In the near future, all South African wine consumers will know when they purchase a bottle of wine that has been produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

This is because the Wine and Spirits Board has issued a new green seal that will only appear on the bottled wines of those wineries who voluntarily comply with sustainability guidelines laid down by the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) scheme.

In order to determine which bottles will receive the seals, a sophisticated tracking system will monitor every stage in the wine production at farm, cellar and bottling level, with special attention given to aspects of wine farming such as integrated pest control, worker health, the preservation of biodiversity and greenhouse gas production.

The programme will start with the 2010 harvest, and since the green seal will only appear on wine bottled in South Africa, it could entice producers to have their wines bottled locally instead of having it done abroad.