilise the soil and provide food and shelter for native animals and birds.

Your contribution - every drop helps

Part proceeds of every bottle and cask of Banrock Station you buy are donated to Landcare Australia. The money goes directly to Landcare projects for the restoration and preservation of irreplaceable natural areas right across our beautiful country. Over a year this is hoped to add up to around $20,000 towards projects protecting our valuable flora and fauna.

For more information on how you can help save Australia’s wetlands, please write to Banrock Station Wines, Old Kingston Road, Kingston on Murray, SA 5331 [Australia].


History

In 1995 BRL Hardy purchased the 1700 hectare (4250 acre) property '"Banrock Station" which is downstream from Kingston-on-Murray in South Australias Riverland.

The property has 12.5 kilometres of river frontage that is mainly wetland. Banrock Station has worked closely with the conservation group, Australian Wetland Care, in restoring and rejuvenating the wetlands. This strong environmental link has had a significant influence on the new Banrock Station wine label that was launched mid-1995.

Initially, there were two bottled wines - Semillon Chardonnay and a Shiraz Cabernet. Such was the success that two premium wines were launched - Unwooded Chardonnay and a Shiraz.

Late in 1996 came the Semillon Chardonnay and Shiraz Cabernet in convenient 2 litre casks - a first in Australia where the same bottled wine was available in both bottles and casks. To emphasise the environmental link, each cask featured a push-out cardboard tag that was impregnated with Bottlebrush seeds. The idea was to plant the tag from which a Bottlebrush would grow.

Part proceeds from the sale of the wines go to Landcare. So far Australia has donated about $30,000 annually to Landcare.

When the property was purchased there were 24 hectares (60 acres) of vineyard. Since that time a further 206 hectares (515 acres) of vineyard has been planted. Much of the balance of the land (1125 acres or 450 hectares) will be returned to native vegetation.

The wetlands are being returned to their original condition by removing the carp and re-establishing native fish and bird species along with native flora.

The project has assisted with employment in the region.

Eventually the wetlands will be open to the public to appreciate the value and enjoy the rewards of Wetland Care Australia’s work.

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