New Melita Range & Boland Trees for Bees Pledge Fund to Support Honey Bees

As part of its sustainability strategy, Boland Cellar is launching a cause-related wine range in the low-alcohol category which will directly support the planting of trees that provide food and habitat for honey bees in South Africa.

The first of its kind for the wine industry, Boland Cellar’s Melita range is being launched in collaboration with The Bee Effect to raise and sustain awareness for the Cape and African honey bee species. The Boland Trees for Bees Programme, which will be implemented through the Greenpop Foundation’s Forests for Life reforestation project, has a specific focus on trees that are bee-foraging friendly to support nectar and pollen resources for honey bees. The collaboration also includes the launch of the Boland Trees for Bees Pledge Fund which will raise funds for the planting of bee- friendly trees.

The new Melita range will include a low alcohol Chenin Blanc (8% alc. vol.) as well as a Pinotage (8% alc. vol.) and will be available in selected retail stores from April 2020. Being a cause-related brand focusing specifically on supporting honey bee foraging needs, Melita is a first for South Africa in the growing low alcohol category.

The name of the range, Melita, has its origin in ancient Greek mythology and is derived from the goddess Melissa who was regarded as the keeper of bees and honey-making. The Melissae is also a reference to all Greek priestesses who served the bee-keeping process. A more modern version of Melita, also of Greek origin, is as a girl’s name meaning “honey-sweet”.

The elegant label design was inspired by the collaboration between nature and winemaker resulting in a specific fauna and flora design representing bees’ forage flora, as well as the honey bee itself. The Chenin Blanc and Pinotage each have their own label designs that further accentuate the wines. The labelling will also share the story behind Boland Cellar’s commitment to planting trees for bees.

The collaboration with The Bee Effect gives Boland Cellar the opportunity of having the range endorsed by the organisation – the logo of which will also appear on the label. This makes the range easily distinguishable for consumers to know that their purchase directly supports a worthy cause.

In addition to a percentage of local and international sales of the Melita range contributing towards funds for the Boland Trees for Bees Programme, Boland Cellar commits to a minimum of 830 trees to be planted in 2020. Boland Cellar’s initial pledge as well as funds derived from sales, will only be used to plant trees that are of value to honey bees.

Says Eve Puttergill, founder of The Bee Effect: “We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the commitment Boland Cellar has made towards our honey bees. As a founding partner of the Boland Trees for Bees Programme they are supporting our target to plant 37,000 bee friendly trees by 2025 at a value of around R4,5 million. We are also encouraging other brands to pledge their support. This will allow us to ramp up our efforts to address one of the key stressors – a lack of diverse foraging – threatening honey bee populations. “

Boland Cellar’s Anneen du Toit explains how the new range came into being: “The Melita range is our first entry into the low-alcohol category and we felt that creating a cause-related range would be the perfect match to launch into the market. There is a growing shift towards health and wellness which is influencing consumers’ choice of wine. There is also a growing acceptance of low-alcohol wines globally among the majority of health-conscious consumers which will start filtering into the South African market too.

“Then, of course, the protection of bees is currently very topical with a strong focus globally to re-establish and protect diminishing bee populations. Brands and corporate structures need to become more sustainable and add authentic value in our local and global communities. With this initiative we want to show our commitment to that, and we are truly excited that this innovative range can help to create sustained awareness for honey bees.”

Honey bees are a critical cog in the sustainability of ecosystems worldwide. Bees face a number of complex threats leading to their global decline, including habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, climate change and changes to weather patterns, as well as pesticides and environmental pollution. The lack of forage available to honey bees is one of the major reasons for the decline in numbers and health. As pollinators for a variety of food crops they play an important role in sustaining agriculture and this is a cause close to home for Boland Cellar.

BOLAND CELLAR LAUNCHES CAUSE-RELATED LOW ALCOHOL WINE RANGE

“We operate in an agricultural environment and working close to nature has given us a heightened awareness of the need to protect our finite and fragile natural resources,” explains Du Toit.

“We believe that making a contribution to conservation is not a choice but a responsibility we need to take up – not only for the sustainability of our company but also as a long-term investment in our planet’s future. Transparency has always been at the core of our business philosophy. We’ve decided to walk the talk when it comes to conserving natural capital by conceptualising and launching the Melita range.”

The concept of natural capital is receiving growing attention. It refers to the world’s stock of natural resources, which includes geology, soils, air, water and all living organisms. Growing networks around the world are joining forces to create opportunities to develop funding for conservation as a means to return to humanity at a time when our collective natural capital is increasingly under threat.

Du Toit concludes that the Boland Cellar team envisioned creating a range that was not only cause-related, but which would capture the hearts and minds of consumers, and inspire them to be more aware of the critical necessity to protect honey bees: “We spent just over a year identifying a programme and partner that can support this objective. As our natural resources come under more pressure, consumers are becoming more environmentally sensitive. They want to know that their responsible purchasing decisions are making a tangible difference. With the Melita range, every bottle bought effects positive change. We are very proud that Melita can make a real difference towards conservation and the protection of our bees and natural capital.”

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