There are those who come onto this blog and accuse me of hating the environment. Maybe it’s because they have misread, not read or simply misunderstood my viewpoints on whales, dolphins and natural gas extraction.
It’s not the case. I do care deeply for the environment and I do all that I (reasonably) can to protect and cherish it, including worm farming, recycling and saving electricity wherever I can. And I’m also going out of my way to champion Fairview Cheese & Wine Farm’s latest green initiative: The Goat Rapid Transit system or GRT.
With the rising price of petrol and wine farms becoming increasingly focused on reducing their carbon footprint, this initiative presents numerous benefits to wine loving visitors and the environment alike. It aims to offer a safe and sustainable alternative for visitors travelling to the farm. Fairview currently attracts close to 250 000 visitors to its Paarl cellar door each year, most of which travel to the farm by car or bus. From today visitors and staff can take a train from Cape Town to Paarl station, from where the GRT will operate at regular intervals.
Twenty-four custom-made wagons have been built by artisans from the Paarl region. “I am delighted to be involved in the revival of the art of wagon making in the area,” says Fairview owner Charles Back, “given the legacy of the art form in the region, previously known as Wamakersvallei (Wagonmakers Valley). Not only will this re-establish this historic industry, but it is also an opportunity for Fairview to utilize the unproductive goats in their 700-strong goat herd. “We will be making use of the billies and the does with smaller udders, as these are normally stronger than their high milk producing counterparts” added Back.
Ongoing training has been conducted by farm manager Donald Mouton over the past couple of months. This has ensured that the goats are fit enough to pull the wagons and have become accustomed to the traffic on the road.
Fine work by Fairview and especially by Donald, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I can only hope that they extend this service across the Paarl region – perhaps encouraging the Cape Town Lion Park and Stellenbosch’s Giraffe House to join them – a move which will not only allow visitors to reduce their carbon footprint on the wine tour, but will surely also reduce the incidence of drink-driving in the area. And, in the case of the lions, probably resuce the incidence of tourists as well.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy the animals, the amazing scenery and the wine.