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How To

Farm Sustainably

Alicia Rechner, head winemaker at Backsberg, shares lessons from the wine industry on how to farm sustainably. 

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About This Recipe


Most of us are familiar with sustainability measures such as recycling, water and energy saving and composting. But how much do you know about carbon calculations and offsets to achieve carbon neutrality for a business?

In this recipe, Alicia Rechner who is the head winemaker at Backsberg, unpacks carbon measurements and offsets as one of the measures the wine industry - Backberg included - uses to achieve sustainability. She also shares thoughts on biodiversity, waste management and the role of pesticides in farming.

Cover These 10 Steps


  • Step 1: Adopt Sustainable Vineyard Practices

  • Step 2: Use Natural Pest Control

  • Step 3: Conserve Water

  • Step 4: Manage Waste

  • Step 5: Reduce Energy Use

  • Step 6: Choose Sustainable Packaging

    Step 7: Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Step 8: Promote Biodiversity

  • Step 9: Support Local Communities

  • Step 10: Certify Sustainability. Carbon Neutral PAS 2060: 2022 verification. 

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Who Is Our Heavy Chef?

Alicia Rechner has been the head winemaker at Backsberg for more than 20 years. She holds a BSc degree in oenology from the University of Stellenbosch and has worked harvests in some of the world’s most iconic wine regions. These include Robertson, Stellenbosch and Paarl, as well as Mosel in Germany and McLaren Vale in South Australia.

After several years of travel post her studies, Alicia started making fine wines at Backsberg in 2002. In 2008, she took a four-year hiatus, working at several South African wineries and returned in mid-2012 as cellar master.

She was a finalist in the 2014 SA Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Awards, and her Backsberg Smuggled Vines Chardonnay 2021 was ranked Best in Category in the Winemag Prescient Report 2022.


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