Cape Town’s organic winemakers keep it real

It’s tough to produce organic wine; tougher still to do it biodynamically. Two Cape winelands winemakers are proving it can be done, with style.

It’s easy to talk a big game when it comes to crafting wines using natural processes, but two winemakers in the Cape winelands take their organic and biodynamic credentials seriously. But can the quality stack up at the same time as keeping it real?

Johan Reyneke of family-owned Reyneke Organic is one winemaker who quietly goes about crafting award-winning organic wines on his estate, a short drive from Stellenbosch. Their Syrah and Chenin Blanc are the showstoppers, but also stop in for a taste of their superb Sauvignon Blanc.

If farming organically is challenging, biodynamic is a whole new ballgame. Here the Grieve family is setting the bar on Avondale estate outside Paarl.

“Soil is life” is the Avondale philosophy, and they take caring for the land seriously. Snail-hungry ducks keep the vineyards clear of pests, grapes are harvested by hand, chemical fertilizers and insecticides are banned, only natural yeasts are used for fermentation, and everything from farming to harvesting takes place according to biodynamic principles.

“We are all about putting the focus on terroir, which is only possible through natural production,” explains Avondale’s owner Johnathan Grieve. “Biodynamics is the homeopathy of agriculture; it’s about kick starting and using the natural rhythms that already exist.”

And the results are certainly impressive: their elegant full-bodied wines have picked up legions of fans and awards along the way. The La Luna is a blend of five Bordeaux varieties and well worth a taste, but it’s the Cyclus white wine you shouldn’t miss: a fabulous full-bodied white blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Chenin Blanc and Semillon. The Samsara Syrah is also exceptional.

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