Apr 25, 2024

The Klein Karoo town of Calitzdorp once again shines a light on its reputation as a leading producer of wines and spirits when the Calitzdorp Expressed Festival takes place in June. For Boplaas, it also means showcasing an exceptional natural environment.

The family-owned wine farm and distillery has been under Nel custodianship for six generations. It has seen first-hand the importance of caring for the land – not only to produce healthy wine grapes, but also for the sake of a thriving ecosystem. The point is well-made this month in which Earth Day – a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability – takes place.

“I always tell visitors to Boplaas that Calitzdorp’s arid landscape can be deceiving and that in a 150km radius of the town there are more plant species than in the whole of Europe,” says Boplaas’s Carel Nel, a veteran winemaker and brandy distiller. It was Carel who spearheaded the farm’s conservation projects.

“As such, we’re committed to conserve special pieces of land for future generations,” he adds.

Boplaas has a total of 5000ha of land retained exclusively for conservation. This includes fynbos higher up in the mountain, thicket that includes and the special porkbush (spekboom), Guarri trees and Wild Plum trees.

“The crown for us locals is the succulent veld with hundreds of endemic and very rare plants. Some of these Guarri and Wild Plum trees are hundreds of years old,” says Carel.

“In an ever-changing world and natural environment, we would like to preserve the Klein Karoo veld and put it in an even better state that it was a 100 years ago.”

One of the projects Boplaas is a part of is the establishment of porkbush in areas previously over-grazed or impacted by erosion. “One never really owns land. You’re merely a caretaker until the next generation takes over and it’s up to you to educate future generations to do the same.”

Boplaas is carbon negative – the porkbush under conservation binds more CO2 (carbon dioxide) than the Boplaas output. 

“We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world,” says Carel. “We’re surrounded by mountains – the majestic Swartberg range to the North and Rooiberg Mountain to the South.  And within 80km you can enjoy a scenic drive over either the Swartberg, Outeniqua, Robertson, Rooiberg or Huis River passes. 

“The R62 is one of the longest wine routes in the world is becoming more popular with thousands of visitors stopping at the tasting room on our farm every year.”

The surge in visitors comes again from June 15 to 17, when the Calitzdorp Expressed Festival takes place in town. It was launched in 1992 as the Port Festival but has since broadened its focus. 

Boplaas will present two masterclass tastings at the event. On Saturday at 11:00, winemaker Margaux will present a vertical tasting of some of  Boplaas’s top port wines from of the past 20+ years.  At 15:00, distilling specialist Daniël will present a masterclass on whisky.  Bookings for both are open and available via

For more information, email or call 044 213 3326. Boplaas is also on Facebook (

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