Ethics & Environment
Radford Dale is a business. But it’s also much more than that. Our “business” is also a way of life, a team, a common ethic and a set of values. As much as we avoid competitions, medals, trophies and the craving for status that seems to drive many egos in our industry, we do want official recognition for other aspects of our daily interaction with the land, its people and the planet.
It’s easy to say you’re environmentally friendly or socially responsible....
But unless you open yourself up to the critical scrutiny of an independent accreditation agency or auditor, how can anyone be sure that you’re walking the ethical-winery walk?
To prove that we are, we set ourselves targets in three critical non-business areas: the environment, ethics, and social upliftment. Some of these topics are becoming trendy, and are being used in a tokenistic fashion to sell wine, but not by us. We’ll stick to these principles when the next vogue appears and the less serene move on to greener pastures. That’s why Radford Dale is a founding member of Premium Independent Wineries Of South Africa (PIWOSA), which possesses the gold-standard ethics charter in today’s industry.
TO SUM UP
We aren’t rebels, but we do have a cause. We do everything we do because we believe it is right, not because it’s politically correct, fashionable or expedient. This philosophy is the mirror image of our natural approach to winemaking, and it all comes down to being real. If you care about such things and if you enjoy our wine, then you’ll know what that means. For real.
The South African wine industry has taken the lead when it comes to ecological and environmental regulation, thanks to the IPW scheme.
Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established by the South African wine industry in 1998.
Radford Dale is a fully accredited member of IPW, and our most recent independent audit took place in June 2021 (there are annual self-audits and periodic independent external audits).
We do everything we can to be eco-friendly and sustainable throughout the production process – from the vineyards and the winery to our waste-water management system, our packaging and even our logistics.
Another exciting development for the SA wine industry (since 2010) is the new sustainability seal on eco-friendly local wines. If you see that seal on a bottle, it means the Wine and Spirit Board, appointed by the Department of Agriculture, certifies that:
The vintage, variety and origin on the label are correct.
The wine has been produced sustainably, in an earth-friendly manner.
The wine can be traced all the way from the vine to the bottle.
The wine was bottled in South Africa and is 100% South African!
Since the South African constitution arrived at the dawn of democracy in 1996, regulations, conditions and working practices have been finely tuned to protect the rights of all workers, including those in agriculture.
Radford Dale is a small, privately owned winery and a tiny speck on the agricultural landscape of South Africa. But, to borrow from Shakespeare, “though we be but little, we are fierce”. In everything we do, we maintain our morals and promote ethical, common-sense practices.
We learned about the concept behind WIETA (Wine Industry Ethical Trading Association) towards the end of 2010, while researching Fair Trade and similar accreditation organisations. The Fair Trade model – probably the most widely known internationally – doesn’t necessarily fit well with all types of ownership and all organisations. In our case, we felt that WIETA bore more relevance to what we do and how it impacts our team.
what's in the Wieta code?
The code contains the following important principles:
- No child labour
- Freely chosen employment
- The right to a healthy and safe working environment
- The right to freedom of association
- The right to a living wage
- Reasonable working hours
- No harsh or inhumane treatment
- No unfair discrimination
- Providing regular employment
- Respect for workers’ housing and tenure security rights
We completed our first audit in November 2010 and our most recent audit was 2020. We received our latest certificate in December 2020.
Apartheid may have ended a quarter of a century ago, but there’s still a lot of social inequality in South Africa. That’s why Radford Dale set up a trust for its Previously Disadvantaged Individual employees.
The Trust is called Land of Hope and it’s an optimistic, positive instrument that facilitates a brighter future for the children and dependants of our Previously Disadvantaged Individual team members.
land of hope wines
These wines don’t just taste good; they do good. The money they generate goes into the Land of Hope Trust, and the direct and sole beneficiaries of this Trust are our previously disadvantaged employees and their dependents. Profit is not the motivator behind these wines… but we’re all the richer because of them.
The Land of Hope Trust is our contribution to the social and economic development of our staff, their families and our immediate community. It has won many awards, both for the concept’s ethics and efficacy and – more importantly – for the quality of its work and its wines.