With more than 30 certified organic wine farms already in SA, a new wave of old-school organic viticulture is coming to the fore – and it’s entirely biodynamic
If you’re wondering what the difference is between the two methods, owner and winemaker Johan Reyneke of Reyneke Wines sums it up best. “It’s a move away from sustainability towards self-sufficiency,” he explains. “Besides respecting Mother Nature by only using non-synthetic, organic vine feeding, the entire process – from planting to full-blown wine production – is based on respect and integrity.”
From introducing free-roaming cows across the farm to substituting imported soil supplements, right through to replacing steel vats with clay and sporadic wild yeast feeds during fermentation, carbon footprints and the reliance on irrigation are all radically reduced. Best of all, wine consumers are in for new and interesting aromas and flavours, coupled with great character and personality from the wines produced this way.
Farming is already a risky and expensive enterprise, but when a farm decides to go biodynamic, it eventually becomes selfsustaining when the balance between science and terra firma is achieved. This process has its problems and commands patience, given the requisite three years to attain the “Organic” label, followed by another four years in order to procure the certification of “Biodynamic”.
“Chemicals and pesticides cause the soil to degenerate over time. Following nature’s way may be more complex, but the investment rewards you every step of the way,” says Reyneke, who made the change 18 years ago.