SANBWA, the South African National Bottled Water Association, has welcomed a new Free State bottler to its fold, Di Bella Spring Water.
Located just outside of Ladybrand on Veelroem Farm 130, Di Bella Spring Water is the second (but only current) SANBWA member in the Free State.
In South Africa, the municipal supply or tap water as well as bulk water transported in tankers to distribute to rural or urban areas and water used to re-fill consumer’s own containers is regarded as ‘drinking waters’. These waters need to comply with public water supply regulations.
Bulk water in large bottles for office coolers, bench-top treated waters in restaurants and shop-floor treated waters bottled on retail floors as well as bottled water like that bottled by Di Bella are regarded as packaged waters and must comply with packaged water legislation.
Drinking water and packaged water cannot be compared in terms of quality because they need to comply with different standards and legislation. All SANBWA member producers carry the SANBWA logo on their bottles. This acts as a seal of quality.
Di Bella has a handle bottling system which can bottle 1200 bottles an hour, but plans to purchase and install a fully automated plant (blow bottle, rinse, fill, cap, lable and pack) that can bottle over 2000 litres an hour. Its water, sourced from a natural spring on the farm, filters naturally through rock of sandstone origin for many years before breaking the surface.
Currently only available as still water, a sparkling version will be launched soon, Di Bella Spring Water was rated as ‘Favourite Still Water’ by one of the chefs at an informal tasting attended by representatives from the South African Chefs Association and South African Sommelier Association held in Stellenbosch recently.
Welcoming Di Bella as a SANBWA member, the association’s CEO, Charlotte Metcalf said SANBWA has two key objectives: to protect the conservation of all water resources wherever possible; and to promote the image and reputation of bottled water
“SANBWA achieves the first of these objectives by requiring members to adhere to its environmental vision. This includes measures to ensure source sustainability and protection, water usage and solid waste minimisation, energy efficiency, and post-consumer recycling initiatives.
“The second is addressed through adherence to the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard, which covers legal, hygiene, food safety and quality, and environmental requirements. Members are audited annually to ensure compliance.
“Di Bella is as committed to working to a sustainable bottled water industry, and safe and healthy water future for all South Africans, as we are. We are delighted that it has joined SANBWA and are certain that its contribution to the Free State economy and community, as well as the national industry, will be a very positive one as it grows and prospers,” said Metcalf.
Di Bella is named for the Di Bella family whose patriarch, Domenico di Bella, first came to South Africa in 1996 to advise friends on to install heavy machinery. His son, Maurizio di Bella, currently runs the facility.
“My father was fascinated by this country and what it had to offer, and returned many times to holiday. Falling in love with its open skies, starry nights and endless vistas, he decided this was where he wanted a second home, a place he could vacation and truly relax,” explained Di Bella.
“He found his haven, a farm near Ladybrand, sometime after his search began in 2002. There was water on the farm for personal use, but the supply was erratic and never enough, so he called in a borehole company to find a source for him. Despite its best efforts, they found nothing but my father was a determined man, and was adamant he would.
“One morning, his attention was drawn to water running down the mountain in front of the house. Very capable and with his experience of handling excavators, he took it upon himself to search for this natural resource – and found it!”
“Because he was using the water for his own consumption, my father had it tested and was pleased to learn it passed all tests with flying colours. A seed of a new business was sown; he named the water Di Bella Spring Water and dedicated it to the memory of his son and my brother, Roberto, who had drowned 20 years earlier.
“By 2005, he had started deliveries to a few customers – friends – in Ladybrand. The feedback was so positive,” exclaimed Maurizio, “my father expanded into Maseru, Lesotho, and then – when he realised he needed assistance – he asked me to come South Africa and help him make his new dream, honouring my brother, come true.
“And so today, we have a thriving business, all thanks to my father’s admiration for South Africa and a dream that was well worth the search. We look forward to working with SANBWA and other members to grow the industry for the benefit of all – our family, our staff, our community and our adopted country.”