Sustainability and Community
Achim and Takuan von Arnim’s wine growing philosophy is set out on the sides of a sundial at the entrance to the Haute Cabriere Cellar: Sun Soil Vine Man. This represents their understanding that the elements of nature: sun and soil, work together with the vine to produce great wine, with man gently and respectfully orchestrating these elements as they create the eventual outcome and expression of the vintage. “Great wines are grown” summarises this perfectly.
The three building blocks that form the foundation of Haute Cabriere are: family, focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Franschhoek.
Haute Cabriere's overriding philosophy and their three building blocks of Haute Cabriere naturally create an environment in which a culture of sustainability and community are fostered.
Sustainability: Haute Cabriere’s Working Garden[caption id="attachment_717" align="alignleft" width="300"] Chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller with some of the Education Centre's children in the garden[/caption]
The kitchen team at Haute Cabriere has an expansive garden. At 150m2 and comprising of two separate areas, the garden ensures the kitchen team have a ongoing seasonal supply of fresh produce, limiting how much produce needs to be bought in. Haute Cabriere employs a full time gardener to collaborate with the chefs and the Education Centre to plan for planting and harvesting throughout the year and a sustainable supply of fresh produce. Examples of produce harvested include aubergines, tomatillo, spinach, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes and broad beans.
“In every dish on the menu, an element from the garden is used, whether it be the main ingredient, or in a base stock,” says Chef Westley Muller.
Community: Education Centre
In 2010, Haute Cabriere launched their Education Centre with qualified teachers to look after employees' children and provide stimulating after-school care. The aim of the centre is to provide a nurturing environment and a strong educational foundation for younger children, who arrive from 7am, and for older children who arrive after school to receive help with homework. The centre not only helps with the basics of reading and writing, but the staff help with the nurturing of artistic and sporting talents.
“The reality today is that both parents need to work fulltime. We are extremely grateful that we were able to fill this in a way that gives parents piece of mind, and also ease of use,” said Hildegard von Arnim, the Guardian of the Education Centre.
The original purpose in creating the garden was to provide a resource to the Haute Cabriere Education Centre, but the garden and the Education Centre are further linked as the garden is used to teach the children concepts such as where food comes from and the practical aspects of gardening.
Creating a sustainable environment is not without significant challenges.
“Our current set back is the water crisis in the Western Cape. When you see it first hand, it makes you truly realise how we need to work to preserve what we have and how fragile our resources are,” said Chef Nic van Wyk.
In a step towards further sustainability, in March 2016, Haute Cabriere commissioned a solar energy system to reduce their carbon footprint.
Sustainability isn’t an easy path to walk. A garden has to face the elements and all crops are at the mercy of the weather and the environment. But it does make the commitment to sustainability an honest and tenacious endeavour.