La Motte, a leader in sustainable tourism, is our featured Conservation Champion wine farm this month
Situated on the foothills of the Wemmershoek mountains, La Motte is an award-winning wine estate in the Franschhoek valley. In addition to producing excellent wines, it cultivates a range of exquisite proteas and creates indigenous oils from buchu and Cape snowbush.
The farm was bought in 1970 by the late Dr Anton Rupert. As an internationally respected industrialist and committed conservationist, he reinvented La Motte: vineyards were progressively replanted, the latest viticultural practices introduced and a modern cellar built. Today, the farm is owned by Anton’s daughter, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg. Together with her husband Hein she continues the focus on conservation and sustainability.
The natural ecosystem on the farm was restored through the removal of alien invasive plants and rehabilitation of the mountain fynbos. La Motte has an integrated sustainability policy, including soil management, water and waste management, recycling and energy efficiency.
Flora and fauna
A beautiful protea garden has been established in an area with ideally suited soil, sun and temperature conditions. La Motte cultivates 10 species of protea, with names such as Pink Ice, Inca Gold and Safari Sunset. La Motte is also passionate about the reintroduction of blushing brides – a very special and dainty protea that was once accepted to be extinct.
La Motte is home to an indigenous nursery that grows fynbos. One local plant, known as elephant bush (Portulacaria afra), is used in landscaping for its excellent ability to absorb free carbon from the atmosphere.
The rare fan aloe (Aloe plicatilis) can grow as high as five metres and is found only in mountainous parts of the Western Cape, usually growing individually and sporadically. On La Motte, there are about 90 of these old aloes in dense concentrations.
La Motte is big on promoting conservation awareness through tourism: the owners want visitors to enjoy nature up close. Starting at the La Motte tasting room, you can explore a 5km circular walking route, which includes a 2km hiking trail. Allow two hours when walking – or three hours if strolling. Afterwards you can enjoy wine tastings, lunch in Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant with its sophisticated à la carte menu or relaxed garden menu, or a visit to the farm shop or the La Motte Museum, which features treasured art collections, including the heritage collection of famed South African landscape artist JH Pierneef.
Embodying the values of dedication and excellence, La Motte’s flagship red wine – Hanneli R – is only produced in exceptional vintages.
As one of WWF’s 40 Conservation Champions, an exclusive and hard-earned status, La Motte can proudly use the striking sugarbird and protea logo on its wine bottles – to demonstrate its long-term commitment to the environment and conservation of the Succulent Karoo and Cape Floral Kingdom.
For more information on WWF’s Conservation Champions, visit wwf.org.za/conservationandwine.
Support environmental leaders in SA’s wine industry
SAA is pleased to support WWF’s Conservation Champions by profiling the estates and serving their wines. SAA is committed to improving the sustainable sourcing of its on-board wine selection with options from Conservation Champions, so you can enjoy your wine knowing that it contributes to environmental sustainability in the Western Cape.
Download the free WWF Champion Wine guide app to stand a chance to win a La Motte experience for four people, which includes a tutored wine tasting, a guided museum tour and a garden menu lunch voucher for R1 500. Valued at R2 000. T&Cs apply. wwf.org.za/wineapp