OR­GANIC GROWTH

Destiny Man - - DOWNTIME - | BY JA­SON CUR­TIS

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.

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